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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
About this website

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About Us

What is Central Bank of Sri Lanka?
  It is a statutory body that is established under the Monetary Law Act initially enacted by Act No. 58 of 1949.  It is the monetary authority, which has powers and functions and responsibilities necessary for the purpose of establishment, administration and regulation of the monetary system of Sri Lanka.  The two core objectives of the Central Bank, as stipulated in the Monetary Law Act, are: achieving of the economic and price stability and the financial system stability of the country through effective monetary policy and prudential supervision and regulation of banking institutions.
   
How does a Central Bank differ from Commercial Banks?
  The Central Bank being the monetary authority is at the apex of the financial system functioning as a banker to commercial banks.   It provides reserves to the system.  Commercial banks are banking institutions with power to maintain current accounts and providing all commercial banking services to their customers.
   
What is the Monetary Board?
  The Monetary Board is the highest policy making body in the Central Bank responsible for the management, operations and administration of the Central Bank.
   
Why has the Monetary Board been incorporated, instead of the Central Bank?
  The John Exter Report on which the Central Bank has been established indicates that the Monetary Board should be incorporative, since in legal theory, it is better to incorporate a body of persons rather than an institution.  It also governs perpetual succession.
   
Who are on the Monetary Board and how are they appointed?
  Initially when the Monetary Board was first incorporated in 1950, it consisted of only 3 members namely;
 
- The Governor of the Central Bank who shall be the chairman
  of the Board;
- The person holding office for the time being as Secretary to the
  Ministry of the Minister in charge of the subject of Finance
- A  third Member appointed by the President
  on 18th December 2002, the Monetary Law Amendment Act No. 32 of 2002, came into operation and consequent to an amendment to Section 8 (c), the composition increased to five members to make it more representative.  They are:
 
- The Governor of the Central Bank who shall be the chairman
  of the Board;
- The person holding office for the time being as Secretary to the
  Ministry of the Minister in charge of the subject of Finance
- Two members appointed by the President on the
  recommendation of the Minister of Finance with the concurrence of the Constitutional Council.

Currency

Who has the authority to issue currency notes and coins in Sri Lanka?
  The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has the sole authority to issue currency notes and coins in Sri Lanka under section 49 of the Monetary Law Act No. 58 of 1949
   
What denominations of currency notes and coins are in circulation today?
  The denominations of currency notes in circulation today are Rs. 5000/=, Rs. 2000/=, 1000/=, 500/=, 100/=, 50/=, 20/=, 10/=, 5/=, 2/=, 1/= (At present Rs. 10/=, Rs. 5/=, 2/= and Re.1/= notes have been replaced with coins.) and coins in circulation are Rs. 10/=, 5/=, 2/=, Re. 1/=, cents. =/50, =/25, =/10, =/05, =/02, =/01. However notes valued Rs. 5/= and coins valued Re. 1/= are rarely observed in circulation.
   
What is the quantity of the currency notes in circulation now?
  At the end of December 2010 there were approximately 746 million pieces of currency notes of all denominations in circulation amounting to a value of Rs. 249.9 billion, and 3996 million pieces of coins of all denominations in circulation amounting to a value of Rs. 5.67 billion.
   
What are the most common/highly circulated currency notes?
  The denominations that dominate in terms of quantity of notes in circulation are Rs. 10/= and Rs. 100/= and by the end of December 2010 there were 185.6 million pieces of Rs. 10/= and 133.3 million pieces of Rs. 100/= notes in circulation 
   
How are currency notes and coins issued in to circulation?
  The main channel is commercial banks, When banks request currency notes and coins from the CBSL for their transactions, notes and coins are issued in denominations requested by them.  These notes and coins are added to circulation through the transactions with their customers.
   
What are the main features of coins in circulation?
  They are as follows: -
Denomination Weight (Grms) Year Shape Diameter (mm)

Rs.10/-

9.00

1998

Round

27.00

Rs.10/-

8.35

2010

Eleven Lobbed

26.40

Rs.5/-

9.50

Before 2005

Round

23.50

7.70

2005
Onwards

Rs.2/-

8.25

Before 2005

Round

28.50

7.00

2005
Onwards

Rs.1/-

7.13

Before 2005

Round

25.40

3.65

2005
Onwards

20.00

Cts.-/50

5.51

Before 2005

Round

21.46

2.50

2005
Onwards

18.00

Cts.-/25

3.24

Before 2005

Round

18.03

1.68

2005
Onwards

16.00

Cts. -/10

1.30

1991

Scalloped

Across Scallops
23.11

&

Inside Scallops
20.96

Cts. -/05

1.00

1991

Square

Across
Corners
21.46

&

Across Flat
18.24

Cts. -/02

0.78

1978

Scalloped

Across Scallops
18.42

&

Inside Scallops
17.02

Cts. -/01

0.70

1994

Round

16.00

   
What is special in paper used for printing currency notes?
  The paper for currency notes is made out of 100 percent cotton pulp, which gives a rough and firm texture.  However, the Rs. 200 commemorative note is made of Polymer
   
