Sri Lankan rupee ends marginally firmer in dull trade

Sri Lanka Rupee vs US Dollar

The Sri Lankan rupee ended slightly firmer on Friday in dull trade as banks’ dollar selling on remittance inflows surpassed the importer greenback demand, dealers said.

The rupee ended at 155.15/20 per dollar, compared with Thursday’s close of 155.25/30. The rupee hit a record low of 155.90 last week.

“Today there was importer demand, but that was negated by the remittance inflow,” a dealer said.

The local currency has weakened 1.1 percent so far this year. The domestic currency lost 2.5 percent last year and 3.9 percent in 2016.

The currency is expected to be pressured by continued importer demand for dollars, dealers said.

A gradual depreciation in the rupee and higher volatility this year are expected on account of debt repayments by the government, dealers added.

The government must repay an estimated 1.97 trillion rupees ($12.68 billion) in 2018 – a record high – including $2.9 billion of foreign loans and a total of $5.36 billion in interest.

Foreign investors sold government securities net worth 3.7 billion rupees in the week ended Feb. 21, central bank data showed. ($1 = 155.4000 Sri Lankan rupees)