China’s Ministry of Railways (MoR) plans to issue up to US$15.6 billion in corporate bonds by the end of the year, an increase over last year’s US$12.5 billion, Reuters reported, citing three anonymous sources. MoR, one of China’s largest borrowers on the bond market, has already issued short-term notes this year, but it is preparing for its first issuance of long-term debt since last year. The first tranche will likely be for US$4.7 billion, to be issued in September, with maturities of seven and 20 years. China International Capital Corp and Guotai Jinan Securities are expected to act as underwriters. The timing of the issuance is a challenge for MoR: it follows revelations of widespread quality problems with China’s high-speed rail network. Wu Zezhi, an analyst at Orient Securiites, said that yields have risen on the Ministry’s debt, effectively downgrading MoR’s credit rating to AAA from AAA+. MoR reported total liabilities at the end of June at US$330 billion, making its liability-to-asset ratio 59%.