Sri Lankan rupee steady on state bank dollar sales

COLOMBO, June 10 (Reuters) – The Sri Lankan rupee traded steady on Wednesday as a state bank sold dollars at 133.80, while the perception over the currency strengthening in the near future faded with the central bank defending the currency via moral suasion, dealers said. The spot currency traded steady at 133.80 as one of the two state banks, through which the central bank usually directs the market, sold dollars at that level. "We see the state bank selling ample dollars for foreign investors who are exiting their portfolios in government securities gradually, while it has restricted the supply for locals," a currency dealer said on condition of anonymity. "The market perception over rupee strengthening due to inflows is fading because we see a slight downward pressure on the rupee. Banks do not get adequate amount of dollars as and when they need." Many dealers said the central bank has started to defend the currency through moral suasion. Central bank officials were not immediately available for comment. The state-run bank reduced the price of dollars against spot rupee by 10 cents to 133.80 on Tuesday after selling them at 133.90 during the last five sessions through Monday amid tepid dollar sales by exporters and concerns over the continuing political uncertainty, dealers said.

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