Chinese renminbi (RMB) is the newest addition to the
smorgasbord of euro-currencies. From a standing start in July
2010, the market has been flooded with at the last count
some two dozen issues of RMB-denominated bonds, a
phenomenon sufficiently noteworthy to earn these bonds their
own name: dim sum bonds.
Alongside Chinese businesses, well-known international
borrowers such as World Bank, International Financial
Corporation, Caterpillar, VTB Bank, Orix Corporation and ANZ
have all tapped the market.
But dim sum is a misleading coinage for these bonds. Dim sum
the generic name for the range of dumplings and other
local delicacies which are a popular lunch or snack in Hong
Kong seems to have been chosen to identify
RMB-denominated bonds with Hong Kong, in the same way that
samurai bonds are identified with Japan, Yankee bonds with the
US, and so on.
But samurai bonds and Yankee bonds...