Foreign investors buy strongly into Sri Lanka rupee bonds

ECONOMYNEXT – Foreign investors bought Rs9.4 billion (about $64 million) in rupee bonds in the week to July 27, in a second week of strong purchases, as confidence returned in the wake of a successful bond sale and a deal with the International Monetary Fund.

The total stock of gilts held by foreign investors rose to Rs288 billion on July 27 from Rs279 billion a week earlier, central bank data showed. In the week to July 20, foreign investors bought Rs19 billion of bonds. By the beginning of May 2016, foreign investor bond holdings was down to Rs220 billion.

Foreign investors started selling heavily following a disastrous pro-cyclical rate cut in April 2015, while private and state credit was rising, signalling that the central bank was precipitating another balance of payments crisis.

In June, the International Monetary Fund approved a three-year stabilization program. In July, Sri Lanka also sold a $1.5 billion sovereign bond. Sri Lanka’s fiscal numbers have also improved, with taxes from petrol rising after vehicle ownership went up (Colombo/Aug01/2016).

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