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Women In Galle-CCTV

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19 April 2016

Bond auction process back in spotlight
Questions have again been raised over the government securities (G-Secs) auction process as a recent treasury bond issue had accepted triple the amount it offered at a significantly higher interest rate, driving up the government’s cost of borrowing. On March 29, 2016, the Central Bank offered a 14-year and one-month bond (2030 bond) to raise Rs.10 billion. But the bank accepted bids up to Rs.29 billion – almost thrice the amount offered – at a higher rate of 14.23 percent. The Central Bank denies any irregularities in the process and said the spike in bond yields reflected the recent monetary policy actions and volatile global markets. However, the bond yield significantly came down on the next day in the secondary market (see illustration), opening up an avenue for those who bought the bonds to make thumping profits by selling them. According to economist Murtaza Jaffergee, at a time when the interest rates are going up, it is irrational to borrow for 14 years at an interest rate of 14.23 percent, when you can minimize your exposure by borrowing short term. “If your interest rates are going up and you are vulnerable, and if you still need to borrow more money, you need to borrow short term. Then your exposure is only for the next three or four years. If so, at least you pay the penalty in the short term only, not for 14 years,” Jaffergee told a recent forum in Colombo organised by the National Chamber of Commerce.

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