Sri Lanka eyes 10-year sovereign bond

Feb 13, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is eyeing a 10-year 500 million US dollar sovereign bond after May 2010 when funding needs becomes clear after a budget is passed in April, an official said. Sri Lanka has sold two 500 million US dollar sovereign bonds in 2007 and 2009 with a 5-year maturity.

“We think Sri Lanka has now matured and gained confidence amongst investors (to float a 10-year bond),” Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said.

“The funds will go towards capital expenditure and reconstruction.”

Sri Lanka’s 2010 budget was delayed due to presidential polls in January which was won by incumbent president Mahinda Rajapaksa. Parliamentary polls are due on April 08.

Up to April Sri Lanka is running on a four month stop gap budget, which is simply an extrapolation of last year’s budget. Tax revenues collapsed last year amid an economic downturn. By September revenues had started to recover.

However strains have now appeared in the monetary system with part of the government debt being monetized amid high spending. In 2009 Sri Lanka was also able to raise 1.2 billion US dollars by selling local currency Treasuries after the rupees was floated in April and a deal signed with the International Monetary Fund in May, ending a balance of payments crisis.