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BANKING

Asian market round up: Korea reopens Asian markets

In two deals in as many days, Korean firms reopened Asia’s capital-raising markets. International issuance thus far this year has generally been limited to triple-A rated banks and financial institutions but deals from steelmaker Posco and SK Telecom reopened the straight debt and convertible bond markets respectively. SK was first out on March 19 with a $300 million convertible bond that caused something of a stir in the market for the way in which lead bookrunner Nomura behaved – see the separate story for full details. Posco followed on March 20 with a $700 million five-year bond that was the first dollar deal for an Asian company in eight months. Posco had initially marketed the deal with a guidance yield of 9.5% but in a piece of good fortune for the issuer an announcement by the US Federal Reserve that it would buy back some $300 billion in treasuries triggered a recovery in global bond prices that let Posco’s deal price at 8.95%.