The year ahead for debt markets

Expect volumes across global capital markets to remain subdued until 2023 as the impact of the pandemic continues to wash through the system - but there will be opportunities this year for companies willing to take advantage of market conditions.

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One of those is in Australian-dollar issuance, which is set to rise on the back of high public sector and financial institutional issuance activity.

“2020 saw unprecedented levels of primary activity… as governments around the world provided significant social support to help their citizens through the pandemic.”

Financial issuance is likely to be a major driver of this increase with $A issuance in that sector this year to date already over 40 per cent of the volume seen in 2021. Activity could ultimately double in 2021.

With the right strategy and support there’s significant opportunity on debt markets for companies to take advantage of these developments in what shapes to be an interesting 2022 environment.

Getting there

Volumes in 2021 declined globally as the impact of the pandemic lingered. Primary volumes remained broadly lower. Volumes in the US fell roughly 20 per cent year on year, Europe 6 per cent and Asia 14 per cent, although that market was quite volatile.

This came after a 2020 which saw unprecedented levels of primary activity driven by public-sector borrowings as governments around the world provided significant social support to help their citizens through the pandemic. It was no real surprise volumes have since dropped.

In Australia, volumes fell by roughly half year-on-year, reflecting the fact 2020’s activity came from the government’s COVID response. Excluding that issuance, the market was down around 8 per cent.

Banks largely stayed out of the market due primarily to the impact of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s Term Funding Facility (TFF). That saw volume shift to other corporates who took advantage of the resulting beneficial pricing. Corporate issuance rose around 30 per cent to roughly $A21 billion across public issuance and private placements

These set of unique circumstances are unlikely to repeat in 2022. Global primary volumes are therefore expected to be lower year-on-year across most markets by 5 per cent to 10 per cent, particularly amid expectations of higher rates and wider credit spreads.

But banks are expected to re-enter the market.

Heading back

Activity from 2020 through to June 2021 saw banks take up three-year funding which was has since been extended and increased. A lot of that funding expires or matures in 2023 and 2024.

While banks will be back in the market, 2022 is likely to be more of a transitionary year before a return to pre-COVID normality in 2023. Issuance from financial institutions is expected to rise from $A28 billion to $A53 billion. Next year that will broadly rise again, at least in terms of volume.

Total $A issuance is expected to increase 25 per cent year on year to $A160 billion. We’ve already seen financial groups issue $A11.6 billion worth so far in 2022.

From a capital perspective, it’s likely tier-two funding will remain static, which is around $A4 billion or $A5 billion per major bank a year. Tier-one funding is expected to remain steady as well.

It’s really the senior unsecured level of funding that will change – increasing this year and then increasing next year again.

Network effect

ANZ’s Institutional team is well positioned to help customers take advantage of what looks to be a 2022 full of opportunities.

The bank was committed to assisting our customer franchise through a difficult 2021 and our performance shows the extent of that support. ANZ completed 123 Australian-dollar transactions on the market in 2021, more than 27 per cent higher than our nearest competitor. We also held a leading position in corporate and financials issuance, with leading market share of 26 per cent and 24 per cent respectively, according to Bloomberg.

ANZ’s market-leading presence across Asia, as well as our home markets of Australia and New Zealand, provides unmatched support for customers looking to participate in the region. Our strategy is focused on taking issuers that need to borrow money to investors. Our business has been built with a very customer-centric approach and focus over the last five to six years - and the debt-capital markets side is really at the centre of our offering. – Shayne Collins

Shayne Collins is Managing Director for Markets, Institutional at ANZ

This article was originally published on ANZ’s Institutional Insights website

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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