Sri Lanka raises 23 million dollars from rupee bond sale

January 30 (LBO) – Sri Lanka goverment has raised 23 million dollars by selling rupee bonds to foreign investors, its public debt office said Tuesday. The island has a BB- sovereign rating from Fitch and B+ rating from Standard and Poors.

. The announcement came ahead of a visit by a government team to Singapore to find more buyers for rupee bonds.

The government is hoping to raise 200 million dollars this year through rupee bond sales to foreigners.

The Department of Public Debt said Citibank N.A had investedin the equivalent of 2,400 million rupees bonds, while HSBC had invested in 30 million.

“Of this total, investment made through the primary market amounted to 1,950 million rupees and the balance via the secondary market,” the Department of Public Debt said.

“This development is considered a very positive start and provides a substantial momentum to meet the target of 20 billion rupees for the year 2007 set by the government.”

Late last year Sri Lanka allowed foreign investors to buy up to 5 percent of outstanding treasury bonds with a maturity period of two years and over.

Authorities recently relaxed restrictions on secondary trading, which had earlier put off potential buyers.

Sri Lanka had earlier raised money from dollar denominated bonds which pay a floating rate.

Sri Lanka’s total outstanding debt had climbed to 1.15 trillion rupees as at end 2006, of which treasury bonds accounted for 901.3 billion rupees, according to the Central Bank.