COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan rupee traded slightly firmer in dull trade on Tuesday as dollar selling by exporters outpaced demand for the U.S. currency from importers, but purchases of the greenback by state-owned banks weighed on the local currency, dealers said. The spot rupee traded at 153.50/60 per dollar at 0545 GMT, slightly firmer from Monday’s close of 153.60/65. “The market is very dull as everybody is awaiting direction from state banks after they bought dollars,” a currency dealer said, asking not to be named. “Yesterday (Monday), the state banks bought dollars when the spot (rupee) touched 153.50. We feel today also they will come in if it goes below 153.50.”
Central Bank Governor Indrajith Coomaraswamy said last week that the rupee was still “over-valued” and that the monetary authority was still buying dollars to avoid any appreciation. The banking regulator is compelled to buy dollars from the market to meet a reserves target set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under a $1.5 billion, three-year loan programme. Sri Lankan shares were trading 0.17 percent weaker at 6,652.79 as of 0545 GMT. Turnover was 79.6 million rupees ($518,229).