Syndicated lending in the Asia Pacific region excluding Japan reached $144.6 billion in the first six months of 2011, up 15 percent on the same period last year, according to Thomson Reuters LPC data.
This was the highest half-yearly volume in five years as Asia shrugged off any potential ill effects from the euro zone crisis.
A second-quarter volume of $74.7 billion and 220 deals was up 8 percent on the $69 billion and 221 deals seen in the first quarter and just under the $77.8 billion seen a year ago.
Japanese lending increased despite worries of a slowdown after March’s catastrophic earthquake. Second-quarter lending was 30.5 percent up year-on-year at $53.5 bilion, taking the Japanese loan volume for the first half to $137 billion.
Japan apart, Australia was Asia Pacific’s most active loan market in the six months, with a 59 percent rise in volume on a year ago to $36 billion.
Hong Kong was close behind, with a 33 percent rise in volume to $29.3bn as Chinese companies continued to raise funds offshore.
Singapore was the third-largest market with volumes nearly trebling to $20.9 billion from $7.7 billion in the first half of 2010.
Refinancing activity accounted for 45 percent of all Asian lending and a refinancing volume of $65.5 billion maintaining 2010′s momentum.
Many Asian companies refinanced early this year to avoid a refinancing cliff in 2012 which stems from a large number of 2007 deals that mature next year.
Lending to back mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity was minimal with only $14.2 billion of acquisition loans closing in the first half, showing a 16 percent increase from $12.2 billion in the first half of 2010.
Australia had the highest regional M&A loan volume of $10.8 billion, and the remainder came from India, Thailand, Taiwan and New Zealand.
The biggest Asian loan of the second quarter was the $6.8 billion corporate loan for Japan Oil Gas & Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC). Outside Japan, the biggest loan was the $5 billion loan for China’s Sinopec.
ANZ topped the Asia Pacific (ex-Japan) mandated arranger league table in the first half of the year with $10.7 billion of loans and 112 deals, closely followed by Bank of China with $10 billion of loans and 42 deals.