Sri Lanka calls auctions to mop up liquidity

Aug 02, 2013 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has called auctions to mop 20 billion rupees overnight and sell 9.5 billion rupees in Treasury bills outright after liquidity spiked due to a debt repayment from central bank credit a day earlier. To the extent that liquidity is left sloshing around in the banking system overnight, the Central Bank could lose foreign reserves and also face foreign exchange pressure.

The 20 billion in excess liquidity and 5.0 billion in the term auction represent about 200 million US dollars.

The rupee was quoted at 131.70/80 in the spot-next market where settlement is made three days later, about 5/10 cents weaker from a day earlier.

On Thursday the Central Bank’s Treasury bill stock climbed to 81.1 billion rupees from 64 billion rupees after a one week 5.0 billion rupee term repurchase auction, with 38 billion rupees in excess cash reserves left overnight, pointing to an outflow of a little over 100 million US dollars, analysts said.

On Friday the central bank called auctions to sell outright 3.5 billion rupees in Treasuries matting in 11 days outright and 6.0 billion rupees maturing in 18 days.

Another overnight auction for 20 billion rupees was also called. Wednesdays Treasuries auction settlement falls today.

To the extent that the Central Bank’s Treasury bill stock is sold down to the banking system, it will be able to curtail potential domestic credit and conserve foreign reserves.

The liquidity built up after the central bank credit was used to repay maturing government bonds.