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Opinion

Renminbi-denominated bonds: Hong Kong licks its lips for dim sum pun fun

There has always been something rather tacky about the financial market’s habit of naming bond markets for borrowers issuing in a foreign country by picking the most stereotypical associations. Thus bonds marketed by foreign issuers in Japanese yen are samurais, Australian dollar bonds are kangaroos and so on. Euromoney reckons that the names evoke a less than progressive attitude towards the internationalization of markets.

So it is with a groan that we hear news that the market appears to be settling on dim sum as the name for the new Hong Kong market in renminbi-denominated bonds. The name’s misleading – for a start the local currency is the Hong Kong dollar, so following the established naming system is inaccurate since the bonds are not denominated in the home currency, as with yankees, samurais and their like. Secondly, it will no doubt lead to a glut – or should we say banquet – of food-related puns: investors will no doubt soon "devour" the dim sum bonds that will be "on the menu" as the market "feasts" on new issuance. Thirdly, it sounds slightly patronizing. All is not lost: some market participants are trying to promote alternatives, with the more dignified but also less specifically Hong Kong-associated name "tiger bonds" gaining some traction. Can Euromoney readers offer any suggestions? Just make sure they’re not saucy.

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