Bank of Communications' 3 billion yuan (HK$3.43 billion) bond sale has received about 23 billion yuan in orders - the highest subscription since the first yuan bond in Hong Kong last year, sources said. At an subscription level of 7.7 times, each retail buyer is likely to receive at least one board lot, or 10,000 yuan. 'The issuer intends to increase the retail tranche to 1.5 billion yuan [from an initial 1 billion yuan] because of heavy subscription,' a source added. The mainland's fifth-largest lender began selling its two-year yuan bond last week, which bears an annual interest rate of 3.25 per cent. The sale was closed yesterday. The retail tranche of the bonds drew subscriptions of about 13 billion yuan and attracted orders from about 90,000 retail buyers, also a record. The 1.5 billion yuan institutional tranche received about 10 billion yuan in subscriptions. Ronald Wan, managing director of Bocom International, joint lead manager of the bond, declined to confirm the figures, saying only that 'strong demand for a yuan bond shows that it will become a mainstream product in the future'. Another source said Export-Import Bank of China would float a 3 billion yuan bond next month after Bank of Communications' issue. Bankers said the bond's good reception by investors had been expected, as the yield was more attractive than yuan deposit rates, which stand at 0.7 per cent to 0.8 per cent. There is almost no return from putting Hong Kong dollars in savings accounts. 'Given expectations that the yuan will continue to appreciate - even though at a slower pace - returns could be higher,' an analyst said. The issue was Bank of Communications' first in the city this year and the fourth since June last year. China Development Bank, Export-Import Bank and Bank of China launched a total of 10 billion yuan in bonds in Hong Kong last year. The three banks, as well as China Construction Bank, plan to issue yuan bonds in Hong Kong this year.