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Europe's corporate bond market shows signs of life

Europe's corporate bond market is showing a glimmer of hope for borrowers, as even the continent's beleaguered financial sector is finding a warmer welcome.

With markets in general a touch more optimistic to begin 2012, borrowers took advantage.

Wednesday was the busiest day for corporate bond sales in Europe in a year, and notably some of the issuance this week is coming from banks. So far this week, there's been a bit more than €10-billion of senior unsecured bonds sold by banks.

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"It's not a mad dash for cash by the non-financial corporate sector either, in order to take advantage of - and satisfy - a crazy investor grabfest, but we're seeing a steady addition of risk surprisingly across most of the corporate credit spectrum," said Suki Mann, a strategist at Societe Generale, in a note to clients.

Among the borrowers were automakers BMW and Renault. BMW sold bonds and had orders for almost three times what was on offer.

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