UPDATE 1-BMW places 800 mln yuan auto loan ABS in China
* BMW taps yuan denominated domestic capital market
* BMW places ABS backed by domestic car loans
* ABS deal part of strategy to diversify refinancing
* Marks BMW's first ABS placement in China (Adds details)
FRANKFURT, June 12 (Reuters) - BMW said on Thursday it had placed asset-backed securities worth 800 million yuan ($129 million) in China, a landmark deal that allows the German auto maker to tap China's domestic capital market.
The transaction marks the carmaker's first asset-backed debt issue in the world's largest car market.
"Given rising sales volumes in China, the transaction is an important step toward diversifying our refinancing basis in local currency," BMW said in a statement.
As part of a broader reform push, Beijing is easing restrictions on the flow of investment funds into and out of the country and is slowly opening up the yuan-denominated domestic market to outside players.
Chinese and foreign firms have previously issued yuan-denominated "dim sum" bonds in Hong Kong in recent years. Unlike domestic bonds, dim sum issues are not subject to approval by Chinese regulators.
"We welcome the new opportunity and play a part in developing the securitisation market in China," BMW said.
BMW said the notes, which are backed by retail auto loans, were priced at 4.8 percent for the AAA-rated class A notes and 8.09 percent for the A-rated class B notes.
The auto loan ABS was placed through BMW's Chinese financial services subsidiary BMW Automotive Finance (China). Last year BMW was the biggest seller of luxury cars world-wide with 1.65 million vehicles sold. China sales alone rose 19 percent in 2013.
In March, rival Daimler AG sold a 500 million yuan bond to Chinese investors, the first foreign non-financial corporate bond issue in China's domestic market. ($1 = 6.2175 Chinese Yuan Renminbi) (Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Ludwig Burger and Sophie Walker)