Spain cancels syndicated bond auction

City A.M. Reporter
Spain scrapped a long-term debt auction on Monday in favour of a bond sale via banks to take advantage of more benign market conditions to borrow at lower cost.

Other highly-indebted states have also said they would seek to issue new bonds.

Belgium said it would issue a ten-year bond through a syndicate of banks while Portugal has said it plans to place a syndicated bond this quarter.

Spanish bond prices fell after it launched its bond, expected to be sized at €4-5bn (£3.4bn-£4.2bn), and the yield premium on Spanish bonds versus benchmark German paper widened to 240 basis points, up about 8 bps on the day.

Madrid had planned to auction 10- and 15-year bonds on Thursday but cancelled the sale.

"Conditions have improved and created opportunities," said Peter Chatwell, interest rate strategist at Credit Agricole in London.

Spain's auction last Thursday of five-year bonds achieved a better than expected price, which helped compress yields on its benchmark debt and gave the government some breathing room.

Portugal and Italy also successfully sold bonds last week.

Societe Generale analysts said in a note that syndications were a "litmus test" for bond issuance as they required substantial involvement of long-term "real money" investors.

If the Spanish sale went well "one worry over the financing of European governments is behind us", they wrote, adding that a modest sell-off in outstanding debt after the sale was announced may reflect "confidence that the issue will be well priced".