"It is extremely important to issue into a market that wants your securities," said Gumersindo Oliveros, director, treasury finance department at the World Bank. "That is why we do not have a programme."
Louise Herrle, Freddie Mac's treasurer, pointed out that although the agency has no flexibility over the timing of issues in its dollar programme, it is able to vary the size of issuance.
In euros, Freddie Mac is committed to quarterly issues of Eu5bn, but has flexibility over timing. "We probably look more closely at primary issuance," she said, "and try to find a timeframe where there is limited government supply."
Frank Czichowski, KfW's first vice president and head of capital markets, emphasised issue size. "Particularly in our part of the market," he said, "the size of an issue plays a very important role in the liquidity of that issue. In the euro market, Eu5bn is clearly the benchmark size. Size is the key design feature, and it makes timing problematic."
The European Investment Bank's director general of finance, René Karsenti, agreed that size was important, but also emphasised regularity of issuance.
Per Åkerlind, executive director and treasurer of Swedish Export Credit (SEK) disagreed. "You do not need big volume for liquidity," he said. "You can backstop your bonds, and issue fungible bonds if the market wants."
Abbey National Treasury Services' director of funding, Alex Braun, emphasised caution in backstopping, pointing out that a borrower could be accused of making a false market in its own securities. Borrowers should avoid being the cheapest or most expensive bidder in the market.
"People know that they can come back and show us blocks of paper," he said, "but we rarely buy."