Tuesday, November 25, 2014


[IWS] ADB: ASIA BOND MONITOR--NOVEMBER 2014 [25 November 2014]

IWS Documented News Service


Institute for Workplace Studies-----------------Professor Samuel B. Bacharach

School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies

Cornell University

16 East 34th Street, 4th floor--------------------Stuart Basefsky

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Asian Development Bank (ADB)


ASIA BOND MONITOR--NOVEMBER 2014 [25 November 2014]




[full-text, 94 pages]


Press Release 25 November 2014

Emerging East Asia’s Bond Markets Resilient But Risks Are Rising



SEOUL, REPUBLIC OF KOREA — Emerging East Asia’s local currency bond markets are resilient but a faster-than-expected US interest rate hike and a stronger dollar could pose problems, says the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) latest Asia Bond Monitor.


“Higher US rates and a stronger dollar could prove to be a challenge given increased foreign holdings of Asia’s bonds, which could easily reverse, and record US dollar bond issuance by the region’s companies,” said Iwan J. Azis, head of ADB’s Office of Regional Economic Integration.


US dollar debt becomes more expensive to service in local currency terms when the dollar appreciates.


The quarterly report notes other challenges from tightening liquidity in the region’s corporate bond markets as Basel III requirements deter banks from holding large bond inventories, and a weaker property market in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), given many property developers there are highly indebted.


Markets are currently anticipating that the US Federal Reserve will increase interest rates in June 2015 but recent economic data suggest the economy is improving faster than anticipated. The US dollar, meanwhile, has appreciated against most emerging East Asian currencies recently, and monetary tightening would likely see it rise further. The Korean won has depreciated the most, falling 5.7% versus the US dollar between 1 July and 31 October.


Foreign holdings remained stable in most of emerging East Asia in the third quarter of the year although they ticked up in Malaysia and hit record highs in Indonesia. At the end of June, the share of foreign investment in Malaysia’s government bonds was 32.0% versus 30.8% at the end of March. In Indonesia, foreign investors held 37.3% of outstanding sovereign bonds at the end of September, up from 35.7% at the end of June.


Meanwhile, borrowers from emerging East Asia sold $143.5 billion in US dollar, euro, or yen-denominated bonds in the first nine months of 2014, a new annual record and surpassing the $141.5 billion issued in the whole of 2013. The PRC is the largest issuer so far, selling $65.9 billion – or 46% of the total – followed by the Republic of Korea which sold $26.3 billion, led by financial institutions.


Despite the risks, emerging East Asia’s local currency bond markets continue to expand. By 30 September, there were $8.2 trillion in such bonds outstanding, 3.1% higher than at the end of June and 11.3% more than a year earlier. The fastest-growing markets on a quarterly basis were Singapore, the PRC, and Indonesia.


Korea has $1.7 trillion in local currency bonds outstanding at the end of September, the third largest market in Asia after Japan and the PRC. It has grown 2.4% since the end of June, due mainly to an increase in Treasury bond sales, central bank bonds and industrial bank debentures, and 8.4% on year. Net foreign investment in the Korean market turned positive in September, with KRW0.5 trillion in inflows after net outflows of KRW0.1 trillion in August.


An annual liquidity survey of the region’s local currency bond markets showed that liquidity conditions have improved in 2014 compared with 2013, although liquidity in government bonds far outpaces that of corporate bonds. Bid-ask spreads, which tend to be narrower in liquid markets, were lowest in Korea, followed by Malaysia and Thailand.


Respondents to the survey said key constraints to market liquidity are still a narrow investor base, foreign exchange regulations, tax treatment, the lack of instruments for hedging and for transaction funding, and low transparency.


ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2013, ADB assistance totaled $21.0 billion, including cofinancing of $6.6 billion.



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