McCreath: Federal Reserve behind the curve in reducing bond buying programs
Canada sold US$3.5 billion of bonds in its largest sale in the U.S. dollar debt market in more than six years.
The North American country priced five-year bonds to yield 6 basis points over U.S. Treasuries, in line with its most recent sale in January 2020, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The transaction received more than US$7 billion of orders, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the details are private.
The “bond provides funds to supplement and diversify Canada’s liquid foreign reserves,” the Department of Finance said in an statement Monday before the terms of the deal were set.
The country, which retains top investment-grade ratings from two out of the three largest credit rating companies, is returning to the international debt markets for the first time since the start of the pandemic as its central bank adopts a relatively hawkish tone. Bank of Canada reduced the pace of its government bond purchases last month, and plans even less intervention later this year, according to projections by market analysts.
The central bank cut its federal government bond purchases by $1 billion to $3 billion per week in April, and may slow to $2 billion at its July monetary policy meeting and $1 billion in September, Laurentian Bank Securities’ economists Sebastien Lavoie and Dominique Lapointe said in a note to investors Tuesday.
Canada’s economy is expected to grow 6.1 per cent this year, up from a 5.4 per cent decline in 2020, according to analysts’ consensus compiled by Bloomberg. The survey sees the U.S. economy, Canada’s largest trade and investment partner, expanding by 6.3 per cent in 2021 after a 3.5 per cent contraction in 2020. Even as the economy recovers, Canada’s labor market hit a snag in April as a third wave of lockdowns and COVID-19 restrictions led to job losses.
Canada’s bond deal is also the first transaction in the U.S. dollar currency since Fitch Ratings downgraded it to its second highest investment-grade level, citing higher public debt ratios. Canada sold US$3.5 billion of 3-year bonds in March 2015.
BMO Capital Markets, BofA Securities, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Scotiabank and TD Securities arranged today’s deal.