Market volatility, tied to a drop in oil prices, has put a damper on Latin American primary market new issue volumes, although a trickle of issuers are still looking to access the cross-border debt markets, sources told LatinFinance.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 296 points, or 1.8%, on Tuesday as oil prices pared recent gains and hopes for a production agreement faded. Brent crude oil declined to $32.72 per barrel after reaching as much as $35 per barrel last week. Meanwhile, the yield on the benchmark 10-year US Treasury dropped to 1.86%.
“We see a tough market. A lot of that stems from oil and China. Until concerns go away, it will continue to be volatile. There will be windows like the window Pemex took advantage of last week, and we will see issuers continue to take advantage of windows,” a syndicate banker told LatinFinance. Just three Latin American names were active on the new issue front this week.
The Central American Bank for Economic Integration (Cabei), rated A1/A/A, was the latest to tap the cross-border bond markets. On Tuesday, the multilateral bank sold CHF200m ($196m) in fixed rate bonds with a 6.5-year maturity and coupon of 0.371%. The lender priced the notes at 70bp over mid swaps, the bottom of initial price talks of 70bp to 75bp, Ricardo Rico, the head of debt capital markets at Cabei, told LatinFinance.
Latin American development bank CAF is eyeing a dollar benchmark trade as early as this week if markets conditions permit. The bank, rated Aa3/AA-/AA-, held an investor call last week through Bank of America-Merrill Lynch (BAML), Citi, Deutsche Bank and HSBC.
Goldman Sachs is taking Colombian toll road concessionaire Pacifico 3 to meet fixed-income investors in Latin America, the US and Europe through Thursday, ahead of a planned benchmark size bond issue.
Latin American bankers still see opportunities for higher quality blue chips and sovereigns to access cross-border funds at rates that remain historically low. But the window is closing for some would-be corporate borrowers because their latest financial numbers will soon go stale, bankers say. “Either issuers go now or wait to get year-end financials as the deadline is on February 12,” a banker said.
Before Cabei’s Swiss franc bond, cross-border bond issues this year are behind volumes seen during the same period last year. Latin American new issues have totaled $9.84bn from four transactions this year compared to $12.7bn from seven transactions during the same period last year, according to Dealogic.
Pemex was the last corporate issuer to access the market through a sale of a three-part $5bn trade last week. Pemex’s new 10-year bond was quoted as high as 102 last Friday but then dropped to 100.25 on Tuesday – still above the 99.815 new issue price, a source said.