Corporate bond sales in Europe had the slowest May in five years as a slump in company offerings outweighed a record surge in U.S. issuance.
Sales in euros fell to 68.9 billion euros ($75.6 billion), the least in any May since 2010 and the lowest since December, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Issuance fell even as McDonald’s Corp. and 3M Co. bombarded the market with their biggest deals in the shared currency.
Companies curbed fund-raising as more than $400 billion was wiped off global credit markets, sending borrowing costs to a five-month high, amid speculation central banks will hasten interest-rate increases. Failure by Greece to reach an accord with its creditors added to issuers’ concerns.
“The fact we’ve seen volatility and a significant rise in yields makes it less attractive for some companies to try to put together a deal,” said Craig Veysey, London-based head of fixed income at Sanlam Private Wealth, part of the Sanlam Group with about 40 billion pounds ($61 billion) of assets under management.
Investment grade bonds handed investors a 0.52 percent loss in May, the biggest monthly decline since June 2013, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch index data. The average yield on the debt climbed to 1.16 percent on May 14 after reaching a record low 0.85 percent on March 10, the data show.
“The Greece story is making the European corporates issue at a slower pace,” Philipp Good, a portfolio manager at Fisch Asset Management AG in Zurich, said. “At the beginning of the month of May and end of April we had the German bond rates move up. This caused uncertainty and let issuers wait to issue.”
Domestic issuance slumped to 44.7 billion euros from 74 billion euros in April, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. U.S. companies including Eli Lilly & Co. and Illinois Tool Works Inc. sold 18.3 billion euros of bonds this month, taking advantage of a 2 percentage point average-yield discount over dollar-denominated bonds. Issuance by American companies this year is 64 billion euros, a record for the period, according to the data.