Currency swaps the norm in China for foreign businesses

By Marc Castro

Sep 10, 2013 10:52 AM EDT

Cross currency swaps is now the means used by foreign companies in order to fund its China operations instead of raising money through the Hong Kong Dim Sum bond market. Many multinational companies have said they could raise more funds, more efficiently and more inexpensively by getting loans in dollars and then exchanging them for the Chinese yuan needed to fund operations.

The costs of doing this process is much lower compared to borrowing directly in yuan through the yuan denominated bond market in Hong Kong.

According to an Asian regional treasury head of a multinational firm, "We swap from euros into renminbi for the maturity we want, which is a very straightforward treasury technique and that meas we can have a fixed rate interest loan into China." The head sought anonymity as he was not authorized to speak with the media on the matter.

The use of currency swaps means less utilization of the USD80 billion Dim Sum market, especially since the cost of Dim Sum bond issuance had increased to a level that it is cheaper to loan in China than use the bond market.

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