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Sri Lanka launches an electronic trading platform for government bonds

Officials from K. Seeds Investments Pvt Ltd (at left) with officials from Commercial Credit and Finance PLC (at right)

May 24, 2006 (LBO) - Sri Lanka Wednesday launched an electronic trading platform for government bonds, which will set the tone for a more vibrant debt market to be developed in the future, traders said. "From a primary dealer perspective, transaction costs come down.
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We are confident that people can trade even with smaller spreads, thereby adding liquidity to the market," he said.

A formal launch will take place on June 8. Built by Bloomberg - a financial market specialist - the 'Lanka Primary Dealer Bloomberg BondTrader' or LPBT enables multi-dealer pricing display, order routing and deal confirmation.

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Traders can simply punch in firm quotes and execute the transactions in a transparent manner.

Around 300 million rupees worth of trades took place, during the soft launch today, dealers said.

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Sri Lanka is the second country, behind Singapore which adopted a similar trading platform built by Bloomberg two-weeks ago.

"We are pleased that Sri Lanka was chosen after Singapore for a launch and look forward for active trading which will give much needed liquidity to the system," Secretary of the Association of Primary Dealers, Ajith Fernando told LBO.

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An illiquid market usually drives up interest rates of treasury securities and can also increase the volatility of rates, all of which increases the cost of borrowing for the government.

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A transparent quoting system also helps investors to make informed decisions.

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