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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        9  February 2011

Malaysia bond market strong

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The Malaysian bond market is expected to remainstrong , as commercial activities gather pace behind the multiple Entry Point Projects (EPPs) launched by the government.

These projects require the private sector to raise capital.

The independent credit research and advisory services provider, RAM Holdings Bhd projected fresh bond issuance hitting RM60bil in 2011.

"Private debt securities (PDS) would be a better funding mode for many of the public-private partnership programmes with distinct requirements and profiles," RAM explained.

Last year, fresh bond issuance totaled RM69.9bil, a tad lower than the RM72.3bil worth of new bonds issued in the preceding year. The Malaysian PDS market closed 2010 with RM256.2bil of outstanding issues, translating into a 6.4% growth for the year.

"The Malaysian bond market would be propelled by resilient domestic demand, burgeoning intra-Asian exports as well as mergers and acquisitions as enterprises pursue their ambitions to expand and become high-performance businesses," RAM said.

"While demand was anticipated to remain encouraging for bond and sukuk issues amid ample global and domestic liquidity, we also envisaged narrowing opportunities to raise funds at current rates," it added.

RAM believed interest rates would begin to rise in the second quarter of this year, with the overnight policy rate being lifted to between 3.25 percent and 3.50 percent bythe end of 2011, from the current 2.75 percent

Fresh bond issuance last year was strongest in the fourth quarter, mainly for debt-restructuring and refinancing purposes. Among the notable issues then included the RM5.6bil Senior and Junior Sukuk Ijarah Medium-Term Notes by Senai Desaru Expressway Bhd and a RM870mil Senior and Junior Sukuk Musyarakah from Konsortium Lebuhraya Utara-Timur (KL) Sdn Bhd. Collectively, they accounted for almost a third of the RM23.1bil worth of new bonds issued in the final quarter of 2010.

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