COLOMBO, June 1 (Reuters) - The Sri Lankan rupee touched a fresh record low of 158.80 on Friday owing to dollar demand from foreign banks and importers but ended steady on late inflows from remittances, dealers said.
The spot rupee hit a new all-time low of 158.80 per dollar, surpassing its previous low of 158.50 hit on May 16. However, it ended at 158.50/70, little changed from Thursday’s close of 158.50/60.
The currency has declined 3.4 percent so far this year.
“There was more than 1 billion rupees ($6.31 million) outflow from a stock-related transaction and a foreign bank bought dollars, while importer demand also was there,” a currency dealer said.
“Later in the day we saw some inflows from remittances.”
Dealers said the rupee will be under pressure with exporters staying on the sidelines in anticipation of a fall in the unit, in line with other emerging market currencies.
The pressure on the currency is unwarranted as gross external reserves are at $9.1 billion and the real effective exchange rate indexes indicate that the currency is competitive, the central bank had said.
Foreign investors sold government securities worth a net 787.24 million rupees ($4.97 million) in the week ended May 30, bringing the outflow so far this year to 17 billion rupees, central bank data showed.
$1 = 158.5500 Sri Lankan rupees Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Vyas Mohan