Indonesia sells Asia’s first 50-year dollar bond to fight pandemic

Indonesia’s coronavirus cases stood at 2,491 on Monday, with 209 confirmed deaths — the highest number of fatalities in Asia outside China. (Reuters)
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Updated 07 April 2020

Indonesia sells Asia’s first 50-year dollar bond to fight pandemic

  • Indonesia will use the cash raised to partially ‘fund its COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts’
  • The deal was carried out virtually, with bankers working on the transaction unable to travel to Jakarta

HONG KONG: Indonesia has raised $4.3 billion, including the longest-dated US dollar bond ever issued by an Asian nation, to help the government fund its battle against coronavirus, according to a term sheet reviewed by Reuters.
The deal was finalized in the United States on Monday and sold in maturities of 10.5 years and 30.5 years, worth $1.65 billion each, with a 50-year tranche worth $1 billion.
It was Indonesia’s largest-ever bond, according to the term-sheet which showed Indonesia will use the cash raised to partially “fund its COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts.”
The decision to sell 50-year bonds by the government came after initial conversations with potential investors found there was appetite for such a tenor, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the matter.
Asian life insurers, especially some based in Taiwan as well as US fund managers were the largest investors, the sources said. The sources could not be named because they were not authorized to speak to media.
“The mood in the market is starting to feel better, investors are starting to think we could be moving toward the end of the tunnel,” a banker working on the deal said.
The deal was carried out virtually, with bankers working on the transaction unable to travel to Jakarta which would have been normal practice.
Bankers working on the deal said the international travel ban put in place to control the coronavirus pandemic made the transaction more efficient to negotiate.
However, for syndicate bankers selling the deal to investors it was logistically more difficult because trading rooms in the major banks have been scaled back.
Indonesia’s coronavirus cases stood at 2,491 on Monday, with 209 confirmed deaths — the highest number of fatalities in Asia outside China.
Fifty-year bond deals priced in local currencies have been held in the past, Refinitiv data showed. South Korea raised 1.1 trillion won through a 50-year bond in September 2016 that at the time was worth $1 billion.
Indonesia’s government said on Monday it had raised its estimated 2020 net bond issuance to 549.6 trillion rupiah ($33.55 billion) to cover the country’s widening deficit.
It also listed a plan for sales of 449.9 trillion-rupiah ($27.47 billion) worth of “pandemic bonds” to cover additional spending for the COVID-19 response.
Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC and Standard Chartered were the joint book runners for the deal, the term-sheet showed.


WEEKLY ENERGY RECAP: Despite long-term challenges, oil prices remain in healthy range

Updated 19 min 29 sec ago

WEEKLY ENERGY RECAP: Despite long-term challenges, oil prices remain in healthy range

Oil prices have been stable since early January, with Brent crude price hovering around $55. Brent crude closed the week slightly higher at $55.41 per barrel,
while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) closed slightly lower at $52.27 per barrel.

Oil price movement since early January in a narrow range above $50 is healthy, despite pessimism over an increase in oil demand, while expectations of US President Joe Biden taking steps to revive energy demand growth are
still doubtful. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported a hike in US refining utilization to its highest since March 2020, at 82.5 percent. The EIA reported a surprise weekly surge in US commercial crude stocks by 4.4
million barrels. Oil prices remained steady despite the bearish messages sent from the International Energy Agency (IEA), which believes it will take more time for oil demand to recover fully as renewed lockdowns in several countries weighed on oil demand recovery.

The IEA’s January Oil Market Report came as the most pessimistic monthly report among other market bulletins from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and EIA. It forecast oil demand will bounce back to 96.6 million bpd this year, an increase of 5.5 million bpd over 2020 levels.

Though the IEA has lowered its forecast for global oil demand in 2021 due to lockdowns and vaccination challenges, it still expects a sharp rebound in oil consumption in the second half of 2021,
and the continuation of global inventory depletion.

The IEA reported global oil stocks fell by 2.58 million bpd in the fourth quarter of 2020 after preliminary data showed hefty drawdowns toward the end of the year. The IEA reported OECD industry stocks fell for a fourth consecutive month at 166.7
million barrels above the last five-year average. It forecast that global refinery throughput is expected to rebound by 4.5 million bpd in 2021, after a 7.3 million bpd drop in 2020.

The IEA monthly report has led to some short term concern about weakness in the physical crude spot market, and the IEA has acknowledged OPEC’s firm role in stabilizing the market.

Controversially, the IEA believes that a big chunk of shale oil production is profitable at current prices, and hence insinuated that shale oil might threaten OPEC market share.

It also believes that US shale oil producers have quickly responded to oil price gains, winning market share over OPEC producers. However, even if US shale oil drillers added more oil rigs for almost three months in a row, the number of operating rigs is still less than half that of a year ago, at 289 rigs.

The latest figures from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission show that crude futures “long positions” on the New York Mercantile Exchange are at 668,078 contracts, down by 18,414 contracts from the previous week (at 1,000 barrels for each contract).