COLOMBO, Jan 1 (Reuters) - The Sri Lankan rupee ended a tad
firmer on Wednesday as banks sold dollars expecting at least a
50-basis-points cut in the central bank's key policy rates amid
a fall in treasury bill yields, dealers said.
The market expects the central bank to cut its key policy
rates to multi-year lows on Thursday to stimulate economic
The spot rupee closed at 130.65/75 per dollar,
slightly firmer from Tuesday's close of 130.75/90.
"There was forward selling by banks ahead of the rate
announcement, expecting at least 50-basis-points cut (in the key
policy rates)," a currency dealer said on condition of
Yields on treasury bills fell to their lowest since Nov. 11,
2011 at a weekly auction on Wednesday and dealers said the
reduction also added pressure on the rupee forward premiums.
Dealers said the three-month forward premium fell by 30
cents while six-month and one-year forward premiums dropped by
around 50 cents and 20 cents respectively.
Dealers expect the currency to appreciate in the first
quarter of 2014 due to a possible dollar bond inflow, before
falling due to lower interest rates pressurising the exchange
rate amid a pick-up in importer dollar demand.
The local currency has gained about 3.3 percent since it hit
a record low of 135.20 on Aug. 28. It has lost 2.5 percent in
2013 following a 10.7 percent depreciation in 2012.
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Sunil