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Listed companies turn to bonds for fund
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Affected by the bearish stock market during the first half of this year, an increased number of listed companies turned to bonds to satisfy their monetary needs, recent figures from the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) showed.

According to the CSRC statistics, during the first half of this year, funds raised through initial public offering (IPO) stood at 94 billion yuan ($13.78 billion), 30 percent less than the same period last year.

In contrast, the fund-raising scale of bonds surged in the market. The first six months saw 21 listed companies raising 74.5 billion yuan via bond issuance, up six fold year-on-year.

So far this year, altogether 30 enterprise bonds and 13 corporate bonds have been issued, raising 69.75 billion yuan and 23.2 billion yuan respectively. In July alone, 18 bonds worth 46.8 billion yuan began floating in the market.

Enterprise bonds, mainly issued by large State-owned enterprises, are subject to the approval of the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic planning body; while the CSRC is in charge of the issuance and supervision of corporate bonds.

"The tightening monetary policy this year has made fund raising quite difficult for companies," said He Xiuhong, a fixed-income product analyst from GF Securities, in an interview with the Guangzhou Daily. "When companies can't get loans from banks, they have to resort to other means such as issuing bonds. Meanwhile, the regulators' policies are also in favor of the moves."

At the half-yearly meeting of the CSRC last week, Shang Fulin, chairman of the commission, stressed that the regulator will continue to support debt financing and gear up application review of convertible bonds and corporate bonds. He also vowed to make great efforts to solve problems hampering development of the bond market.

According to market watchers, the nation's bond market may become hotter in the second half as several giant companies such as PetroChina and Sinopec are expected to float their enterprise bonds in the coming months. In addition, a warm welcome from investors due to bonds' stable returns will also boost the market.

(Chinadaily.com.cn August 6, 2008)

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