Though not likely to top the phenomenal, 79% volume increase of 1999, the international asset-backed securities market is expected to show substantial growth this year, in the 35% range, according to a recent report by Moody's Investor Service.

Moody's expects international term issuance, both public and private, to reach $182 billion.

"European ABS volumes grew 84% in 1999," said Brian Clarkson, group managing director at Moodys. "Strong growth in the UK, the largest European market, was accompanied by dramatic growth in Italy and the Netherlands. European issuance of CMBS and CDOs also took off in 1999."

It's no surprise Standard & Poor's Ratings Service shares the sentiment. "General European ABS volume will absolutely go up," said Kurt Sampson, an analyst in S&P's London-based structured finance rating s group. "It's fair to say that the major European investors are very interested in the European investor base; it is a massive market because the Euro is such a huge currency. The demand in Europe for the paper is very high right now."

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