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Offshore renminbi IRS curve comes into view

05 Jan 2012

The three Hong Kong note issuing banks have begun providing offshore renminbi (CNH) HIBOR fixing rates, taking the market one step closer to a functioning CNH interest rate swap curve.

On the third January, HSBC, Standard Chartered, and Bank of China (Hong Kong) began providing CNH HIBOR fixing rates via the TMA (Treasury Markets Association – an association in Hong Kong) platform. The note issuing banks have agreed to report their rates in the tenors ranging from overnight to one year.

Without a true CNH HIBOR fixing rate it is nigh on impossible to produce a reliable CNH interest rate swap curve, useful for effective hedging against dim sum bond exposure. At present offshore deliverable IRS is referenced against an onshore renminbi rate, not a perfect rate match.

Cross currency swaps have been used as another form of hedging, although this can be very expensive.

Frances Cheung,  Asian ex-Japan strategist for Credit Agricole CIB, wrote in a research note on January 4, “Prior to this exercise, a number of banks have already been providing their own CNH HIBOR through various channels. The collection of quotes via the TMA platform is seen as a small step towards a CNH HIBOR fixing, and thereafter the development of a true CNH IRS market in the future."

A key requirement to having an effective CNH HIBOR is secondary market liquidity in deposits. CNH levels have been thin in absolute terms and most of the activity focuses in on overnight to 1 week tenors, wrote Cheung.

05 Jan 2012