The central government started issuing its first renminbi (RMB) sovereign bonds in Macau on Friday, and Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On said that the issuing marked a new phase of development for the city’s financial services.

Renminbi (“people’s currency”) is the official name of the yuan.

Chui made the remarks during a launching ceremony at Government Headquarters.

He said that the issuance of the bonds was a significant initiative not only in terms of speeding up the development of the financial infrastructure for a local securities market, but also in terms of advancing the progress of renminbi business in Macau.

Chui added that the bonds would appeal not only to corporate investors but would also provide the Macau public with an option for prudent investment.

Vice Finance Minister Zhou Jiayi said during the ceremony that the bonds were also a present from the central government to mark Macau’s return to the motherland.

“The close cooperation in fiscal and financial matters between the mainland and Macau will facilitate the Macau Special Administrative Region’s further integration into the country’s overall development, particularly in terms of contributing its strengths to the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area and the “Belt and Road Initiative”,” Zhou added.

The bonds with a face value of 2 billion yuan (2.33 billion patacas) are an initiative by the central government to reinforce Macau’s position as a financial services platform between China and Portuguese-speaking countries, a Macau Government Information Bureau (GCS) statement said.

The sale of a 300 million yuan, two-year retail portion at a 3.3 percent coupon began on Friday.

A local resident surnamed Chung told The Macau Post Daily at the Bank of China (BOC) Building during a ceremony that marked the start of the local sales of RMB sovereign bonds that “Macau residents do not have many investment opportunities since there are many financial products so the RMB sovereign bonds are a good investment and people can also support the nation by purchasing the bonds.”

Another resident surnamed U told The Macau Post Daily at the BOC ceremony that “while the yuan rate has been fluctuating in recent years, Macau and the mainland have a close relationship, if there are fluctuations in the future people can still use the renminbi on the mainland.”

The minimum amount for each resident’s investment in the renminbi bonds is 10,000 yuan (11,644. patacas). Only Macau ID card holders aged 18 or above can apply for the bonds.

The bonds have a 3.3-percent interest rate per annum with a two-year duration for local residents and 3.05-percent interest rate with a three-year duration for institutional investors.

Apart from the local BOC branch, the RMB sovereign bonds are also on sale in the local branches of Bank of Communications, ICBC, CGB and China Construction Bank, as well as BNU, Banco Luso International and BCM bank.

The bonds will be available until 5 p.m. on July 19