Singapore Hosts 2004 World Bank Government Borrowers Forum
Healthy growth in Singapore's corporate debt market in 2003
Singapore, 9 June 2004...The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) hosted the 2004 World Bank Government Borrowers Forum (GBF) from 7 to 9 June. The forum was attended by over 90 delegates from more than 30 countries, including heads of debt management agencies, senior officials from finance ministries and treasurers of multi-lateral development banks.
2 The GBF was co-chaired by Mr Graeme Wheeler, Vice President and Treasurer of the World Bank and MAS' Assistant Managing Director Mr Ong Chong Tee. Mr Ong said, "We are delighted to host this year's GBF. The forum saw good discussions on a range of subjects, covering macroeconomic trends, retail bond strategies and risk management issues. It was also a good occasion for us to engage many of the existing and potential issuers, and to further showcase the Singapore market as an attractive funding source."
3 Mr Wheeler said, "The sessions in Singapore have been an excellent way for government finance officials from all over the world to experience first hand the dynamism of the rapidly-growing Asian capital markets. MAS has made this possible in a flawlessly organised set of meetings and Singapore officials have been especially generous in sharing their own experience as key participants in these markets."
4 Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Acting Minister for Education and Director on the Boards of MAS and the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC), was the guest-of-honour at the GBF luncheon. The Minister shared his perspectives on regional developments with GBF participants and spoke on the opportunities for issuers and investors in the Asian markets, including the Singapore bond market.
5 MAS also released details of its 2003 corporate debt survey.
6 The survey showed a healthy growth of the debt market in 2003 over 2002. Total amount of outstanding debt grew 16% to reach S$103 billion at end 2003.
7 The corporate bond market continues to grow in breadth and depth with a diversified range of supranationals, corporates, and financial institutions tapping the market. Investor sophistication has also increased as evidenced by the growing dominance of structured products in the Singapore dollar bond market.
The Government Borrowers Forum started as an informal discussion and exchange of experiences between the treasurers of the supranational issuers 20 years ago. Since then, it has been held annually, hosted by a different country each year.
Secretariat of GBF
As the Forum expanded, the World Bank took over the role as the Secretariat of the Forum. As its Secretariat, the World Bank Treasury invites the heads of the debt management agencies, or their equivalent at the Ministry of Finance or the Central Bank of sovereign issuers active in the international capital markets to attend. In addition, the Treasurers and directors of funding departments of the multilateral development banks are also invited each year.
The last time the GBF was held in Asia was in 1999 in Shanghai. Recent GBF host countries include:
South Africa (2002)