July 18, 2018 / 11:29 AM / a year ago

Sri Lankan rupee ends tad weaker on importer dollar demand

COLOMBO, July 18 (Reuters) - The Sri Lankan rupee edged down on Wednesday to levels close to its record low, pressured by dollar demand from importers, traders said.

The rupee fell as low as 160.15 per dollar, close to its record low of 160.17 on June 20.

It closed at 159.95/160.05 per dollar, compared with Tuesday’s close of 159.95/160.00. It has declined 4.2 percent so far this year.

“There was importer demand, but it was not much. We expect the rupee to remain at these levels for some time,” a currency dealer said.

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.

The central bank is concerned dollar hoarding and market manipulation is exacerbating the rupee’s weakness and has the tools to correct any misalignment in the exchange rate, Coomaraswamy told Reuters last week.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said last month that Sri Lanka’s economy remained vulnerable to adverse shocks due to a sizeable public debt and large refinancing needs.

Foreign investors sold government securities worth a net 9.4 million rupees ($58,860) in the week ended July 11, bringing the outflows so far this year to 29.7 billion rupees, central bank data showed. ($1=159.70 Sri Lankan) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Neil Fullick)

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