July 25, 2018 / 12:33 PM / a year ago

Sri Lankan rupee ends steady in dull trade

COLOMBO, July 25 (Reuters) - The Sri Lankan rupee ended steady on Wednesday as dollar demand from importers offset greenback selling by exporters, traders said.

The rupee closed steady at 159.50/60 per dollar, compared with Tuesday. It has declined 3.9 percent so far this year and hit a record low of 160.17 on June 20.

“It was a dull day and there were no big deals,” said a currency dealer asking not to be named.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has offered Sri Lanka a fresh grant of 2 billion yuan ($295 million), as Beijing looks to expand its influence in the tiny island country off India’s southern tip.

Dealers have said the grant announced on July 21 helped ease the pressure on the currency.

Sri Lanka’s central bank governor, Indrajit Coomaraswamy, had said earlier that the rupee’s decline was driven mainly by factors outside of Sri Lanka and that emerging-market currencies were under pressure.

Foreign investors sold government securities worth a net 1.98 billion rupees ($12.4 million) in the week ended July 18, bringing the outflows so far this year to 31.6 billion rupees, central bank data showed. ($1 = 159.4000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)

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