The central government signaled its more proactive involvement in the dollar bond market with the issuance of dollar-denominated sovereign bonds in Hong Kong for a second year in a row.
The Ministry of Finance said at an investor roadshow in Hong Kong on Oct 9 that it would issue a total of $3 billion in dollar-denominated government debt in the coming days.
Details of the maturity and exact timing of the offer would be published ahead of the issuance.
The planned issuance comes right after a $2 billion offering of US dollar bonds in Hong Kong last October — the first such sale since the central government sold foreign currency bonds in 2004.
“This year, the bond sale comes at a delicate time when escalating Sino-US trade tensions have cast a shadow over the global economic outlook and the US Federal Reserve interest rate hike sent jitters across the global bond market and eventually hit treasury prices,” Wang Yi, director-general of the finance department at the ministry, said in Hong Kong on Oct 9.
“It will test investor confidence in the economic prospects and financial muscle of the world’s second-largest economy, and the nation’s long-cherished role as the ‘stability anchor’ and driving force of global economic growth,” Wang said.
Last year, global investors scrambled to get a piece of the rare offering amid overwhelming demand that was 11 times oversubscribed and proved to be one of the most eagerly anticipated in Asia.
This year, Wang said he hoped the debt sale would be a major milestone for a developing economy such as China.
Wang said the central government will study follow-up plans for offshore sovereign debt sales on a regular basis, in a bid to set a funding benchmark for the nation’s corporations, which are among Asia’s most active issuers in the offshore bond market.
Over the past decade, the ministry has sold yuan-denominated treasury bonds in Hong Kong on an annual basis. In 2018, treasury bonds were issued in Hong Kong in two separate tranches of 5 billion yuan ($722 million) each. The first was issued on July 5, and the second batch will be issued this week.
As Chinese companies are looking to increase greenback bond offerings, the government will also consider visiting the dollar market more often, Wang noted.
“The bond sale demonstrates the central government’s unswerving support for reinforcing Hong Kong’s status as an international financial center. It is also conducive to the development of local bond market,” said Paul Chan Mo-po, financial secretary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government.
The sovereign bonds will be listed and traded at the Hong Kong stock exchange after the official launch.