Thin spreads mark PH bond sales

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Following the exhibited fruition on offshore bond issuances by the country, investor confidence from the international business community proved to be solid in the Philippines’ growth story under the Duterte administration.

This was learned from the Department of Finance (DoF) on Wednesday as Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said that the tight spreads of these bond issuances such as the $2 billion 10-year global bonds in January 2018 signify the government’s sound fiscal management.

Dominguez also noted on the recorded 35 basis points over the benchmark on the RMB 1.46 billion three-year panda bonds floated on March last year while the yen-denominated samurai bond market averaged 34.7 basis point spread above benchmark after an eight-year hiatus.

With the positive and overwhelming market responses in both samurai and panda bonds, the Finance chief hinted the possibility of establishing a regular presence to these issuances every 12 to 18 months.

Moreover, the cabinet secretary also ordered National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon to move their bond issuances ahead of schedule amid global uncertainties driven by the Fed’s decision to sustain its rate hikes.

“Because of all the announcements and all the uncertainties that are going to start hitting more, impacting the market more, (it’s) better to bring the issuance forward earlier,” Dominguez said.

He then reiterated their policy of not veering away from any major markets for a prolonged period as participating in these will help diversify the government’s borrowing portfolio as it continue its massive “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program.

In addition, the China Lianhe Credit Rating Co. Ltd. gave the country a favorable AAA rating when it became the first country in the region to issue panda bonds that contributed in boosting investors’ interest as well as lowering the bonds’ yield.

According to the rating agency, the government’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda which include the first tranche of the ongoing comprehensive tax reform will help the Philippines achieve a quicker and equitable economic growth in the succeeding years.

In addition, the Duterte administration’s stable source of payment coming from the increasing revenues further contributed to this positive credit rating assessment.

With overwhelming demand on the panda bond market, the country set a record of 90 percent offshore buyers that pushed the coupon rate to a record-low of five percent.

The International Financing Review (IFR) Asia report said that the Philippines’ tight spread on the panda bond issuance posted a good ranking with only South Korea surpassing the country by only five to six notches.

The IFR also noted that the Philippines’ offering was the largest oversubscription of any sovereign panda bond to date.

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