Sri Lankan rupee ends steady amid thin trade

COLOMBO, Dec 16 (Reuters) – The Sri Lankan rupee snapped three straight sessions of losses when it touched record lows to end steady on Wednesday, as dollar conversions by exporters offset thin importer demand for the greenback, traders said.

Trading was dull ahead of year-end holidays. Dealers said they expect the currency to be sluggish until month-end.

The rupee rose as much as 0.07 percent to 143.50 per dollar in early trade, but ended steady at 143.60/80. It hit a record low of 143.80 in the previous session.

"The trading was very dull and we do not see volumes picking up until the new year," a currency dealer said asking not to be named.

One dealer said the central bank intervened in the market at 143.40-143.50, helping the currency to rise in early trade. Central bank officials were not available for comment.

The rupee has fallen 8.7 percent so far this year. It has declined 6.2 percent since the central bank floated the currency on Sept. 4.

The central bank sold dollars worth a net $1.1 billion in the three months to Nov. 30, latest data showed. Dealers said part of that money went into defending the rupee.

Commercial banks parked 54.71 billion rupees ($381 million) of surplus liquidity on Wednesday using the central bank’s deposit facility at 6 percent, official data showed.

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