Japan Inc. Sells Record Short Bonds Amid BOJ Tightening Bets

Japanese companies are selling record amounts of short-term bonds, a sign they’re bracing for the likelihood that the central bank will dismantle its ultra-low interest rate policy.

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Issuance of yen corporate notes due in five years or less reached an unprecedented 7.4 trillion yen ($56 billion) in the fiscal year ended March 31, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That came as sales of Japanese debt maturing in longer than five years during the period fell to 5.4 trillion yen, the least since fiscal 2015.

The rush to issue shorter notes reflects market speculation that the Bank of Japan under new governor Kazuo Ueda will put an end to a decade of super-easy policy, a move that will likely hit longer debt especially hard. If the BOJ tightens credit, it would be joining central banks around the world that have pushed up interest rates to try to tame rapid inflation.

Sales of corporate bonds due in five years or less globally decreased 16% in the year to March 31. But that’s a slower pace of decline than the 28% reduction in overall company note sales worldwide, as accelerating inflation and higher interest rates triggered routs in debt markets.

In Japan, issuance of shorter company notes jumped 179% in the January-March quarter as the government announced the surprise nomination of Ueda as BOJ governor. Companies including internet firm Rakuten Group Inc. and automaker Nissan Motor Co. hurried to raise yen funds.

The Nikkei newspaper reported the jump in yen company note sales earlier Sunday, citing data from I-N Information Systems Ltd.

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