Sri Lanka rolls over Rs12bn in bills, short end in demand

Sri Dharanee Performance Arts Theatre

August 15, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka rolled over 12 billion rupees of treasury bills heavily weighted towards the short end with yields edging up marginally, the government’s debt office said. Three-month bills edged up four basis points to 17.45 percent while 6-months remained flat at 17.12 percent and 12-month bills were at 16.89 percent.

The debt office originally offered 4.8 billion rupees worth of 3-month bills and 6.8 billion rupees of 12-month bills, but eventually accepted 11.1 billion rupees of 3-month bills indicating heavy investor preference for the short end.

Only 410 million of 6-month bills and 510 million 12-month bills were accepted.

Though 1.8 billion of the bills were originally reserved, a balance 330 million rupees were retired without the central bank purchasing them.

The bank also did not take up residual bills at the last auction.

The bank started printing money to intervene in the market when the 3-month rates hit 17.40 percent about two months ago and later rejected bids at two auctions in their entirety.

The Central Bank which runs the debt office has begun aggressively promoting treasury bills, opening new outlets for the public and advertising heavily to push bills into the hands of the public.

The government is planning to raise 500 million dollars in international markets, which is expected to ease pressure on domestic sources and also help shore up the balance of payments.

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