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France Capturing Demand for Inflation-Linked Bonds, Mills Says

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March 9 (Bloomberg) -- France is seeking to capture rising investor demand for longer-dated government debt and inflation-linked securities, according to the nation’s debt chief.

“We’ve increased that proportion significantly” of bonds maturing in 15 years or more, Philippe Mills, chief executive officer of Agence France Tresor, said in an interview at the Euromoney Bond Investors Congress in London today. The agency may increase the proportion of index-linked bonds it sells to as much as 12 percent, compared with a target for 10 percent, because it is “demand driven,” he said.

France is drawing an increasingly diversified set of investors to debt sales, with central banks buying 5 percent of its sale of 15-year inflation bonds this year, Mills said. That was a “novelty,” he said.

France may sell securities in a foreign currency, and “it’s not only a choice between euro and U.S. dollar,” Mills said. He would need to see a reduced financing cost and an increase in the investor base through the sale, he said. It may be preferable to do any such sale in a “more quiet context” for the euro, Mills said.

Bonds sold by the European Union’s financial rescue fund aren’t likely to curb demand for French debt because they are competing for different categories of investors, Mills said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Dobson in London at pdobson2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Tilles at dtilles@bloomberg.net

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