Sri Lanka opens government bond market to foreign investors

October 16, 2006 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has decided to liberalise its capital account by throwing open the government bond market to foreign investors, the Central Bank said Monday. Foreign investors are currently allowed to invest in equities, corporate debt and Sri Lanka development bonds or dollar bonds issued by the government.

Central Bank’s superintendent of Public Debt Chandra Premaratne said the policy decision becomes effective immediately, but the bank and the exchange control department are yet to firm up the guidelines.

“The policy decision is to open up 5-percent of the government bond market for maturities over two years. Once the guidelines are ready, we can start issuing treasury bonds to foreigners,” she told LBO.

According to Central Bank figures, total outstanding government debt carrying maturities over two years, currently stands at 476 billion rupees.

“Accordingly, the amount now offered to non-residents would be 24 billion rupees or around 230 million dollars,” the bank said in a statement. “The new measure is intended to further enhance the development of the capital markets by increasing foreign exchange inflows and to increase resources in the domestic money and capital markets,” the statement adds.