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Retour au sujet NTHN.ROCK ORD 25P

NTHN.ROCK ORD 25P : Surprise £80bn of gilts to be issued in

13 mars 200818:16

Surprise £80bn of gilts to be issued in next year

Record levels of government bonds are to be issued in the coming year as Alistair Darling refinances the taxpayers' loan to Northern Rock and seeks to bolster the public coffers by tapping demand from sovereign wealth funds for so-called gilt-edged securities.

A surprise £80bn of gilts are to be issued - £24bn more than the City had been expecting - which caught London markets off guard yesterday, driving up bond yields and knocking prices.

An analysis of the gilt issuance shows that the Treasury expects the new management team at Northern Rock to repay as much as £11bn of the estimated £25bn loan to the stricken lender by next spring. Simon Ward, an economist at New Star, said: "It is striking that even the Treasury, which has every reason to be conservative, projects a significant repayment by early next year."

The Bank of England loan to the lender is being transferred to the Treasury to comply with EU rules. Only £14bn is being refinanced by the Debt Management Office (DMO), which is the amount of the loan expected to be outstanding by the end of March next year.

The £80bn of gilts is the largest absolute amount ever issued by a British government. This is 5.4% of GDP, which means that in comparative terms it is less than the 8.3% of GDP issued in 1993, according to Robert Stheeman, DMO chief executive.

Analysts at Barclays Capital noted: "Even allowing for £14bn for the Northern Rock loan, gilt sales would have been £66bn - £7bn worse than our own above-consensus view and the highest on record."

Aside from the £14bn for Northern Rock, the government has to increase issuance to account for downward revisions to economic growth and it is also seeking to pay off very old loans known as "ways and means".

A record £18bn is to be issued in bonds indexed to inflation, £24.2bn is to be long-dated bonds, £25bn will be short-term bonds and £13bn will be raised through medium-length gilts.

Bond market experts were surprised the government was not issuing more longer-dated debt, which is usually snapped up by pension funds and insurance companies to match their assets and liabilities.

Ralf Preusser, fixed-income strategist at Deutsche Bank, said: "It's positive there will be £3bn of new index-linked gilt supply, but most of the increase in issuance will affect short-term gilts not long-dated gilts, so the increased supply therefore is of limited benefit to pension funds."

The DMO noted that the £24.2bn of long-term bonds was the second largest amount the office had ever issued. Stheeman said it was more cost-effective to issue shorter-dated paper, particularly as there was growing demand for this maturity of bond. Sovereign wealth funds, central banks and other investors looking for safe havens in the current market turmoil were customers for these bonds, Stheeman said.

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