China Citic Bank Corp Ltd plans to sell up to $4.7 billion in offshore yuan-denominated bonds by 2013, indicating that issuers are lining up to sell debt in the territory after the authorities unveiled fresh reforms this month.

 

While Chinese banks have long been issuers of short-dated paper in this market in the form of certificates of deposit, the bond deals point to a growing ability of the offshore yuan market in Hong Kong to absorb large sizes.

Citic did not say in how many tranches it would sell the bonds, although analysts said it was likely to be multiple rather than a single tranche issue.

The lender's board of directors had approved a debt programme totalling 30 billion yuan consisting of maturities of no more than five years, it said in a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange late on Monday.

The funds raised would be channeled into its loan business and other corporate activity, it said.

Citic's announcement comes days after China's Ministry of Finance sold 20 billion yuan ($3.13 billion) of offshore bonds, the biggest renminbi-denominated deal ever and as Vice-Premier Li Keqiang unveiled fresh measures to boost the growth of the CNH market.

More Chinese companies will be allowed to issue so-called 'dim-sum' bonds, rather than only financial institutions and foreign companies previously.

Beijing also plans to create a transparent framework to remit yuan bonds to China, a departure from its current policy of allowing remittances on a case-by-case basis, a policy that will give a shot in the arm to the growing line of issuers.

Demand for yuan exposure in Hong Kong, where renminbi in bank deposits far outstrip the amount of assets available, and expectations that Beijing will allow a more rapid appreciation of its currency have helped boost the CNH market.

As of late-August, 112 billion yuan ($17.55 billion) worth of dim sum bonds had been issued in 2011, according to Thomson Reuters data, nearly three times the amount issued in the whole of 2010.

Big-name foreign borrowers, including the World Bank, Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE), McDonald's Corp and Caterpillar Inc , have sold dim-sum bonds joining mainland and Hong Kong issuers. ($1 = 6.381 yuan)