China to issue sovereign renminbi bond on London stock market

26 May 16

The Chinese finance ministry is to issue the first ever sovereign renminbi bond outside of China on the London stock market.

The ministry announced it would place Rmb3bn ($458m) worth of bonds in London earlier this week, in a move that will test the international demand for Chinese assets following the currency’s rapid depreciation earlier this year.

In a statement celebrating the news issued today, the UK government, which has been working to woo the Asian nation in hopes of securing stronger ties with one of the world’s largest economies, said the issuance reinforces Britain and China’s “ever-strengthening economic and financial relationship”.

London is the second largest foreign exchange trading centre for renminbi, following Hong Kong. Deposits have also built up in Singapore and Frankfurt.

China has been working to internationalise the yuan. In December 2015 the International Monetary Fund announced it would be included in its currency basket, which determines the value of its Special Drawing Rights reserve asset, and earlier this year the fund said the renminbi would be identified in its official foreign reserves database from October.

China’s move to issue offshore bonds is part of this push, and with such volatility in China’s currency this year the world will be watching the issue’s progress closely.

The People’s Bank of China also chose London as the market to issue its first ever debt sale outside of China, with the sale of Rmb5bn ($763m) in Rmb-denominated notes. 

Earlier this year, China also opened up its domestic market to foreign investors.

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