REUTERS - The Sri Lankan rupee was trading steady yesterday as dollar sales by a private bank dollar offset demand for the U.S currency, dealers said. The private bank might have sold dollars on behalf of the Central Bank, some dealers said. Officials at the Central Bank were not available for comment. The rupee traded at 144.00/144.10 per dollar at 0546 GMT, unchanged from Thursday’s close.
“The import demand is there but rupee is trading steady as a private bank was selling dollars at 143.90,” said a currency dealer, asking not to be named. The dollar selling by the private bank has prevented a fall in the last few days, dealers said. The market expects the local currency to depreciate despite a 150-basis-point increase in the statutory reserve ratio of commercial banks from Jan . 16 and on expected inflows from foreign deposits.
The yield on one-year t-bills rose 32 basis points to hover at a more-than-two-year high of 7.80 percent at the weekly auction on Wednesday. Analysts expect market interest rates also to rise in tandem with t-bill yields.
Sri Lanka’s main stock index was up 0.66 percent at 6,391.35 at 0550 GMT. Turnover stood at Rs.214.2 million ($1.49 million).