Asia and Middle East scoop up French debt

Asia and Middle East scoop up French debt
Photo: Core Media Product Demo
Half of France's newly-issued debt this year is being bought by investors from Asia and the Middle East, a sharp increase from a only a third the previous year, the head of France's debt management agency said Friday.

"This year, half of the net debt purchasers come from Asia and the Middle East compared to 33% in 2011 and 20% in 2010," said AFT head Philippe Mills in an interview on the Next Finance website.

Only 30% came from the eurozone, with French entities, in particular insurance companies, well represented.

Mills also noted that commercial banks had drastically reduced their purchases of French debt during the eurozone debt crisis to 10% in 2012.

However Mills said he did not see any signs of re-domestication of the French debt market.

France's stock of debt is still mostly held by foreigners — 62.7% at the end of June — although this figure has been declining for a year.

France has enjoyed historically low medium- and long-term borrowing rates, with short-term rates sliding into negative territory this year as investors flee the debt of weaker eurozone countries for the likes of Germany and France.

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