What is the lifespan of a currency note?
  According to the sample statistics, the average(mean) lifespan of each denomination is as follows
Denomination
Average Life Span
(Months)

Rs. 10/-

20-25

Rs. 20/-

25-30

Rs. 50/-

35-40

Rs. 100/-

45-50

Rs. 500/-

55-60

Rs. 1000/-

80-85


What is the lifespan of a coin?
  The lifespan of coins is around 15-35 years depending on the metal used.
   
Who prints currency notes and mints coins for Sri Lanka?
  Currency notes have been printed by the De La Rue Lanka Currency & Security Print (Pvt) Ltd, Biyagama, Sri Lanka.  
  Coins have been minted by the Royal Mint UK.
   
How do you distinguish between a counterfeit note and a genuine note?
  All the currency notes issued by the CBSL have high security features designed to combat counterfeiting. The CBSL has produced a Guide (a leaflet) to assist to detect and deal with counterfeit currency.  The main security features that can be observed in a currency note are: -
  • Security Thread
  • Watermark
  • See through feature
  • Intaglio (Raised) printing
  • Texture of the note
  • Micro lettering
  • Cornerstones- watermark
   
What should I do, if I have received a counterfeit currency note?
  Counterfeit currency notes should not be used as means of payment.  The use of counterfeit notes deliberately for transactions is a serious crime that is punishable by imprisonment and/or payment of a fine. Even the possession of a counterfeit note is an offence.  If a person detects a counterfeit note, he/she should refuse to accept it.  A person, who has already accepted such a note, should try to remember how he/she might have obtained it and report it to the Police.
   
What is an unfit note?
  A genuine note that has become worn out, badly soiled, disfigured with writings, sustained minor damage in circulation or willfully mutilated, can be considered as unfit note.
There are two kinds of unfit notes: -
Unserviceable Notes and Damaged/Mutilated Notes
“Unserviceable Note”
currency notes that have become dirty, worn out/badly soiled while in circulation but not mutilated.
“Mutilated Note”
Note which has been reduced in it’s original size due to wear and tear, damaged, defaced, burnt, decomposed, shredded, torn, and where security features, date on note, serial number and signature are tampered with, willfully or by accident or by various natural disasters is categorized as a damaged/mutilated note.
   
What do I do, if I receive an unserviceable /mutilated currency note?
  An unfit currency note (burnt, decomposed, portions missing’ shredded or disfigured etc.) can be redeemed at the CBSL.  The unfit currency note or the remains of the note should be pasted on a paper, equal to the original size of relevant denomination and sent by Registered Post to the CBSL at the following address for assessment and possible redemption.
Superintendent of Currency
Department of Currency,
Central Bank of Sri Lanka,
Janadhipathi Mawatha
Colombo 1.

In addition, you can personally tender the unfit notes to the CBSL Head office counter section between 9.00 a.m. – 12.30 p.m. Monday to Friday except holidays to:
Counter Section,
Level 4, 5th Tower,
Head office Building,
Central Bank of Sri Lanka,
Janadhipathi Mawatha
Colombo 1.
   
Can I redeem unfit currency notes through Commercial Banks?
  No. However, the Commercial Bank can accept mutilated/unserviceable currency notes for redemption or deposit and subsequently they can submit these notes to the Central Bank for examination/determination of their redemption value.
   
Are unfit currency notes worth the full face value?
  Yes. If the Unfit currency note consists of more than ¾ with two digits or more of the serial number with the serial prefix, the note is worth its full value. If the note is more than ½ but less than ¾ with a complete serial number, it is worth half its value.  However, determining the value of the currency note is at the discretion of the officer authorizing payment at Central Bank. 
   
What does the CBSL do with unfit and mutilated currency notes?
  The CBSL withdraws the unfit currency notes from circulation and destroys them with shredding machines
   
Are there any regulations related to willful mutilation/defacement of currency notes?
  Yes. In terms of Section no.58 of the Monetary Law Act, any person, who without the authority of the Monetary Board of the CBSL,
  • Cuts, perforates, or in other way whatsoever mutilates any currency notes;
  • Prints, stamps, or draws anything upon any currency note, or affixes any seal or stamp to upon any currency notes;
  • Attaches or affixes to or upon any currency note anything in the nature or form of an advertisement; shall be guilty of an offence.
   
