Firms in Asia have been selling bonds at record pace amid fears that the eurozone crisis will deepen and funding will dry up, The Wall Street Journal reported. Bonds issued by blue-chip companies across the Asia-Pacific, excluding Japan, have already reached a total of US$14 billion this year. The figure for all of 2011 was US$6 billion, which itself was an unusually strong year for bond issues. “Companies are looking to take the money while it’s there,” said Gordon French, head of Global Markets Asia Pacific at HSBC. “No one is even pretending that it isn’t because of worries over Europe.” Companies are increasingly favoring bond issues over loans, as they offer longer terms and funding costs are coming down. “In the five-year maturity, even with strong relationships with lenders, there is now only a marginal difference between the relative funding costs in the bond and loan market,” said Jon Pratt at Barclays Capital.