DAYS after the government raised €750 million ($842.33 million) in eight-year euro-denominated bonds, the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) said the planned yuan-denominated “panda” bonds could be issued within the week, even as the government monitors market conditions abroad.
“As the [National] Treasurer [Rosalia V. De Leon] has mentioned, we may go ahead this week if there’s an opportunity. But we’re still looking at the market,” Deputy Treasurer Erwin D. Sta. Ana told reporters on Tuesday. “There’s no pressure for us, but rather we’re looking for that sweet spot.”
The government plans to issue 2.5 billion yuan ($363.63 million) in panda bonds “most likely in May,” its second such offer. Ms. De Leon had said early in April that those notes could be sold with three- or five-year tenors, but Mr. Sta. Ana said yesterday they will have “just one tenor” even as he declined to elaborate.
Last week, Ms. De Leon said the Treasury had already secured approvals from the People’s Bank of China as well as National Association of Financial Market Institutional Investors, and that it was just waiting for “the right market conditions before selling.”
“We are in the middle of retaliatory action between the US and China,” Mr. Sta. Ana said, referring to the latest trade war escalation that saw the United States last Friday raising tariff rates to 25% from 10% previously on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods and Beijing saying it would take “necessary countermeasures”.
“We will closely monitor what’s happening as it affects the Chinese interbank market,” he added. “We’ll see how the benchmark moves in the next couple of hours or days.”
The planned yuan-denominated debt sale would be bigger than 1.46-billion renminbi ($230 million) bonds sold by the government in March last year that marking its first foray into China’s capital market. The three-year papers fetched a five percent coupon.
Tuesday’s update on planned “panda” bond sale comes days after the government returned to the European market in more than a decade, raising €750 million in eight-year global bonds with coupon of 0.875% and priced 70 basis points over benchmark.
The Philippines, one of Asia’s most active sovereign bond issuers, plans to borrow P1.189 trillion this year, 75% of which will be sourced domestically while the balance will be from foreign creditors.
This will be used to fund a budget deficit programmed at P624.4 billion, equivalent to 3.2% of gross domestic product, and support increased government spending programmed at P3.774 trillion.
In January, the Philippines sold $1.5 billion in 10-year offshore dollar bonds.
The government is also looking at offering “samurai” bonds amounting to $1-1.5 billion in yen equivalent some time next semester, as well as another round of offshore dollar bonds. — Karl Angelo N. Vidal