Business / Markets

Debt-hungry China Inc fuels local banks' takeover of Asia bond league tables

(Agencies) Updated: 2016-05-13 08:14

Chinese banks have for the first time claimed the top spots for Asian bond market underwriting, on the back of a booming local corporate bond market and increased funding needs of companies in the world's second-largest economy.

China has hosted the world's biggest corporate debt market since 2014, and local banks are making hay while regulatory restrictions limit the ability of foreign rivals to compete.

Bank of China, China Construction Bank and Commercial Bank of China, CITIC Securities and Agricultural Bank of China now sit at the top of the Debt Capital Market league table for Asia Pacific excluding Japan for the year to date, Reuters data show.

HSBC, last year's leader of the table, which covers all local currency bonds, dropped to seventh place, while Citigroup slipped to ninth position from second.

"Multinational companies have limited finance demand, given the sluggish growth, while Chinese ones are enthusiastically seeking overseas expansion and need capital from offshore markets," said Leon Qi, China banking analyst with Daiwa Capital Markets.

Among the deals jointly managed by Chinese banks was Exim Bank of China's three-tranche bond raising $3 billion, the biggest corporate deal of the year.

Chinese banks have also been making inroads in other investment banking business in Asia, including equity capital markets, which account for about half of investment banking fees in the Asia-Pacific region.

Chinese banks now account for eight of the top 10 slots in the ECM league table in Asia, with CITIC, which in 2013 bought Asia-focused CLSA, leading the field.

Chinese banks worked on the two largest Asia-Pacific IPOs this year-the $1.94 billion listing of China Zheshang Bank CoLtd and the $990 million offering of Bank of Tianjin Co Ltd.

They have also been aggressively taking market share from foreign banks in the Asian leveraged buyout loans market.

Their dominance in Asia extends to the syndicated loan market, where the top three positions as mandated arrangers are already held by ICBC, Bank of China and China Construction Bank, the latest Thomson Reuters data shows for the year to date.

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