US fund buys $875 Sri Lanka rupee bonds pushing reserves above $3bn: CB Governor

Aug 20, 2009 (LBO) – An 875 million US dollar inflow from a US-based fund will go into 4 and 6-year rupee bonds, helping push Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves above 3.0 billion dollars by Friday, Central Bank governor Nivard Cabraal said.

The inflow will be directly matched with Treasury bonds and the Central Bank’s Treasury bill stock will fall by an equivalent amount and foreign reserves will move up.

The move will increase the tenure of government debt with Treasury bills representing central bank credit being converted to overseas held bonds.

The money will not have an impact on the domestic monetary system, Cabraal said.

The Treasury will still be going ahead with an international bond raising.

“We need to find about 30 percent counterparty funds for some development projects,” he said. The 875 million US dollar flow from a “US-based fund” will increase the maturity profile of government debt, Cabraal said. He did not give details of the US fund manager.

“This is a result of a road show we did in the US recently,” Cabraal said. “Investors are expecting interest rates to fall further so they can lock in profits.”

Government rupee bonds now yield about 13.0 percent.

Cabraal said total investments to rupee bonds would rise to the equivalent of about 1,250 million US dollars by Friday. The current ceiling for foreign rupee treasuries purchases was about 2.0 billion US dollars, he said.