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Philippines launches 10-year US dollar bonds

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Rosalia V. de Leon
National Treasurer Rosalia V. de Leon confirmed the government's first sale of debt to foreign investors this year.

THE PHILIPPINES launched a 10-year US dollar bond issue on Monday, making it the first country in Asia to tap the global debt market this year, according to capital markets publication Refinitiv IFR.

Marketing for the US dollar notes began on Monday and the deal was given an initial guidance of Treasuries plus 130 basis points, Refinitiv IFR said.

Asked about the offering, Philippine National Treasurer Rosalia V. de Leon said the government has issued the announcement but declined to say more.

S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings on Monday said they have assigned a long-term foreign currency rating of “BBB”, while Moody’s Investors Service gave a “Baa2” grade — all a notch above minimum investment grade — to the benchmark-sized US dollar-denominated senior unsecured notes.

The Philippines, one of Asia’s most active sovereign bond issuers, is raising funds to help finance its budget this year. Its Congress has yet to approve the Executive’s proposed P3.757-trillion ($71.8 billion) 2019 budget, as President Rodrigo R. Duterte increases infrastructure spending.

The government has been given authority by the central bank to issue $500 million to $2 billion of global bonds for 2019.

Bank of China, JP Morgan and Standard Chartered Bank were appointed joint global coordinators, and were joint bookrunners with Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and UBS, Refinitiv-IFR said.

Manila’s borrowing plan includes Samurai and Panda bond offerings this year or in 2020. It is also exploring a maiden sterling bond sale. — Reuters