Can I use coins for making jewellery or any other items?
  No. In term of the Monetary Law Act it is an offence to melt, break up, perforate, mutilate, or use otherwise than as legal tender, any coin which is legal tender in Sri Lanka.
   
Can I reproduce a currency note?
  No. According to section 58(d) of the Monetary Law Act reproduction of a currency note in any form such as photocopying, scanning, drawing etc, without the authority of the Monetary Board, is an offence.
   
Who decides and what are the factors considered in designing a currency note?
  The design, production and issue of currency notes are the responsibility of the CBSL.  In deciding on the designs, the CBSL may consult the Government of Sri Lanka and also get suggestions from the general public. As per section 53 of the Monetary Law Act, the characteristics of currency notes have to be approved by the Minister of Finance.
   
From where can I obtain historical information on evolution of Sri Lanka currency?
  The historical information of currency can be collected from the following museums and the publications.
i) The CBSL has established two museums at following places, where the historical information are available for the public
Currency Museum,
Center for Banking Studies,
No. 58, Sri Jayawardenapura Mawatha,
Central Bank of Sri Lanka,
Rajagiriya.

Money Museum,
Regional Office,
Central Bank of Sri Lanka,
Stage I,
Anuradhapura.

In addition to the above anybody can gather information from:
www.museum.gov.lk

National Museum,
Department of National Museum
Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha
Colombo 7

ii) The following Publications of the CBSL will also help.
1."Sri Lanka Currency in Recent Times" - By Mr. T.M.U. Salley.
2."History of Coins and Currency in Sri Lanka" - By Mr. H.S.de Silva
3.“Hora Nottu Handuna Ganimu” in Sinhala Language (Detection of Counterfeit Notes)
          By Mr. Yasapala Perera
(The above no.3 publication is available for sale at Communications Department of the CBSL)
 “Mudale Ithihasaya saha Sri Lanka Samaru Kasi” in Sinhala Language
(History of coins and currency and commemorative Coins of Sri Lanka)
This publication is available at currency museums of the CBSL.
Other brochures and leaflets are available at the currency museums of the CBSL
   

Monetary Policy

Who is responsible for the conduct of monetary policy ?
  Monetary policy is the means whereby a central bank attains price stability in the domestic economy by regulating the cost and the availability of money (i.e., interest rate and credit availability).  In Sri Lanka, the authority responsible for the formulation and implementation of monetary policy is the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL).
   
What are the instruments used by the Central Bank to conduct its monetary policy?
  The CBSL possesses a wide range of tools to be used as instruments of monetary policy.  The main ones are the statutory reserve ratio (SRR) on commercial bank deposit liabilities,  Bank rate, open market operations (OMO),  refinance facilities, quantitative restrictions on credit, ceilings on interest rates and moral suasion. The CBSL has the freedom to choose appropriate instruments for meeting particular situations as demanded by the existing economic conditions and prevailing situation in the financial market.  By using the monetary policy tools at its disposal the CBSL has the ability to influence the rate of monetary expansion, thereby promoting price stability in the economy.  These policy instruments are expected to provide the desired results by influencing the cost and availability of money.  At present, open market operations and statutory reserves are the major policy instruments used by the CBSL, as in the last decade or two the Bank has opted out of using policy instruments such as quantitative ceilings and refinance facilities.
   
What is the Bank rate? 
  Bank rate is the rate at which the Central Bank provides credit to commercial banks as the lender of last resort, against specified securities, to meet their liquidity requirements. 
   
What are Open Market Operations ? 
  Open Market Operations (OMO) are the market based monetary operations conducted by the Central Bank using acceptable securities to control market liquidity. OMO involves action taken by the Central Bank to increase or siphon-off liquidity to be in line with the Bank’s monetary programme.  The Bank can use two types of securities for this purpose.
 
- government or government guaranteed securities
- Central Bank’s own securities.
   
