High-quality bonds in short supply, high demand - Shanghai Securities

SHANGHAI, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Local government Chinese bonds issued last Friday by the northern Hebei province were 52.74 times oversubscribed, underscoring huge demand for high-quality debt instruments as Beijing relaxes monetary conditions, the Shanghai Securities News reported.

The 10-year special-purpose bonds issued by Hebei were sold at a coupon rate of 3.51 percent, 40 basis points higher than China’s central government bonds with the same maturity - the minimum spread regulators required to facilitate local government bond sales, the article said.

Local government bonds worth 288.4 billion yuan will be sold this week, following 129.56 billion yuan worth of issuance last week, representing the most intensive period of local government bond offerings in history, according to the newspaper.

China is allowing local governments to issue debt earlier than normal this year, amid a push by Beijing to revive flagging economic growth.

Investors are also chasing other types of high-quality bonds, such as those issued by state-owned enterprises, local government financing vehicles, and private firms with high credit ratings, though low-rated bonds are still being avoided, it said.

A separate article in the China Securities Journal reported that convertible bonds issued recently by Ping An Bank were 1,400 times oversubscribed, with 10.75 trillion yuan worth of institutional money bidding for about 8 billion yuan of the securities on sale.

However, market interest in the first-ever issue of perpetual bonds by a Chinese bank was relatively muted. Bank of China on Friday issued 40 billion worth of perpetual bonds at a 4.5 percent yield. The central bank said the issue had a bid-to-cover ratio of “more than 2.”