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Deposit scheme scares off govt bond buyers

By David Chaplin

Thursday 16th October 2008

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 David Chaplin
For the first time in three years the New Zealand Treasury’s Debt Management Office (DMO) has cancelled a bond tender after the government’s deposit guarantee scheme dampened investor demand.

According to Phil Combes, DMO Treasurer, feedback from market participants prior to the bond offer, which was scheduled for October 16, indicated it would not be successful.

In a statement the DMO said: “Consultation with market participants indicated that there had been recent selling of government bonds by retail holders.”

“Market participants also advised that demand for bonds was likely to be temporarily reduced while investors sought further details of the deposit guarantee schemes announced by the Australian and New Zealand governments over the weekend.”

However, Combes said the DMO remained confident a government bond tender set down for October 30 would continue as planned. Government bonds are normally offered every fortnight and also on an ad-hoc ‘tap tender’ basis depending on demand.

The DMO statement said five ‘tap tender’ issues have gone off successfully since Treasury began the practice in July this year.

Combes said while a government bond tender cancellation “certainly is rare” it was not unprecedented.

“The last time we had to cancel was in 2005,” he said.

Despite the failure of the bond tender the DMO said it still managed to sell $200 million in short-term Treasury Bills this week.

The government has planned to ramp up debt levels over the next few years with $4 billion of bonds expected to be offered over 2008/9 year, a further $6 billion in the next 12-month period and $9 billion over 2010/11.

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