COLOMBO, June 20 (Reuters) - The Sri Lankan rupee traded weaker on Tuesday as dollar demand from importers weighed on the spot currency, which traded for the second straight session after six weeks.
The spot rupee started trading on Monday for the first time since May 5 when the central bank had fixed the spot reference rate at 152.50.
The spot rupee was trading at 153.20/25 per dollar at 0558 GMT, weaker from Monday’s close of 153.18/23.
“The demand is there today. It is the spot rupee trading today as well,” said a currency dealer, requesting anonymity.
Dealers said the banking regulator is not expected to intervene in the market due to a mid-year foreign exchange reserves target and ease of the importer dollar demand, but they expect the seasonal demand for dollars to pick up from August.
Central bank officials were not available for comment.
The central bank has set a target of $1.2 billion in direct market purchases of dollars to boost the island nation’s reserves this year, mainly to achieve a target set by the International Monetary Fund in return for a three-year $1.5 billion loan.
Foreign investors bought a net 7.93 billion rupees ($51.8 million) worth of government securities in the week ended June 14. They have sold a net 32.03 billion rupees worth of government bonds so far this year.
Sri Lankan shares were up 0.19 percent at 6,696.49, as of 0554 GMT. Turnover stood at 695.6 million rupees ($4.55 million). ($1 = 152.9500 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)