Sri Lanka’s treasury bill rates rise by 50 basis points; speculation of a rate hike

October 11, 2006 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s borrowing costs went up half a percentage during the weekly treasury bill auction Wednesday, sparking speculation that the central bank may hike its key policy rates for the fourth time this month. The bank offered 12.083 billion rupees worth of bills at this week’s auction but accepted only 5.013 billion rupees.


Maturity

Bids received

Amount accepted

Weighted avg. yield

(Rs. mn)

(Rs. mn)

This week

Last week
Three months 8,596 3,383 11.25 10.75
Six months 4,584 475 11.29 10.79
One-year 4,486 1,155 11.36 10.86
Total

17,666

5,013

11.28

(Source:
Central Bank)

Market players had sent in bids worth 17.666 billion rupees.

The bank bought the remaining 7.070 billion rupees worth of bills.

The auction results prompted market speculation that the bank may hike policy rates between 25-50 basis points to stamp out inflation and curb credit expansion, when the monthly review is announced on Thursday.

Sri Lanka’s inflation rate rose to 15.4 percent in Sept from 15.3 percent in August, as an upward revision in fuel and electricity tariffs pushed consumer prices up.

The central bank’s unscheduled 50 basis point increase last month has taken the repurchase (repo) and reverse repo (reverse repurchase) rate up to 87.50 basis points.

The repo rate is now stands at 9.625 percent and the reverse repo is at 11.125 percent.

The reverse repo is used to manage liquidity and contain inflation, while the repo is used to lend to commercial banks. “If inflationary pressure doesn’t taper off with the last rate hike, further increases may be warranted between November and the end of the year,” First Capital Group said in a report on Tuesday.