The week in renminbi: China sets date for oil futures launch, Philippines wins approval for Panda debut, offshore investors hold more Chinese bonds
China unveils plans to kick start RMB-denominated oil futures next month, the Philippines gets regulatory greenlight for its Panda bond issuance, and foreign ownership of bonds in the interbank bond market rises again in January.
- China will launch RMB-denominated oil futures on March 26, according to a February 9 announcement by the China Securities Regulatory Commission. The product will be listed and traded on Shanghai International Energy Exchange, a subsidiary of Shanghai Futures Exchange, said the CSRC. The new product will give China a chance to compete directly with the dollar in the global commodities market.
- The People’s Bank of China has approved the Philippines’ plans to issue $200m worth of Panda bonds, according to a February 12 local media report. The sovereign issuer will tap the market in March, Rosalia de Leon, national treasurer of the Philippines, was quoted as saying.
“Of course, this [the issuance date] is subject to [having a] good window and competitive pricing,” she added.
Bank of China was hired as the sole
bookrunnerand lead underwriter for the Philippines’ debut deal last November, according to a statement published by the bank.
- Offshore investors increased their holdings of Chinese bonds traded in the interbank market in January, according to data by the China Central Depository and Clearing (CCDC) and the Shanghai Clearing House (SHCH).
Foreign investors held Rmb10.4tr ($1.65tr) of onshore bonds at the CCDC, which clears government bonds, as of January 2018, up from Rmb974.1bn in December and up 25.08% year-on-year.
Meanwhile, some Rmb208.6bn of bonds at the SHCH were held by international investors in the month, up from Rmb173.2bn in December 2017.
Negotiablecertificate of deposit (NCD) was the most popular product among offshore investors, with Rmb170.3bn of NCDs held by foreign investors in January.
- Net foreign direct investment (FDI) in onshore financial institutions stood at $1bn in the fourth quarter of 2017, putting the net FDI in these institutions at $3.02bn for the whole of 2017, according to figures published by the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.
- Standard Chartered’s Renminbi Globalisation Index (RGI) fell by 4.7% quarter-on-quarter in the last quarter of 2017, standing at 1,762 points at the end of last year, the bank said in a February 7 report.
Kelvin Lau, senior economist for Greater China at StanChart, blamed the index’s decline on the drop in cross-border payments and FX turnover. But the currency’s recent appreciation, with the RMB up 3.1% in the year so far, has laid the ground for a rebound in RMB internationalisation in 2018, said Lau.
The bank adjusted its forecast for the onshore RMB (CNY) exchange rate from 6.45 against the dollar to 6.18 on February 2.
“The idea is not only to take into account the CNY’s strong start to the
year,but also the authorities’ tolerance for more CNY strength so long as other currencies gain in tandem, all against the backdrop of more broad-based dollar weakness,” said Lau.
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