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Non-domestics pile into French 50-year bond

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FRANCE – Non French investors accounted for 88% of those who bought France’s new 50-year bond, demand for which exceeded the French debt agency’s forecast three-fold.

The bond was launched three weeks after the French treasury said it was consulting on the possibility of issuing it to meet the demands of investors.

The French debt agency Agence France Trésor said in a statement that demand for the security, called OAT 2055, reached €19.5bn after the completion of the order book on Monday and Tuesday, compared with €6bn initially served.

UK investors accounted for 22% of the demand, followed by Italy (16%), Germany (13%) and France (12%).

Fund managers took 45%, insurers took 14% and pension funds took eight percent. Hedge funds bought 18%.

“The order book is representative of the diversity of investors interested in very long-dated bonds: asset managers, pension funds, insurance companies, public financial institutions, hedge funds and investment banks,” the public body said.

OAT 2055, the longest-maturity bond on the euro yield curve, pays 4% annual interest and has attracted investors from the Eurozone and beyond.

Commenting on the high quota of UK managers who invested in the French issue, Steve Whiting, spokesman for the UK Debt Management Office, said the DMO was aware of the interest of the UK investment community had in the product.

The Treasury, he observed, opened a consultation in December, which ended on January 21.

Whiting said the DMO’s “response and conclusions” to the consultation would be published alongside the budget, on March 16. Whiting denied that the UK had been scooped by France because of red tape.

He said the process of consultation fitted “with the way that management structure is in this country”.

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