THE Export-Import Bank of Korea launched its maiden dragon bond issue yesterday by raising US$200 million in floating rate notes, making it the third South Korean body to tap the Asian market. Commanding a credit rating that equals South Korea's sovereign rating of A1 by Moody's and A+ by Standard and Poor's, the five-year notes have a coupon rate of 30 basis points above LIBOR (London Inter-bank Offered Rate). Both Korea Development Bank and Korea Long Term Credit Bank made their debut in the market earlier this year. This five-year issue was under-written and lead managed by LTCB Asia. Applications will be made to list the notes in Hong Kong and Singapore. It is the twelfth dragon bond issue this year, outnumbering last year's total of 11 dragon bonds. ''Investors are a bit worried about the North Korea problem, but still the issue was fully subscribed because of its good reputation,'' said Atsuhiro Hagihara, executive director of LTCB Asia. German bank Landesbank Rheinland-Pfalz and the Republic of Columbia are also looking to raise funds from this booming market. ''The increasing number of issues points out that the dragon bond market is now recognised by issuers, banks and security houses,'' said Mr Hagihara. The Export-Import Bank of Korea is a governmental financial institution, shouldered with the objective to facilitate the development of the South Korean economy and to enhance economic co-operation with foreign countries.