January 26, 2018 / 11:28 AM / in a year

Sri Lankan rupee firms as banks, exporters sell dollars

COLOMBO, Jan 26 (Reuters) - The Sri Lankan rupee ended slightly firmer on Friday, further moving away from a record low hit earlier this week, as banks and exporters sold dollars in dull trade, dealers said.

The spot rupee, which traded at 153.70 per dollar during the day, ended at 153.65/75 per dollar, compared with Thursday’s close of 153.70/80. The rupee gained 0.2 percent for the week.

On Tuesday, the rupee hit a record intraday low of 154.20/25 per dollar.

“There was no big demand today. There were some exporter (dollar) sales and inward remittances,” said a currency dealer.

Dealers expect a 2-3 percent depreciation this year.

The rupee might see volatility due to heavy debt repayment by the government this year, said dealers.

Sri Lanka raised $470.6 million last week via development bonds, the central bank said.

President Maithripala Sirisena’s administration must repay an estimated 1.97 trillion rupees ($12.85 billion) in 2018 - a record high - including $2.9 billion of foreign loans, and a total of $5.36 billion in interest.

Foreign investors bought 2.1 billion rupees worth of government securities this year up to Jan. 18, central bank data showed.

The rupee fell 2.5 percent last year, and 3.9 percent in 2016. (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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