World Bank enters Chinese bond market with SDR-backed bond

1 Sep 16

The World Bank has launched its Special Drawing Rights-denominated bond programme, marking the first ever publicly issued SDR bond, and the bank’s inaugural issue on the Chinese market.

The oversubscribed bond tranche raised around 500m SDR – the International Monetary Fund’s special reserve asset – or roughly $700m. It is the first of a $2.8bn World Bank SDR-denominated bond programme approved by China earlier this month.

All payments will be made in renminbi, in line with China’s push to internationalise the currency. The programme also supports the G20’s goal – led by China – of revitalising the market for SDR-backed bonds, which has been quiet for around three decades.

“We are honoured to support China in its efforts to internationalise its capital and currency market,” said Arunma Oteh, World Bank vice president and treasurer.

“It is truly a pleasure for the World Bank to be the first to offer investors an opportunity to participate in this innovative investment product that supports sustainable development worldwide.”

The issue comes just before China’s currency is officially included in the basket of currencies on which the SDR is based – another big step forward in China’s efforts to expand use of the yuan worldwide.

China is also working to promote the use of SDR, as this serves to destabilise the dominance of the US dollar.

The country moved to lift restrictions on international investors in its bond market, the third largest in the world, earlier this year.

In another effort to globalise its currency and capital, the country issued its first ever sovereign renminbi bond outside of China in May.

The World Bank’s bond issue should open the door for other institutions, for example the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, to issue SDR bonds, and further increase the use of the yuan.

The World Bank’s issue will pay an annual yield of 0.49% and has a maturity of three years.

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