The Ceylon Today newspaper reported on Sunday, February 19 that foreign investors have withdrawn over 100 billion rupees from the Government Securities Market over the past eighteen weeks.
Economists say that this mass withdrawal of foreign investors from Sri Lankan Treasury Bonds and Bills, has caused the weakening of the rupee against the US dollar.
In its article, the Ceylon Today reports that foreign exits topped the 100 billion rupee mark in the 18 weeks ending on Wednesday February 15, after they pulled out Rs.17,707 million during the week.
In the 18-week review period, foreign investments in the Government Securities Market has dropped by a third or 33.22 percent to 211,494 million rupees caused by a withdrawal of Rs.105,222 million in Treasury bills and treasury bonds.
Economist and Product Head of Frontier Research Shiran Fernando commented as following,
”What has happened is recently, because of what is going on globally, and the US actually moving towards increasing their interest rates, helping investors now trying to settle down on what they are holding in countries like Sri Lanka and going back to countries like the US. This decline, I think is mainly due to global reasons rather that Sri Lanka specific. It has really impacted the currency because with foreigners leaving and exiting, they are taking dollars out of the country, and the rupee as a result has actually moved since October. So, it has moved from about 154/146 to about 150 and that’s because of this. Whether this trend continues remains to be seen. But clearly it has a big impact because in environment of less FDI these things really matter.”
Fernando added that while investors do consider many strategic factors, the Central Bank bond controversy of February 2015, had certainly not helped to maintain investor confidence.