Capital Markets

T-bill holdings fall 8pc as CBK shifts more debt to bonds


The Central bank of Kenya, Nairobi on Sunday, November 22, 2020. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

The share of government’s domestic debt held in form of Treasury bills dropped by eight percentage points in 2021, reflecting the increased effort by the Treasury to reduce refinancing risk.

Central Bank of Kenya data shows the outstanding stock of T-bills stood at Sh709.3 billion at the end of last year, accounting for 17.58 percent of the total domestic debt stock of Sh4.03 trillion.

At the end of 2020, the stock of debt in form of T-bills stood at Sh855.7 billion, equivalent to a quarter of total domestic debt which stood at Sh3.49 trillion at the time.

The State has since 2019 been working to cut the share of debt held in form of the short term securities while increasing that of long-dated bonds in order to lengthen the maturity profile of domestic debt.

This has seen the average time to maturity for Treasury bonds rise to nine years in December from 7.5 years in June 2019.

Bonds now account for 82 percent of the debt, up from 74 percent a year ago.

Movement in interest rates on the T-bills has however remained limited despite the Treasury’s lack of appetite for them.

Average yields for the 91- day and 182-day T-bills ended last year at 6.96 percent and 7.58 percent respectively, compared to 6.86 percent and 7.51 percent in 2020.

Analysts at city based investment bank Sterling Capital say however that this year will likely see upward pressure on yields across government securities due to increased budget financing pressure.

The potential approval of bank requests for upward reviews of their landing rates by the CBK wold also heighten competition the between government and private sector for credit, pushing up the government’s borrowing costs.