Sri Lanka to double Development Bond limit to raise liquidity

Apr 26, 2017 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Finance Ministry is to increase the limit of issuing Sri Lanka Development Bonds (SLDBs) from 1,500 million US dollars to 3,000 million dollars including development bonds due to expire this year.

Cabinet approval has also been granted to this proposal considering the low liquidity situation and interest rates of treasury bills and treasury bonds in the country.

In early January, cabinet granted approval to raise 1,500 million US dollars (approximately Rs225 billion) through issuance of SLDBs under domestic borrowings.

During the first quarter of 2017 SLDBs worth of 1,023 million US dollars reached maturity and further 854 million dollars is due to mature within the balance period of the year 2017.

It was expected to finance the part of these maturities utilizing Foreign Currency Term Financing Facility of 300 – 1000 million US dollars or any other suitable financing options available during the maturity period of SLDBs.

“With the existing low liquidity situation in the domestic market and upward pressure on the interest rate of Treasury bills and Treasury bonds as well as the pressure on the reserves, it is prudent to explore raising more funds through the issuance of SLDBs,” Finance Minister said.

“Enhancement of the limit of issuance of SLDBs from USD 1,500 million to USD 3,000 million is within the borrowing limit of Rs1,579 billion approved by Parliament for the year 2017.”

The continuing inflows of remittances and other foreign currency inflows and re-investment of maturing SLDBs are expected to be invested in SLDBs.

Finance Minister further said the expansion could be filled by raising SLDBs, the proceeds could be used to repay the high value domestic and foreign debt.

The Appropriation Act of 2016 has authorized a gross borrowing limit of 1,579 billion rupees for the year 2017.

These gross borrowings will be utilized for the repayment of loans amounting to 800 billion rupees and 779 billion rupees to finance development projects and other expenses in 2017.

The total gross borrowing of 1,579 billion rupees is to be raised from both domestic and foreign sources.

Borrowings from domestic sources and foreign sources estimated to be at 1,129 billion rupees and 450 billion rupees respectively.