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European Commission successfully issues €5 billion in its 9th syndicated transaction of 2023

The European Commission, which issues EU-Bonds on behalf of the EU, has raised a further €5 billion of EU-Bonds in its 9th syndicated transaction for 2023. The single tranche transaction consisted of a new 7-year bond due on 4 December 2030.

Market conditions leading up to the transaction were more subdued, with investors awaiting clarity on further changes in euro-interest rates. However, the deal was met with strong interest from investors, who placed bids in excess of €46bn, making for an oversubscription rate of over 9 times and showing continued solid market access for the European Commission.

The proceeds of this transaction will be used to support both the NextGenerationEU recovery programme and the Macro-Financial Assistance+ programme for Ukraine, in line with the Commission’s approach of issuing single branded “EU-Bonds” rather than separately labelled bonds for individual programmes.

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With today’s transaction, the Commission has completed approximately 16% of its €40bn funding target for the second half of 2023. A full overview of all EU transactions executed to date is available online. A detailed overview of the EU’s planned transactions for the second half of 2023 is also available in the EU funding plan.

Background

The European Commission borrows on international capital markets on behalf of the European Union and disburses the funds to member states and third countries under various borrowing programmes. EU borrowing is guaranteed by the EU budget, and contributions to the EU budget are an unconditional legal obligation of all member states under the EU Treaties.

Since January 2023, the European Commission has been issuing single branded EU-Bonds rather than separately labelled bonds for individual programmes.  The proceeds of these single-branded bonds are allocated to relevant programmes according to the procedures set out in the applicable agreements.

On the basis of EU-Bonds raised since mid-2021, the Commission has so far disbursed € 153.38bn in grants and loans to the EU member states under the Recovery and Resilience Facility, on top of further support to other EU programmes benefitting from NextGenerationEU funding.

The Commission has also disbursed €12bn to Ukraine under the Macro-Financial Assistance + programme, with a further disbursement of €1.5bn scheduled for later this month. This programme – which will deliver €18bn to Ukraine over the whole of 2023 – follows the disbursement of €7.2bn by the Commission in emergency MFA loans to Ukraine in 2022. Prior to that, the EU had provided over €5bn to Ukraine through five MFA programmes since 2014.

To further boost the secondary market liquidity of EU-Bonds, the Commission has introduced a framework to provide investors with pricing quotes for EU securities on electronic platforms. EU Primary Dealers will start quoting prices for EU Bonds as from November 2023. The Commission is also working on a facility to support the use of EU-Bonds as an instrument for repurchase agreements (to be implemented by mid-2024).

Today’s bond syndication 7-year bond Due on 4 December 2030, this bond carries a coupon of 3.125% and came at a re-offer yield of 3.217% equivalent to a reoffer price of 99.424%. The spread to mid-swap is +2 bps, which is equivalent to +60.1 bps over the Bund due on 15 November 2030 and +19.5 bps over the OAT due on 25 November 2030. The final order book was of over €46bn. The joint lead managers of this transaction were Bank of America, Credit Agricole CIB, Morgan Stanley, Nomura and UniCredit.

Information on the allocation to different investors is available in the transactions section of the EU as a borrower website.

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