Sri Lanka rupee steady in dull trade; stocks up

COLOMBO, April 21 Mon Apr 21, 2014 2:34am EDT

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COLOMBO, April 21 (Reuters) - The Sri Lanka rupee was steady on Monday in light trade, a day before the central bank's policy rate announcement, while dealers expect the currency to hold at the current level.

The spot rupee was at 130.60/65 per dollar at 0607 GMT, unchanged from Thursday's close. Markets were closed on Friday for a public holiday.

Dealers expect the rupee to trade in a range of 130.60-70 in the near future. It has been hovering between 130.55 and 130.70 per dollar since March 3, Thomson Reuters data showed.

Dealers say the central bank's intervention through two state banks has been used to defend the rupee from sharp swings.

There has been a gradual increase since mid-March in remittances by Sri Lankan expatriates to their relatives, while dollar selling has also increased as exporters paid bonuses to their employees.

Those inflows have helped ease depreciation pressure, which was there in the early part of the year.

Sri Lanka's main stock index was up 0.09 percent, or 5.83 points, at 6,186.59 as of 0611 GMT with trades dominated by the top conglomerate John Keells Holdings.

By 0614 GMT, the market's turnover was at 344.8 million Sri Lanka rupees ($2.64 million), with 17.8 million shares traded, exchange data showed. ($1 = 130.6100 Sri Lanka Rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Anand Basu)

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