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"Ridiculous": $1 Trillion In Orders For $7 Billion Chinese Bond
11-13-2019, 03:54 PM,
"Ridiculous": $1 Trillion In Orders For $7 Billion Chinese Bond
"Ridiculous": $1 Trillion In Orders For $7 Billion Chinese Bond

In recent years, hardened bond market cynics snickered when insolvent European nations such as Italy or Greece saw 4, 5, or more times demand for their bond offerings than was for sale, whispering to themselves that such oversubscriptions for potentially worthless debt assure a very unhappy ending. Yet not even the biggest cynics were prepared for what just happened in China.When Shanghai Pudong Development Bank sold $7 billion in convertible bonds last month, investors placed more than $1 trillion worth of orders, making this a 140 times oversubscribed offering, enough to shock even the most seasoned China investor, the FT reports.That $1 trillion in bids was almost as large as the entire stock-market capitalisation of Apple or Microsoft — the two biggest companies in the world. "It was a ridiculous amount," said Gerry Alfonso, head of research at Shenwan Hongyuan Securities in Shanghai. It is also a testament to how desperate the world has become in chasing yields and return, as well as just how much excess liquidity there is in the market at the momentWhile new issue oversubscriptions have become the norm in recent years, this absurd case had several Chinese market unique characteristics, reflecting a surge in issuance of such equity-linked instruments in China — a rise helped by what the FT called "an unusual embrace of the product by policymakers better known for cracking down on financial innovations to ensure stability."So far this year, Chinese companies have issued a record $40bn in convertible bonds, up more than 80 per cent from the full-year total in 2018, according to Dealogic.It now appears that converts have become the latest Chinese bubble due to their hybrid characteristics: while they carry a (lower) coupon payment they also offer investors the right to switch them for equity if a company’s shares rise to a certain price. For companies, convertibles offer a way to raise money more cheaply than by issuing regular debt and do not immediately dilute shareholders’ equity.Ronald Wan, chief executive at Partners Capital in Hong Kong, said Chinese convertibles had become more attractive to investors thanks to this year’s stock rally, while the government was promoting the instruments as a way to rein in financing done off-balance sheet, or through a fragile shadow banking sector. Naturally, Wan cautioned that convertibles’ performance "depends on the quality of the issuer", with investors typically prefering large banks and big blue-chip companies over small and mid-sized issuers, especially in a time when China's smaller banks are either hit by bank runs or outright getting bailed out.Shenwan's Alfonso meanwhile warned that while large issuers such as Shanghai Pudong have seen ample liquidity in their convertibles after listing, investors in smaller issuers faced the prospect of taking heavy losses in the event of a sell-off."The liquidity is bad but there is liquidity,” he said. “The thing is, the price you’re going to get there is pretty horrendous."That, however, is not preventing every investor scrambling to be allocated a piece of the original bond in hopes of an early pop which can then be sold.Read the entire article

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