Sri Lanka rupee at near record low on importer dlr demand
* Importer dollar demand pulls currency down on low liquidity
* Stocks flat; investors cautious over rupee, interest rates
COLOMBO, April 23 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's rupee closed 1 percent weaker at near an all-time low on Monday on importer dollar demand, shrugging off central bank's expectations of $574 million inflows within a month.
The rupee ended at 131.40/60 against the dollar, just firmer than the record low of 131.60 set on March 19, and weaker than Friday's close of 130.20/30. The lowest intraday trade was done at 130.50.
"Everybody will wait proper inflows coming into the market as rupee depreciation pressure is still there," a currency dealer said on condition of anonymity.
The central bank said on Friday there was no need to intervene in the market as the country would see $574 million of inflows within a month.
But many dealers said the market would react only when the inflows come in and they believed the currency warranted further depreciation.
The currency has depreciated 13.1 percent since the central bank stopped defending it on Feb. 9.
Sri Lanka's stock market closed slightly weaker with a 0.04 percent, or 2.07 points, fall to 5,455.06 as investors were waiting for direction amid uncertainty over the rupee's depreciation, rising interest rates, slowing economic growth and corporate earnings.
A suspension of a 10 percent price band on share-price movements failed to boost sentiment.
The day's turnover was 246 million Sri Lankan rupees ($1.89 million), well below this year's daily average of 1.31 billion rupees.
The market, however, saw a net foreign inflow of 39.7 million rupees, extending the net foreign buying to 21.3 billion rupees in 2012.
The Colombo bourse is one of the worst performing Asian markets this year, losing 10.2 percent. ($1 = 130.0100 Sri Lanka rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Robert Birsel)
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