COLOMBO, April 25 The Sri Lankan rupee traded
steady in dull trade on Friday as thin importer dollar demand
offset sales of the greenback by exporters, while dealers
expected the local currency to remain stable in the near-term in
the absence of a pick-up in private sector credit.
The spot rupee was at 130.60/62 per dollar at 0620
GMT, little changed from Thursday's close of 130.61/63.
"It is very dull trade and nothing much is happening," said
a currency dealer.
Many dealers said they are surprised by the lower credit
demand from the private sector even though key interest rates
have been at multi-year lows since January.
The benchmark 91-day treasury bill yield further dropped to
its lowest since January 2007, data showed on Wednesday, a day
after the central bank kept policy rates steady at multi-year
Private sector credit grew 4.4 percent year-on-year in
February, the slowest since May 2010, latest data from the
central bank showed. That compared with growth of 5.2 percent in
January this year and 13.3 percent in February 2013.
The central bank, in its monetary policy statement on
Tuesday, expressed confidence that private sector credit growth
would rebound in the second quarter and push up the pace of
Dealers expect the rupee to trade in a range of 130.60-70 in
the near future until credit growth picks up. It has been
hovering between 130.55 and 130.70 since March 3, Thomson
Reuters data showed, with the central bank intervening to
smoothen any sharp volatility.
Sri Lanka's main stock index was up 0.16 percent, or
9.78 points, at 6,187.91 as of 0626 GMT. The market turnover was
at 547.7 million rupees ($4.19 million), with 21.6 million
Shares in market heavyweight John Keells Holdings
were up 0.17 percent at 237.90 rupees with investors betting on
a likely parliamentary approval for the company's $850 million
integrated hotel and casino project.
Vallibel One, which traded flat, got the
parliamentary approval on Thursday to invest $300 million in an
integrated luxury tourist resort, also including a casino, in
the island nation's proposed exclusive gaming zone.
($1 = 130.6150 Sri Lanka Rupees)
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by