Pick up close to $500 million worth of bonds; Monday’s auction saw an over-subscription of 1.5 times
Going by purchases in the secondary markets as also the response to auctions, foreign investors are showing a fair bit of interest in Indian debt. While they picked up close to $500 million worth of bonds on Thursday and Friday, Monday’s auction for corporate bonds saw an over-subscription of 1.5 times. While limits for bonds worth Rs 9,475 crore ($1.48billion) were auctioned, the subscriptions totalled around Rs 13,900 crore ($2.18 billion).The cut-off bid at Monday’s auction came in at 1.30 basis points, higher than the 0.2 basis points seen during the previous auction, reflecting keener demand. The highest bid this time rose to 2.25 basis points compared to 1 basis point on January 3 auction while the number of bidders also increased to 61 compared to 49 during the previous auction. Ajay Manglunia, EVP at Edelweiss Securities, pointed out investors may be accumulating investment limits since they will be able to make the purchases even after February 1, the day the government will unveil the Union Budget for 2018-19. Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) are believed to have remained on the sidelines without utilising the acquired limits, acquired in the previous auction on January 8, at which limits for Rs 6666 crore worth of gilts were available. On January 12, the CPI inflation data came in at 5.21%, a 17-month high.
While the CPI data was on expected lines, bonds were sold off on January 16 after Reserve Bank of India (RBI) deputy governor Viral Acharya observed interest rate risk of banks cannot be managed over and over again by the regulator. “Last time, the validity on a good chunk of the limits lapsed since FPIs stayed away from the market ahead of CPI data release and due to the sell-off following that. The cost of acquiring the limits is still attractive. Foreign investors are also seeing good opportunities of value buying at current levels,” Manglunia said. So far, FPIs have invested Rs 2.15 lakh crore in corporate bonds of the available quota of Rs 2.25 lakh crore.The rupee has appreciated by 0.3%% against the dollar since December 22 and closed Monday’s session at 63.88, 0.04% lower than Friday’s close. The rupee had appreciated all the way to `63.37 on January 5; over the past year the currency has gained more than 6%.