Foreigners sell Sri Lankan bonds worth Rs. 28 b in 20 days

Foreign investors have pulled out a whopping Rs. 28.12 billion worth of investments from Sri Lanka’s Treasury bills and bonds in the first three weeks of this month, according to the data from the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL).

This amounts to over 67% of the total net foreign outflows reported since 1 January to 20 March, which is Rs. 41.55 billion.

Net foreign outflows were seen intensifying, particularly after the spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic inside the country, with the first Sri Lankan Covid-19 patient being reported on 10 March.

However, this scale of foreign outflows from government securities is not limited to Sri Lanka as most of the Asian markets which were considered safe haven markets of Asia are suffering considerable outflows from their respective government securities markets in the wake of the pandemic.

Foreign investors have been selling Indian bonds this month and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said last week that it will buy bonds in the open market for a total of 100 billion Indian rupees to keep all market segments liquid and stable.

Meanwhile, according to the Thai Bond Market Association (ThaiBMA), foreign funds continue to exit the Thai bond market since their Central Bank further loosened its monetary policy in an effort to shore up an economy battered by Covid-19. Non-resident net outflows in Thai bonds were valued at 2 billion baht on a month-to-date basis as of 7 February, down from January’s inflows worth 11.3 billion baht, latest data reveals.

Bank Indonesia (BI) has bought about 163 trillion Indonesian rupiah ($ 10.1 billion) worth of government bonds to stabilise the country’s financial market amid foreign investors’ selling spree over Covid-19 fears. BI data recorded 105.

1 trillion rupiah in capital outflow as of Thursday (19), of which foreign investors sold 92.8 trillion rupiah worth of government bonds.

Reuters reported last week that foreign investors dumped Asian bonds in February on mounting fears over the economic damage done by the Covid-19 pandemic in the region.

Accordingly, foreigners sold a net $ 3.88 billion worth of regional bonds last month, their largest net selling since April 2018, according to data from regional banks and bond market associations in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, and India.