Sri Lanka rupee slides sharply against the dollar; one year t-bill yields plummet

April 10, 2007 (LBO) – The spot dollar shot up Tuesday to 109.30 from yesterday’s closing of 108.35, dealers said, while one year t-bill yields plummeted by 63 basis points. Earlier in the day overnight call rates went as high as 40 percent with the central bank keeping cash tight as it tried to keep inflation down.

This week the bank bought 6.4 billion rupees worth bills from the auction.

In equity markets the all share closed flat at 2,807 while the Milanka closed marginally up according to provisional data from the Colombo Stock Exchange.

Updated with T-bill yeilds The rupee fell with heavy dollar buying by a foreign bank which had earlier brought in clients who bought into Sri Lanka government rupee bonds.

At today’s Treasury bill auction, held a day earlier ahead of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year holiday, one year yields fell to 14.07 percent down from 14.70 a week earlier.

Central Bank officials said it was not a mistake. However, some dealers suspect that a bidder may have miscalculated a buying price when putting a bid.

“It is unlikely that even a captive source would have put that low a bid,” one dealer said.

With most private dealers usually getting government securities at rates higher than the weighted average, outsider believe that the state-managed superannuation funds of private sector workers usually get the short end of the stick.

Dealers say bids close to 14.80 have also been accepted this week, indicating that the cut-off was higher.

Meanwhile, the three month auction rate moved up to 15.01 percent (up 12 basis points) and six months moved up to 14.98 up (10 basis points).

The public debt office, 2.3 billion rupees of bids were accepted for three month bills, while only 742 million worth of bids were accepted for one year bills.