REUTERS: The Sri Lankan rupee closed weaker in its first session of the year yesterday as a lack of inflows weighed on sentiment, dealers said.
The currency fell 3.9 percent in 2016. Rupee forwards were active, with one-month forwards ending slightly weaker at 150.95/151.00 per dollar compared with Friday’s close of 150.75/85.
One-week forwards traded at 150.10/25 per dollar while spot-next forwards and the spot rupee were hardly traded, dealers said.
“The rupee is under pressure and it will continue to slide if we don’t see steady inflows,” said one currency dealer. On Friday, the Central Bank raised the spot currency reference rate to 150.00, a record low against the dollar.
The banking regulator raised the spot reference rate by a total of 50 cents last week. That followed a 40-cent increase in each of the previous two weeks amid sustained pressure on the currency.
Officials from the Central Bank were not immediately available for comment.
The bank kept its benchmark interest rates steady on Friday for a fifth straight month as expected, saying credit growth was responding to earlier tightening measures.
Dealers said the market was bracing for some depreciation in the rupee in January after the Central Bank said this would not necessarily be negative for the economy.