The St Lucia government issues 91-day Treasury Bills twice a quarter on the Regional Security Market according the schedule listed here: http://www.ecseonline.com/cal_issues.php . Each 91 day Treasury Bill issuance has a maximum discount rate set to 6.0 percent in the prospectus. See: http://www.ecseonline.com/documents/FinalProspectusGovernmentofSaintLucia27mand25mTreasurybillsdatedJune2012.pdf for the current prospectus. The figures for the 7 batches of 91-day Treasury Bill that have been issued in 2012 are as follows:
The Discount Rate is an annualized rate of return based on the par value of the bill. Further information on Treasury bills can be found at: http://www.treasurydirect.gov/indiv/research/indepth/tbills/res_tbill.htm.
Discount rate of recent US Treasury Bills can be found here http://www.treasurydirect.gov/RI/OFBills. The US Treasury Bill discount rate is much lower at 0.1%
The jump to a 6.0% final discount rate is a major concern and could major ramifications on the economy. 6.0% is the maximum discount rate that is set in the prospectus and prior to the October 15 issue, the final discount rate had always been much lower.
Some questions about this
1) Do the bond investors know something about the St. Lucian economy that is not yet public?
2) Why did the final discount rate increase so dramatically and the oversubscription value fall compared to the previous issues this year?
I have not read any explanation or response by the government about the discount rate that was obtained for this week’s Treasury Bill issue.
3) Has borrowing costs increased due to the introduction of VAT? Or was it due to Grenada’s downgrade by the S&P for a delay in bond payments (the S&P has subsequently upgraded Grenada’s rating)?
4) Interestingly the final discount rate of 6.0% meant that for the first time this year the Government of St. Vincent & the Grenadines obtained a lower final discount rate of St. Lucia.
Their discount rate for Treasury Bills issued on October 15th 2012 was 5.82%. Are investors now more confident in the St. Vincentian economy as compared to the St. Lucian economy?
The big open question is what will the final discount rate for the final 91-day Treasury Bill for 2012 which is to be issued on October 24th 2012. Will the discount rate remain at a 6.0% or will it fall back to the usual levels.