COLOMBO Dec 21 Sri Lanka's rupee gained
for a third straight session on Friday to its highest level
against the dollar in more than seven months on exporter dollar
conversions, while stocks ended weaker.
The rupee firmed 0.55 percent to 126.90/127.00 to the
dollar, its highest since May 3, compared with Thursday's close
of 127.60/70, Reuters data showed.
"The lowest trade was done at 125.50 early but later
importers bought dollars and booked forwards," a dealer said.
Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said on Thursday
the rupee was likely to further appreciate due to continuous
inflows in the absence of importer demand for dollars.
Colombo Stock Exchange's main index edged down 0.2
percent or 10.87 points to close at 5,526.49.
Analysts said selling pressure due to year-end settlements
dragged the bourse down, but falling interest rates would help
to attract investors towards risky assets in the new year.
Treasury bill yields eased between 21-27 basis points at a
weekly auction on Wednesday in line with the central bank's rate
cut last week.,
Total turnover on Friday was 959.3 million rupees ($7.51
million), higher than this year's daily average of 891.9 million
rupees. Foreign investors were net buyers of 310.5 million
rupees worth of shares, extending net foreign buying this year
to 37.78 billion rupees.
($1 = 127.7500 Sri Lanka rupees)
(Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Robert Birsel)