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Virus Spurs Record Korea Inc. Bond Sales in Hunt for Yield

  • Korean firms’ won debt issuance is most ever so far this year
  • Demand for company notes due to sovereign yield plunge: Hanwha
Tourists wear face masks outside Gyeongbokgung palace in Seoul on Feb. 10.

Tourists wear face masks outside Gyeongbokgung palace in Seoul on Feb. 10.

Photographer: Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images
Updated on

The spread of the coronavirus is sparking a boom in sales of safer South Korean corporate bonds amid expectations the central bank will cut interest rates to support a weakening economy.

Even as concerns mount that the virus could derail a hoped-for export recovery in Korea, firms have issued 41.4 trillion won ($35 billion) of securities this year through Feb. 18, the most ever for the period, Bloomberg-compiled data show. Among the issuers was SK Hynix Inc., which sold the biggest-ever won denominated notes for a Korean company that went through the bookbuilding process.