THE central bank raised P80 billion through its short-term securities at a lower average rate following the extension of the lockdown in the country’s capital.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) fully awarded its 28-day bills, with bids reaching P119.824 billion, 1.49 times the offer volume. Demand seen during this week’s auction was also higher than the P109 billion on March 26.

The central bank postponed its BSP bill auction as Friday fell on a holiday last week.

Accepted rates for the papers ranged from 1.87% to 1.9449%, against the 1.875% to 1.989% seen previously.

The bills fetched an average rate of 1.9156%, dipping by 1.87 basis points from the 1.9343% logged the previous auction.

BSP securities and term deposits are designed to mop up excess liquidity and to guide short-term market rates.

The lower rates in the BSP securities were seen following the lengthened restriction measures, according to Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort.

“The auction yields eased as the extended enhanced community quarantine could slow down demand conditions and other economic activities that could ease inflationary pressures,” Mr. Ricafort said in a text message.

Metro Manila as well as surrounding provinces Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and Bulacan is under a two-week lockdown until April 11 in an effort to prevent further virus spread as cases surge.

COVID-19 infections increased by 8,355 to 803,398 on Monday, with active cases at 143,726. The country has the most active cases in the ASEAN followed by Indonesia with 116,709. — Luz Wendy T. Noble