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China prices first sovereign bonds in casino hub Macau

[HONG KONG] China has sold the first tranche of a two billion yuan (S$395 million) bond in Macau, which comes as the Chinese-ruled territory tries to diversify from its dominant gaming industry.

The Ministry of Finance said in a statement on Friday it sold 1.7 billion yuan of 3-year bonds at a 3.05 per cent coupon to institutional investors on Thursday, ranging from pension funds to commercial banks, which were 3.2 times oversubscribed.

The ministry said it will sell the second 300 million yuan 2-year retail portion at a 3.3 per cent coupon starting on Friday. Subscription to that bond will be open until July 19 according to Refinitiv IFR.

The issuance will help develop Macau's bond market and financial services with its own characteristics, the ministry added.

Macau, which generates about 80 per cent of government revenues from gambling, is considering launching a yuan-based stock market to help it diversify away from gaming, the city's de facto central bank told Reuters last month.

It is also beefing up financial services under China's Greater Bay Area plan to integrate the territory with Hong Kong, the largest offshore yuan hub, and nine mainland cities.

The former Portuguese colony will mark its 20th anniversary of return to Chinese rule in December.