Sri Lanka CB relaxes LCB restrictions for standing facility from Feb 16 to slash market rates
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s central bank relaxed restrictions it imposed on the usage of the Standing Facilities by the Licensed Commercial Banks (LCBs) under the Open Market Operations (OMOs) in a bid to accelerate the fall of market interest rates, the central bank said.
Despite repeated reduction in the central bank’s key policy rates, the market rates have not declined in the same proportion, central bank officials have said,
“The relaxation of the restrictions on the Standing Facilities is expected to accelerate the downward adjustments in market interest rates as envisaged under the overall monetary policy direction of the Central Bank,” the central bank said in a statement.
“After carefully reviewing the developments in the domestic money market, as well as the behaviour of LCBs in terms of market participation along with the improvements in liquidity, the Monetary Policy Board, at its meeting held on 07 February 2024, decided to relax the restrictions imposed on the Standing Facilities to LCBs under OMOs.”
“Accordingly, with effect from the reserve maintenance period commencing 16 February 2024, the restriction on the SLF (Standing Lending Facility) will be removed and the restriction on SDF (Standing Deposit Facility ) will be relaxed from five times (05) to ten times (10) during a calendar month.”
The Central Bank introduced restrictions in January 2023, limiting the access to the SDF to a maximum of five (05) times per calendar month, while access to the SLF was limited to 90 per cent of the Statutory Reserve Requirement (SRR) of each LCB, at any given day.
The central bank said the measures were imposed with the intention of reducing the overdependence of LCBs on the overnight facilities offered by the Central Bank, supporting the reactivation of the domestic money market, particularly the call money market, and inducing LCBs to introduce internal corrective measures.
The new move comes after the Central Bank observed its restrictions have yielded positive outcomes by way of reactivating the domestic money market and curtailing excessive competition for deposit mobilisation among financial institutions.
“These measures were also instrumental in inducing a moderation in the market interest rate structure in line with the monetary policy stance, while preserving stability of financial institutions and the financial system,” the central bank said. (Colombo/Feb 09/2024)