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Emerging Markets Retain Debt Appetite

Chinese banks take advantage of the domestic debt boom to break into underwriting.

The credit crisis has depressed bond issuance in many sectors of developed markets, but emerging markets have been a source of relative strength. Issuance by emerging-markets entities was off just 1.4 percent in 2008, to $400.9 billion. Much of the growth was driven by Chinese borrowers: Their offerings more than doubled, to $93.4 billion from $44 billion a year earlier. This prominence enabled three Chinese banks — Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, CITIC Group and China International Capital Corp. — to break into the ranks of the top ten underwriters globally for emerging-markets debt, a potential sign of things to come. The U.K.’s HSBC Holdings jumped to first place from third a year earlier, acting as bookrunner on 210 deals worth $16.7 billion. Citigroup slipped one notch, to second. Notably absent is JPMorgan Chase, which dropped out of the top ten after having ranked sixth in 2007.