Korean firms raising bond sales ahead of Fed's stimulus cut

SEOUL, Aug. 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korean companies are increasing bond sales in August in a bid to secure funds before the Federal Reserve's potential stimulus cut would further raise bond yields, data showed Sunday.

The corporate debt sale slated for this week is valued at 1.65 trillion won (US$1.48 billion), up from 160 billion won a week earlier, according to data by the Korea Center for International Finance.

Local firms are likely to sell at least 4.07 trillion won in bonds this month, larger than 1.88 trillion won in bond sales in July, showed the data based on their issuance plans.

The rise in corporate bond sales came as local firms are making efforts to secure funds ahead of the Fed's expected reduction in its stimulus program, analysts say.

Bond yields have been largely on the rise since Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said in late June that the central bank may begin to taper its bond-buying stimulus program later this year if the U.S. economy recovers as anticipated.

The return on three-year government bonds in South Korea has stabilized since hitting a yearly high of 3.12 percent on June 24.

"Local companies had delayed debt sales due to volatile bond yields, but they increased debt sales in August," said Choi Jong-won, an analyst at Samsung Securities Co.

In the first half, the sale of corporate bonds amounted to 21.8 trillion won, down 24.8 percent from a year earlier, according to the Financial Supervisory Service.

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