International CMBS issuance in the third quarter of 2001 continued at the same strong pace set during the previous quarter. The emergence of repeat issuers in Europe, Japan, and Canada has developed the necessary infrastructure to accommodate ever greater issuance volume. But even more important, investor comfort with and growing knowledge of the product continues to build a voracious appetite for international CMBS. A $20 billion total in international CMBS issuance for a calendar year is now a likelihood few considered possible even 18 months ago.
In total, Standard & Poor's issued ratings for 14 international transactions involving over $5.8 billion of debt. While Europe again led the way with five transactions that accounted for nearly 75% of international issuance, signs of life finally emerged in the Japanese CMBS market after a sleepy first half. In Japan, Standard & Poor's assigned ratings during the third quarter to four issuances whose rated debt surpassed $1 billion. Even Canada and Australia got into the act, with each country closing two transactions in this period.