Sri Lankan rupee falls to record low on importer dollar demand

COLOMBO, Dec 15 (Reuters) – The Sri Lankan rupee touched an all-time low on Tuesday for a third straight session on dollar buying by importers as seasonal imports ahead of Christmas weighed on the local currency, dealers said.

The rupee fell 0.14 percent to 143.80 per dollar, extending its decline from previous record trough of 143.65 hit on Monday.

The currency was trading at 143.80/144.00 per dollar at 0731 GMT compared with Monday’s close of 143.60/80.

"We believe the rupee could recover to 143 level towards the end of next week once the importer demand is over," said a currency dealer on condition of anonymity.

The rupee has fallen 8.8 percent so far this year. It has slipped 6.3 percent since the central bank floated the local currency on Sept. 4. Dealers, however, say the central bank has been intervening in the forex market via moral suasion and dollar selling.

The central bank sold dollars worth a net $1.1 billion in the three months ended on Nov. 30, latest data showed. Dealers said part of that money was spent to defend the rupee.

Sri Lanka’s main stock index was up 0.27 percent, or 18.82 points, at 6,821.60 by 0745 GMT, recovering from a more than eight-month low hit in the previous session. Turnover stood at 421.3 million rupees ($2.94 million)

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