The central government will study a long-term mechanism for non-renminbi sovereign bond issues as an important step to further internationalize the domestic capital market, said Shi Yaobin, vice-minister of finance, during a media briefing on Oct 27 in Hong Kong.
His words came after China’s sovereign dollar bond received an overwhelming welcome in the city, with demand for the sovereign notes climbing to 11 times the offering size and pricing coming in under initial guidance.
It is the first time in the past 13 years that the Chinese central government has issued US dollar-denominated sovereign bonds.
Shi said the issuance of sovereign dollar bonds is an important initiative to internationalize the country’s financial system as the country enters a new era after the conclusion of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. At the same time, it sets up a pricing benchmark for Chinese companies’ foreign currency-denominated bonds, Shi added. “We will prudently study the arrangement of issuing any following non-RMB sovereign bonds” as the next step, Shi said. “Regardless of whether we continue to issue non-RMB sovereign bonds or not in the short term, we will stand firm to boost two-way opening of the capital market, exploring a long-term mechanism for non-renminbi bonds’ issue.”
The vice-minister said the government received orders of more than $10 billion in the first hour after the subscription began, while total subscription amounted to $22 billion－11 times the $2 billion offering size. “Although we didn’t seek third-party rating on the dollar bond issue, the bonds’ yield level is close to AAA-rated sovereigns like Sweden and Germany,” Shi added.
At a ceremony on Oct 27 celebrating the issuance of the US dollar sovereign bonds, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, said the issuance will further promote capital flow between the Chinese mainland and international markets, encouraging the internationalization of renminbi in the long run. It also will diversify bond products in the Hong Kong market and reflect the central government’s consistent support of Hong Kong as an international financial center, she said.