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New plan to mop up excess liquidity
In its March 28 Monetary Policy Announcement (MPA), the Central Bank said it will be issuing Treasury Bills and Treasury Notes to mop up excess liquidity estimated to have already reached $7.1 billion in March, up from $6.7 billion in February.
"Following the Gazetting of Parliament’s approval of increased borrowing limits under the Treasury Bills and Treasury Notes Acts, the Central Bank is now in a better position to expand its open market operations to remove excess liquidity from the banking system," the Central Bank The bank also announced: "The Central Bank will be intensifying its liquidity management operations in the coming period to reduce excess liquidity in the banking system."
Liquidity levels retreated in January before rising again in February to March. After declining to $6.4 billion in January, mainly because of lower government fiscal injections, commercial banks' excess reserves at the Central Bank rose to a daily average of $6.7 billion in February. Average excess liquidity rose again to $7.1 billion over the period March 5 – 24, as fiscal injections rebounded.
Open market operations and Central Bank sales of foreign exchange to authorized dealers together withdrew $893 million in January, $831 million in February and $395 million in the first three weeks of March. In addition, the Central Bank also rolled over for one year a $1.5 billion commercial bank special deposit which matured in March.
"Liquidity levels in the banking system remain high and continue to keep domestic treasury rates low. With US treasury rates rising in recent months, interest rate differentials on longer term TT and US treasury bonds are negative," the MPA said.
According to the latest available data from the Central Statistical Office, in the 12 months to February headline inflation measured 3.9 per cent, up from 2.9 per cent in January but down from 5.6 per cent in December 2013. Core inflation accelerated to 2.7 per cent (year-on-year) in February from 2.0 per cent in December.
There was a pick-up in entertainment related sub-categories such as recreation and culture, hotels, cafes and restaurants and alcoholic beverages and tobacco in early 2014, the Central Bank said. On the other hand, food inflation decelerated to 5.2 per cent in February from 10.2 per cent in December.