What is SLIBOR ? 
  The acronym SLIBOR stands for Sri Lanka Inter Bank Offered Rate. SLIBOR is an average of interest rates quoted by selected commercial banks at which they are willing to offer funds for different maturities in the call money market. Based on these quotes, SLIBOR for one day, seven days, one month, 3 months, 6 months and 12 months maturities are computed and published daily  by the Central Bank
   
What is Exchange Rate ?
  Exchange rate is the price of one currency (eg the US dollar ) in terms of another currency (eg the Sri Lankan Rupee). Exchange rates can be quoted directly or indirectly. Most countries use the direct method. With this method, the exchange rate shows how much of local currency has to be exchanged for one unit of the foreign currency. For example, if one has to pay Rs. 100 to obtain one US dollar, the direct quotation is $1=Rs. 100. With the indirect method, the exchange rate is expressed as the amount of foreign currency that is required to purchase one unit of the domestic currency. In the above example, the indirect quotation is thus Re.1=$0.01

Financial Stability

What is financial system stability?
  Financial system stability can be defined as the ability of the financial system to perform its key functions such as the allocation of resources from savers to investors, spreading risks and settling payments, efficiently, at all times, including in the event of adverse shocks and stress situations.  A stable financial system is one in which the financial institutions and markets and the payments system are functioning effectively and there is an absence of banking, currency, payments and settlements crises.
   
Why is the maintenance of financial system stability an objective of the Central Bank?
  A stable financial system is necessary, on the one hand, for the effective  transmission of monetary policy and the smooth operation of the payments system.  Financial instability, on the other hand, is expensive in terms of output losses and fiscal costs and will erode public confidence in the financial system.
   
How does the Central Bank maintain financial system stability?
  The Central Bank discharges its responsibility by establishing the required legal framework, regulating and supervising key financial markets, overseeing the payments and settlements system, acting as lender of last resort and by the surveillance of the entire financial system.
   

Government Debt Securities

What are the available debt securities issued by the government of Sri Lanka for
  foreign investors?
  Two types of debt securities issued by the Government of Sri Lanka are available for foreign investors namely;
 
  Sri Lanka Development Bonds
  Local Treasury Bonds >>
   
Who are entitled to invest in the bonds called Nation Building Bonds >> issued by
  the Government of Sri Lanka and what are the major characteristics of such bonds?
  If you  are a Sri Lankan
 
- Who has taken up foreign country citizenship
- With  a permanent residence overseas
- Working overseas or has set up business overseas
- With dual citizenship
- Professional living in Sri Lanka or overseas who is earning
- income in foreign currency
   
What are the marketable debt instruments issued by the Government of Sri Lanka for
  local investors?
  Treasury bills and  Treasury bonds are the marketable debt instruments available for local investors.
   
How can local and foreign investors obtain the market details on debt securities issued
  by the government of Sri Lanka?
  Market details can be obtained from newspapers and this website.

Bank Communication

How do I purchase publications released by the CBSL?
  Central Bank publications can be purchased from
 
- Leading bookshops in the country.
- Provincial Offices in Matale, Anuradhapura, Matara, Jaffna and Trincomalee
  Overseas customers should make payment in dollars by a cheque/ draft payable in New York and sent to The Director, Communications Department, P O Box 590, Colombo 01,
Sri Lanka.

Sales Information >>
   
How do I subscribe to Satahana/News Survey/ Monthly Bulletin?
  Readers can subscribe to these publications ( For one year or half a year )  by paying the subscription payment by cheque / money order/ draft in favour of Director Communications, Central Bank of Sri Lanka.
Subcribtions >>
   
How do I renew my Satahana/News Survey/Bulletin subscription ?
  The subscriber can renew his/her subscription at the end of the term by paying the due amount for the desired period.
   
Where can I find a listing of all CBSL publications ?
  The list of Central Bank’s publications is published in this website. The same is printed on the back cover page of the Monthly Bulletin.
Price List >>
   
Does the CBSL give presentations to senior school students and teacher groups ?
  Yes. Under its educational programmes, the Communications Department arranges for Lectures / Workshops / Seminars. If you wish to have such a presentation in your school, you can make a written request to the Director, Communications. Subject to the availability of resource person(s), the Communications Department will oblige your request.
   
Opening hours of the Currency Museum?
  The Currency Museum is open to the public from 8.30 a.m to 3.30 p.m. on week days except for public and bank holidays.
   
Public Awareness Programmes
  The Central Bank, under its public awareness campaigns, takes part in educational and trade exhibitions organised by various ministries. The Currency Museum, EPF inquiries, exhibits on development projects conducted by the Regional Development Department of the Central Bank and a publication sales outlet are the main attractions at the CBSL stall.
 
The Communications Department also produces video documentaries to educate students on functions and responsibilities of the Central Bank and the public on various development activities and services rendered by the Bank.
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