SALES of the five-year retail Treasury bonds (RTBs) reached a record high one week into the offer period, amid robust demand for government securities.

National Treasurer Rosalia V. de Leon said the amount raised via the RTBs so far has already exceeded the record P310 billion raised from the three-year RTBs last February.

“Record high na,” she told reporters on Wednesday evening via Viber, without disclosing the exact figure.

The government has awarded an initial P192.71 billion in five-year RTBs during the rate-setting auction last week. The P250-billion mark was breached just four days into the offer period.

The public offer period is set to run until Aug. 7, unless closed earlier by the Treasury.

Asked if the BTr is planning to shorten the offer period, Ms. De Leon said: “We need time for OFs (overseas Filipinos) and also to get people on board with”

Ms. De Leon said the Treasury bureau is still continuing with its virtual road shows, with the briefing for the Caribbean held on Wednesday and those for Japan and New York City to be held on Friday.

The government is selling five-year RTBs in denominations of P5,000, with a coupon of 2.625%, through agent banks and various online channels.

A bond trader said strong demand for government securities, such as retail bonds, prevails despite low rates as investors look for safe havens amid the pandemic.

“We come to a point where net users (demand for money) have gone down as evidenced by reports of companies cutting capital expenditures this year. In effect, the lack of demand forces money to flow into investment outlets that will preserve their principal,” the trader said via Viber.

RTBs target small investors because these are deemed as low-risk assets with relatively high returns.

The Treasury also opened an exchange offer program for holders of the RTB 10-01, FXTN 05-73, RTB 10-02 and FXTN 07-57 who want to swap their old bonds for the new retail bonds. The total amount of bonds eligible for swap is about P321 billion.

The retail bonds will be issued on Aug. 12 and will mature on Aug. 12, 2025. The papers will be listed on the Philippine Dealing and Exchange Corp.

State-run lenders Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) are the joint lead issue managers for the transaction.

The joint issue managers are LANDBANK, DBP, BDO Capital & Investment Corp., BPI Capital Corp., China Bank Capital Corp., First Metro Investment Corp., PNB Capital and Investment Corp., RCBC Capital Corp., SB Capital Corp. and UnionBank of the Philippines, Inc. — Beatrice M. Laforga