China leadership

Dim sum bond sales drop amid uncertainty from leadership change

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 November, 2012, 5:30am


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Beijing's once-a-decade leadership change has cut dim sum debt issuance to a five-month low, as uncertainty about the new regime's monetary policy counters the cheapest borrowing costs since April.

Sales of yuan-denominated bonds in Hong Kong slumped 38 per cent from September to 4.14 billion yuan (HK$5.10 billion), the least since May.

Average yields fell to 4.76 per cent last week, down 13 basis points in October and the lowest in six months, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch indexes. Companies globally pay an average 2.66 per cent to sell dollar debt, the indexes show.

As Communist Party cadres meet from Thursday to appoint the country's next generation of leaders, issuers are pausing to evaluate the new leadership's monetary policy after two interest rate cuts earlier this year.

Premier Wen Jiabao said last month the economy would keep showing "positive changes" after growing 2.2 per cent in the third quarter from the previous period, the most in a year. His likely successor Li Keqiang has yet to signal his policy bias.

"Issuers will likely wait for everything to settle down after the leadership transition before looking at debt sales," according to Paula Chan, managing director in the fixed-income team at Manulife Asset Management in Hong Kong.

"The market seems to be pricing in no cuts to interest rates or the reserve-requirement ratio but that's to be affirmed."

Top-rated companies paid an average 14 basis points less on three-year debt in June on the day after the central bank announced the first interest-rate reduction in more than three years, according to Chinabond indexes. That was the biggest daily slide in six months, the indexes show.