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Sri Lanka Equity Forum » Stock Market News » Rupee softer on import demand; stocks flat

Rupee softer on import demand; stocks flat

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1 Rupee softer on import demand; stocks flat on Mon Sep 28, 2015 10:19 am

Melissa Pereira


Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
The Sri Lankan rupee was slightly weaker yesterday  due to importer demand for dollars, although some exporter dollar sales and inward remittances slowed its fall, dealers said. Dealers said exporters were not selling the dollars below 141.00 level as they expect the central bank would intervene if the currency were to break 141.00. 

The spot rupee traded at 140.95/99 per dollar at 0602 GMT, a tad weaker from Wednesday’s close of 140.90/95. The market was closed for a holiday on Thursday. The rupee has fallen 4.4 percent since the central bank effectively floated it on Sept. 4. “The rupee is under pressure with exporters very reluctant to sell (foreign exchange) expecting further depreciation,” said a currency dealer, asking not to be named. Dealers said regulations were needed to make exporters convert their export proceeds. The market expects no impact on the rupee from the Central Bank’s monetary policy rate announcement scheduled later yesterday, which analysts expect to be held steady. 

The rupee hit a record low of 141.00 in early trade on Tuesday. It recovered when a state bank, through which the Central Bank usually directs the market, sold dollars to limit the fall. The market expects the currency to fall further in the short term if the Central Bank declines to tighten interest rates or the economy does not see strong inflows soon, some dealers said. The rupee float has won a thumbs-up from rating agencies and economists, but more reforms will be needed to support the currency and conserve the Central Bank’s modest reserves. In a bid to curb dollar outflows on vehicle purchases, the Central Bank on Sept. 15 imposed a 70 percent limit on loans and advances for vehicles, a move seen aimed at curbing demand for credit and stemming dollar outflows. Sri Lanka’s main stock index was 0.05 percent weaker at 7,111.01 at 0609 GMT. Turnover was at Rs. 401.55 million ($2.86 million). 

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