DBS riding on rapid growth of offshore yuan bond market

The offshore yuan bond market is likely to remain buoyant this year, according to Singapore lender DBS. -- ST FILE PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
The offshore yuan bond market is likely to remain buoyant this year, according to Singapore lender DBS. -- ST FILE PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

The offshore yuan bond market is likely to remain buoyant this year, according to Singapore lender DBS.

In general, demand among foreign investors for corporate bonds denominated in the Chinese currency, also known as the renminbi (RMB), still outstrips supply, said DBS' head of fixed income Clifford Lee in a briefing on Wednesday.

And Chinese companies, facing a cash crunch at home and aided by a relaxation of rules, are more likely to consider issuance of such bonds this year, he added.

Since the Chinese government began its strategy of internationalising the yuan 10 years ago, many companies, mostly from Hong Kong and Chinese, have been raising debt outside their home market by issuing what are known as offshore yuan bonds.

The repatriation of funds they raised from these offshore bonds to China is still regulated, but can be used to pay for goods and services they buy in other markets, or to finance debt overseas.

Last year, issuances of these offshore yuan bonds around the world totalled a record 263 billion yuan (S$54.2 billion), said Mr Lee.

Already in the first two months of this year, some 107 billion yuan worth of offshore yuan bonds have been issued. By the end of this year, Mr Lee expects that number to top 300 billion yuan.

DBS has been surfing on the growth of this market over the past few years. In 2012, it was ranked 20th in terms of number and value of yuan bonds that it had helped to underwrite.

But today it has the third-largest market share, behind Standard Chartered and HSBC.

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