4 Oct 2011

ANZ tests offshore funding climate

10:17 am on 4 October 2011

ANZ is the first Australian bank to test offshore funding markets since they went into a tailspin in early August.

It has raised almost $400 million in a bond issue in the United States for a term of five years.

The interest rate that ANZ will pay on the bond is 200 basis points above the five-year swap rate in New Zealand.

OnePath fixed interest manager Andrew Meikle says that compares to a typical spread of 170 points a few months ago.

He says it was a good result now financial institutions have again become wary of lending to one another and, importantly, demonstrated that it was still possible to access international money.

Mr Meikle says the bond issue was fully subscribed before last Friday's credit ratings downgrades of New Zealand by Fitch and Standard & Poors.

However, he does not expect the downgrade to have a major effect on domestic bank funding costs since the major banks in New Zealand benefit from the support of their Australian parents and Australia still retains its AAA rating.

Mr Meikle concedes mortgage rates could be pushed higher if bank funding costs continue to remain high. but that could be offset to some extent by cuts in the Official Cash Rate by the Reserve Bank.