October 13, 2007
Govt bond market to be setup in 2008
Vietnam is drafting a project to establish a new, online government bond market next year that will allow in more traders, including foreign banks, in a bid to boost liquidity, a market regulator was quoted as saying.
The country's debt market is underdeveloped, with a lack of trading on the secondary market and the absence of related services such as credit ratings, leading many investors to hold bonds until maturity.
Nguyen Son, deputy head of the State Securities Commission's Stock Market Development Department, said the over-the-counter Hanoi Securities Trading Centre <.HASTCI> would run the new market online.
"Apart from securities companies, trading members on the market would widen to include major domestic banks and branches of foreign banks in Vietnam," Son told the Saigon Economic Times weekly in an interview.
Bonds with a face value of 115 trillion dong ($7.1 billion) were listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange <0#VNTSY=HM> <0#VNCORP=HM> and the Hanoi market <0#VNTSY=HN> at the end of September, 90 percent of them government debt, Son said.
Total bond market capitalisation was the equivalent of only 8 percent of gross domestic product, far below the 50-70 percent common in other Asian markets, he added.
Investors trading bonds have to place buy and sell orders with securities firms, which limits market liquidity.
If the project is approved, securities firms could continue to handle trades for customers, but banks would also be able to trade bonds for their own account, Son said.
If trading in government bonds went smoothly, the new market could expand to take in corporate bonds and debt issued by provincial authorities, he said.
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