June 20, 2017 / 5:20 PM / in 7 months

RPT-Portugal has met Chinese authorities over renminbi bond - debt chief

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LONDON, June 20 (Reuters) - Portugal has met with Chinese authorities about a planned renminbi bond but has no firm timeline for the deal which would see it become the first euro zone state to sell debt in the currency, its debt chief said on Tuesday.

In order to take advantage of growing demand for its debt, Portugal’s finance minister Mario Centeno said last month that the country was soon planning to issue short-term bonds in yuan.

“As the finance minister highlighted the government is exploring the idea of Portugal to issue in renminbi and by doing so develop the onshore-renminbi market,” Cristina Casalinho said on the sidelines of a Euromoney conference in London.

“The minister had a roadshow in China in late April and early May...and engaged in some talks with local authorities in order to assess...this undertaking.”

Asked about whether such a bond could be issued by Portugal within the next year, Casalinho said there was no immediate timeline.

“We have to see, these kind of projects take time,” she said. “For us, if this project goes through it would be a novelty. It would involve new documentation, a completely new investor base and we’d also be front runners of this trend.” (Reporting by Dhara Ranasinghe; Editing by John Geddie)

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