The Exim Bank has hit the international debt market with a dollar-money issue of at least USD 500 million as part of its USD 10-billion medium-term note programme, according to merchant bankers. The bank has so far drawn over USD 6 billion out of its USD 10-billion medium-term notes programme. The move comes amidst rising interest rates in the US and ahead of the new financial year back home, when demand for exim loans normally spikes. “The Exim Bank is in the market with a benchmark issue. It is planning to draw more than USD 500 million, in a 10-year dollar bond sale, depending on the demand scenario,” the banker told PTI here today. He expects a good pricing for the issue as it has the sovereign guarantee. Normally, Exim Bank’s overseas bonds get a fine pricing as it is wholly-owned by the government and its creditworthiness is aligned to the sovereign.
But he said the pricing for the Reg S/144A issue is not availbale as the US market is yet to open. In a Reg S issue, resident investors from the US are not allowed to participate while in a Reg S/144A issue they can. In July 2016 when the Exim Bank raised USD 1 billion, it had offered a coupon of 3.375 per cent and was priced at 187.50 bps over the 10-year US Treasury yeilds. Last August, its most recent dollar issue, a Formosa bond, was priced at 100 bps over the three-month dollar Libor to raise USD 400 million. A Formosa bond is issued in Taiwan but denominated in a currency other than the Taiwanese dollar. It can be noted that the price for Indian debt has come down since Moody’s upward revision of the country’s sovereign ratings by a notch in over a decade to Baa2 with a positive outlook. The Exim Bank’s Reg S/144A will be drawn down from its Mumbai heaquarters, and will be listed on both the London Stock Exchange International Securities Market as well as the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading, the i-banker added.
Global rating agency Moody’s has assigned a Baa2 rating to the senior unsecured notes issue with a stable rating outlook. “The rating incorporates the bank’s baseline credit assessment of Ba3 and our assessment of a very high dependence on, and the very high government-backed probability of support from, government,” Moody’s said in a note issued from Singapore. Rival agency Fitch Ratings also rated the issue at BBB-, which is equated with the Indian sovereign’s rating. According to markets data collated by Bloomberg, dollar-denominated bond sales from the country soared almost 90 per cent to an all-time high of USD 15.2 billion in 2017.
It is expected to rise further this year as the US Fed keeps its word on normalizing interest rates in the world’s largest economy. Since Moody’s raised the sovereign ratings last November, there has been a spike in demand for quality Indian paper. And the response to issues since vouch for this. ICICI Bank had mopped up USD 500 million in a 10-year bond issued in December, which got oversubscribed at over USD 850 million, while Reliance Industries’ USD 800 million offering in November was oversubscribed more than 1.6x.