Gov’t gets $1.6-B from maiden RDB issue

Published October 3, 2021, 7:00 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

Small investors who were looking for a low-risk, accessible and higher-yielding investment swamped the government’s first onshore issue of retail dollar bonds, the Bureau of the Treasury announced.

Based on a report submitted by National Treasurer Rosalia V. de Leon to Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, the government raised a total of P1.59 billion worth of retail dollar bonds (RDBs) consisting of five-year and 10-year IOUs.

De Leon told the finance chief that proceeds from the RDB issuance was “almost four times” of the Treasury bureau’s initial target.

She also said that a total of 520 transactions costing $850,200 were made through digital channels.

Of that total, roughly 40 percent or $329,400 were “Pesoclear,” or RDB placements that used existing Philippine peso bank accounts, the treasurer said.

“We were also able to reach Filipinos from more than 30 countries for the RDBs, including the Cayman Islands, Papua New Guinea, and Cyprus to name some,” de Leon added.

On Sept. 15, the Treasury bureau raised the initial $866.2 million of RDBs at the price-setting auction.

The five-year and 10-year RDBs carried coupons of 1.375 percent and 2.250 percent, respectively. They were offered in minimum investments of $300 and multiples of $100 thereafter.

The RDB’s public offering ended last Friday, Oct. 1.

The Treasury bureau tapped state-owned lenders, Development Bank of the Philippines and Land Bank of the Philippines, as lead managers.

Meanwhile, the joint issue manager are BDO Capital and Investment, BPI Capital, China Bank Capital, First Metro Investment, RCBC Capital, SB Capital Investment, Standard Chartered and Union Bank of the Philippines.

Earlier, de Leon said that RDB was far more accessible for retail investors than the traditional US dollar bonds issued by the government that require a minimum investment of $200,000.

Del Leon also said RDB has “relatively higher returns,” similar to the traditional peso-denominated retail bond (RTB) and “Premyo” bond.

“The RDBs will particularly appeal to US dollar earners as the structure mitigates foreign exchange risk on the part of investors by maintaining the original currency of their investment,” de Leon said.

“The NG [national government] will also assume the withholding tax on interest income, allowing investors to earn full interest on their principal,” she added.

The Duterte administration’s maiden RDB sale followed the $3 billion global bonds sold in June, $2.5 billion euro-denominated bonds in April, and $500 million yen-denominated “Samurai” bonds in March.

This year, the government plans to borrow P3 trillion to bridge its projected budget deficit. As of August, gross financing stood at P2.388 trillion.

 
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