corporate bonds-February tally

By Kang Yoon-seung

SEOUL, March 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korean companies' bond issuance soared in February from a month earlier, data showed Friday, as they rushed to sell more debts on the back of the country's low key interest rate.

Financial and non-financial firms issued a combined 14.41 trillion won (US$13.25 billion) in bonds last month, up 68.1 percent from January, according to the Korea Securities Depository (KSD).

Non-financial firms' bond issuance jumped nearly two-fold to 9.7 trillion won over the cited period, marking the ninth consecutive month of a net issuance.

Financial companies' debt sales also moved up 5.7 percent to 4.6 trillion won over the cited period, the agency said.

Market watchers said the corporate bond sales increased as the country's central bank continued to maintain low key interest rates.

South Korea's central bank froze the key interest rate for the fourth straight month in February, holding the benchmark seven-day repo rate steady at 2.75 percent.

In February, local firms repaid a combined 9.4 trillion won of maturing bonds, which resulted in a net issuance of 4.9 trillion won, compared to a net payment of 317 billion won in January, according to the KSD.

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