COLOMBO, April 17 The Sri Lankan rupee traded
steady on Thursday in dull trade as many factories were closed
for business after the Sinhala-Tamil new year ahead of a long
weekend, dealers said.
The spot rupee was at 130.60/65 per dollar at 0740
"It is almost a dead market because there is no trade at all
due to the holiday mood," a currency dealer said on condition of
Both currency and stock markets will be closed on Friday for
Good Friday after they were shut on both Monday and Tuesday for
Sinhala-Tamil new year holiday and a special bank holiday,
The rupee has been hovering between 130.55 and 130.70 per
dollar since March 3, Thomson Reuters data showed, and currency
dealers cited the central bank's intervention through two state
banks in both directions.
Since mid-March, the market saw a gradual increase in
remittances by Sri Lankan expatriates to their relatives, while
dollar selling also rose as exporters paid bonuses to their
employees ahead of the festival.
Those inflows have helped to ease depreciation pressure in
the early part of this year.
Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said on April 9
at a Reuters' Global Market Forum that a sharp depreciation or
appreciation was unlikely in the rupee "although a gentle trend
could perhaps take place."
The central bank's moral suasion has largely helped to keep
the rupee steady when the currency faced excess volatility.
Dealers, however, said the rupee could come under downward
pressure again in the event of imports picking up in a lower
interest rate regime.
Sri Lanka's main stock index was up 0.48 percent, or
29.13 points, at 6,147.98 as of 0750 GMT with buying were seen
in top lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon and
conglomerate Aitken Spence.
By 0755 GMT, the market's turnover was at 543 million rupees
($4.16 million), with 19.9 million shares traded, the bourse
($1 = 130.5750 Sri Lanka Rupees)
(Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Joyjeet Das)