Sri Lankan rupee forwards trade steady on dollar selling by banks

COLOMBO, Feb 3 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan rupee forwards were trading steady on Wednesday as dollar selling by banks offset demand for the greenback from importers, dealers said.

The spot rupee was not traded as banks were reluctant to trade it below 144.00 levels amid moral suasion by the central bank. Central bank officials were not available for comment.

Dealers said the one-week rupee forwards, which act as a proxy for the spot currency, traded steady at 144.25/35 per dollar at 0719 GMT.

The rupee is under pressure despite a 150-basis-point increase in commercial banks’ statutory reserve ratio from Jan. 16. The central bank kept its key policy interest rates unchanged last week.

"The (dollar) selling is there; may be due to the stock related inflows," said a currency dealer asking not to be named.

The bourse saw a net foreign inflow of 2.58 billion rupees ($17.95 million) on Tuesday as a major shareholder bought an additional 16 percent stake in Expolanka Holdings.

Sri Lanka’s main stock index was 0.3 percent weaker at 6,406.90 at 0723 GMT. Turnover stood at 192.1 million rupees ($1.34 million).

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