HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong and Chinese regulators are set to formally unveil a long-awaited scheme to connect China's $8 trillion bond market with overseas investors in July, with the launch expected in the Autumn, sources told Reuters.
The announcement is planned to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the handover of the former British Colony from British to Chinese rule, which is considered by the Chinese authorities to be an auspicious date, two people briefed on the matter said.
Plans for a "Bond Connect" programme have been percolating since Beijing launched a scheme allowing two-way trading between the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock markets in 2014, but the authorities have provided few details on the mechanics or the timeline.
Historically, the Chinese government has announced major projects with Hong Kong around the time of the July 1 anniversary, as a means of reinforcing the former British Colony's close relationship with the mainland.
Market participants in Hong Kong said they were preparing for the scheme to go-live around November, which would coincide with the third anniversary of the launch of the Hong Kong-Shanghai Stock Connect share trading scheme.
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority, Hong Kong's bond market regulator, said in a statement it was working with the mainland authorities on the Bond Connect scheme and would make an announcement in due course. The People's Bank of China declined to comment.
The sources did not elaborate on the details of the Bond Connect scheme, but Reuters reported last year the Hong Kong stock exchange was in talks with Tradeweb, a fixed income trading platform, to connect to China's over-the-counter bond market, citing sources.
"HKEX is progressing with the preparatory work for Bond Connect under the guidance of the Mainland and Hong Kong authorities," a spokesman for the HKEX said.
"An announcement will be made by the relevant parties at an appropriate time."
Reporting by Michelle Price; Editing by Sam Holmes