Treasury bill yields in Sri Lanka edge upwards

Standing left to right – Mr. Dinesh Jebamani (Chief Manager Liability Product Management and New Age Media – Seylan Bank), Mr.Sudesh Peiris (Senior Manager – Digital Banking Channels – Seylan Bank), Ms. S.Senevirathne (Representative of the Revenue Department – Western Province), Mr. Tilan Wijeyesekera (Deputy General Manager – Retail Banking – Seylan Bank) and Mr. Malik Wickremanayaka (Deputy General Manager – Operations – Seylan Bank)

March 07 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s treasury yields moved up by an average 15 basis points at Wednesday’s auction, despite the central bank purchasing two billion worth of bills off the 12-billion rupee auction.

“Commercial Banks should pursue prudential measures to suppress the excessive growth in consumption credit while mobilising more deposits from public to finance their credit operations,” the bank said in a statement Wednesday. The weighted average yield of 3, 6 and 12 month treasury bills moved up to 14.24 percent from 14.09 a week earlier while the 12-month yield moved to 14.27 percent, the public debt office said.

The 6-month rate moved up 20 basis points to 14.27 percent and the three month rate moved up 17 basis points to 14.23, with dealers saying the cut-off went as high as 14.40.

Market interest rates in the country have been rising after the central bank tightened monetary policy in December when inflation rose to 19.3 percent.

Consumer inflation peaked at 20.5 percent in January and moderated to 19.2 percent in February. The central bank says core-inflation which excludes administered prices and volatile items was 18 percent in February.

By allowing treasury bill yields to rise the Central Bank has been able to stabilize its holdings of t-bills the largest component of central bank credit or printed money to around 50 billion rupees over the past two months.

As part of its monetary tightening measures the Central Bank also reduced access of commercial bank to its cash window as well as raising policy interest rates.