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Capital Markets

Debt markets: Asian market breaks bond record

In January the Asian debt market reopened with more than $30 billion of bonds sold, breaking a record that has stood for 10 years. The region’s syndicate bankers are confident that more could be on the way as governments look to fund stimulus packages and the region’s top banks seek to raise fresh capital to shore up their balance sheets.

Top of most bankers’ lists for likely borrowers in the near future is Indonesia, which on January 20 announced an increase in the state budget deficit from 1% to 2.5% of GDP. The local press reported finance minister Sri Mulyani as saying that the deficit could be covered by unspent funds from the previous year’s budget. However, several debt bankers confirmed to Euromoney that they had heard strong indications of a bond from Indonesia within the next few months. The country has a good recent track record, having successfully executed two deals in January and June 2008 worth a total of $4 billion, almost a quarter of that raised by all sovereigns in Asia ex-Japan in 2008.

"Asian sovereigns in general have relied on domestic markets over the past few months. However, they are now realizing the extent of the slowdown and it’s taken some of them a little by surprise," says a syndicate banker at one of the region’s top-five debt houses. "So I think there’s a chance sovereigns we’ve not seen for a long time could come back to market in an effort to rebalance their books. Indonesia needs significant funding but I could also see the likes of Malaysia, Thailand, or maybe even Hong Kong being tempted."

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