November 18, 2016 / 5:00 AM / 3 years ago

China allows foreign hedge funds to enter interbank bond market

HONG KONG, Nov 18 (Reuters) - A total of 419 institutions and fund products completed registration to enter China’s domestic interbank bond market in October, including fund products under global hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, official data showed.

The seven hedge fund products are all under Bridgewater Associates LP, a U.S. hedge fund firm, according to a recent statement on the website of China Foreign Exchange Trading System & National Interbank Funding Center (CFETS).

“This starts the era of foreign hedge funds’ access to the China interbank bond market programme, which has previously indicated strong preference to long-term investors,” said Becky Liu, a senior strategist at Standard Chartered.

China said in February that it would open up its interbank bond market to certain types of eligible foreign investors and scrap quotas for long-term investors such as pension funds and charity funds.

It significantly widened foreign access to the world’s third-largest debt market from the current Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (QFII) and Renminbi QFII (RQFII) channels, which are restricted by license and quota approvals.

However, there has been speculation that hedge funds and private equity funds may not fall within the scope of eligible investors.

“We believe this is likely to be quickly followed by other global hedge funds, who probably prefer registering under individual product level for the portfolios of similar investment nature of long-only funds,” Liu said.

Foreign investment in China’s fixed-income market is still negligible and market players believe it may take years for their investment to significantly pick up, especially due to strong expectation of yuan depreciation in the coming years.

The yuan has depreciated more than 5 percent against the dollar so far this year, with its descent gathering speed since Donald Trump’s election in the presidential race on Nov. 8, which has boosted the greenback against most other global currencies. (Reporting by Michelle Chen; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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