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Corporate bond issuance plummets over Covid-19 pandemic

By Phuong Dong   March 23, 2020 | 04:38 pm PT
Corporate bond issuance plummets over Covid-19 pandemic
An employee counts Vietnamese banknotes at a bank in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Tu.
Corporate bond issuance value in February fell 44 percent from January as the coronavirus pandemic interfered with companies’ financial plans.

The value of bond issuance on the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) fell 44 percent to VND6.8 trillion ($292 million) in February, although January had less working days due to the seven-day Lunar New Year holiday (Tet) .

Real estate companies accounted for the largest value of bonds issued at 40.5 percent of the total, followed by stock brokerages and banks.

In the first two months, 39 companies on the HNX bourse issued VND18.7 trillion ($803 million) worth of bonds with maturity terms of two to five years.

Top brokerage SSI Securities Corporation (SSI) said that the plummeting bond value reflects the impacts of the novel coronavirus pandemic on companies’ financial plans.

Private investors only bought 26 percent of the issuance value, showing greater interest in other assets with greater security, it said in a note.

Several stock brokerages have anticipated that the corporate bonds market will see slow growth this year after doing well last year.

Investors are questioning the capacity of bond issuers after the Ministry of Finance warned that some companies were offering the unusually high coupon rates of 15-20 percent a year, compared to the market average of 10-11 percent.

The finance ministry last month proposed to make regulations for corporate bond issuances more stringent to protect investors, after some companies made issuances worth 50 times and 100 times their equity.

The State Bank of Vietnam has also ordered commercial banks to stop buying bonds to restructure their debts.

The value of corporate bond issuances increased by 25 percent from 2018 to VND280 trillion ($12 billion) last year, according to the SSI.

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