REUTERS: The Sri Lankan rupee closed 0.26 percent stronger yesterday as exporter dollar sales and inward remittances surpassed importer demand for the US currency, dealers said.
The rupee closed at 155.60/70 per dollar, compared with Tuesday’s close of 156.00/10.
“We saw (dollar) conversations for salaries and to pay bonuses ahead of the festival and the seasonal importer demand has also reduced. There was some general import demand but the remittances were high,” said a currency dealer.
The rupee is expected to remain under pressure on continued importer demand for dollar ahead of the traditional New Year in mid-April, dealers said.
The rupee touched an all-time low of 156.20 per dollar on March 16. The rupee has weakened 1.43 percent so far this year after declining 2.5 percent last year and 3.9 percent in 2016.
A gradual depreciation in the rupee and higher volatility are expected this year on account of debt repayments by the government, dealers said.
The International Monetary Fund said on March 9 that Sri Lanka’s economy remained vulnerable to adverse shocks due to its large public debt and low external buffers.
The government must repay an estimated Rs.1.97 trillion in 2018 - a record - including US $ 2.9 billion of foreign loans and a total of US $ 5.36 billion in interest.
Foreign investors sold government securities worth a net Rs.211.7 million in the week ended March 21, the Central Bank data showed.