Egypt yet to set details of Asian market bond issue: finance ministry

Proceeds from the issue of so-called Samurai bonds would be used to repay debts of state oil company Egyptian General Petroleum Corp. (AFP)
Updated 14 January 2019

Egypt yet to set details of Asian market bond issue: finance ministry

  • Egypt plans to issue $2 billion worth of Japanese yen-denominated bonds
  • Egypt would complete a roadshow to promote its international bonds in February

CAIRO: Egypt has not set a date for issuing bonds on the Asian market nor decided their amount and currency, the finance ministry said on Monday, a day after two government sources said $2 billion worth of yen-denominated papers would be offered in days.

Egypt has struggled to recover from years of turmoil after a 2011 uprising and has borrowed heavily from abroad since signing an International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan deal in 2016.

The value of the Asian market issue would be limited because its aim is to build a yield curve, the ministry said.

In its statement, the ministry added that it would complete a roadshow to promote Egypt’s international bonds in February with visits to Hong Kong, Taiwan and Gulf nations.

As part of the roadshow, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait visited Seoul in October.

Deputy Finance Minister Ahmed Kouchouk has also been to Japan, Singapore and China, the ministry said.

On Sunday, Maait said his ministry had received cabinet approval for $3 billion to $7 billion worth of foreign bond offers. He did not say what currency bonds would be sold in, though he said Egypt was looking “to diversify currencies, products and markets to find good financing alternatives.”

Egyptian officials have previously said Japanese yen and Chinese yuan were two of the currencies they were considering as the nation looks to vary from the euro and US dollar.

Maait said in December that Egypt was aiming for at least two foreign currency bond issues in the first quarter of 2019.

Egypt’s foreign debt stood at $92.64 billion at the end of the financial year in June.

Its borrowing requirement for the repayment of external debt is $10.51 billion in the current financial year.

On Sunday, one government source said proceeds from a planned issue of so-called Samurai bonds in Japanese yen would be used to repay debts of state oil company Egyptian General Petroleum Corp.


Lebanon plunged into ‘deliberate depression’: World Bank

Updated 01 December 2020

Lebanon plunged into ‘deliberate depression’: World Bank

  • The fall 2020 edition of the Lebanon Economic Monitor predicted the economy will have contracted by 19.2 percent this year
  • Lebanon’s economy started collapsing last year as a result of years of corrupt practices and mismanagement

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s economy is sinking into a “deliberate depression,” the World Bank said Tuesday in a damning report stressing the authorities’ failure to tackle the crisis.
The fall 2020 edition of the Lebanon Economic Monitor predicted the economy will have contracted by 19.2 percent this year and projected a debt-to-GDP ratio of 194 percent next year.
“A year into Lebanon’s severe economic crisis, deliberate lack of effective policy action by authorities has subjected the economy to an arduous and prolonged depression,” a World Bank statement said.
Lebanon’s economy started collapsing last year as a result of years of corrupt practices and mismanagement.
The crisis was made worse by a nationwide wave of anti-government protests that paralyzed the country late last year and the Covid-19 pandemic this year.
The August 4 Beirut port blast, one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history, brought the country to its knees and further fueled public distrust.
“Lebanon is suffering from a dangerous depletion of resources, including human capital, with brain drain becoming an increasingly desperate option,” the World Bank warned.
In 2020, Lebanon defaulted on its debt, banks imposed capital controls and inflation has reached triple-digit rates, dragging the country into its worst ever economic crisis.
Instead of taking emergency measures to rescue the economy, Lebanon’s political elite has continued to dither and bicker.
The previous government headed by Hassan Diab failed to adopt ambitious policies to tackle the crisis. It resigned under pressure over the blast nearly four months ago and a new cabinet has yet to be formed.
“Lack of political consensus on national priorities severely impedes Lebanon’s ability to implement long-term and visionary development policies,” said Saroj Kumar Jha, World Bank regional director.
He called for the quick formation of a new government capable of implementing short-term emergency measures and addressing long-term structural challenges.
“This is imperative to restore the confidence of the people of Lebanon,” he said.
An annual index compiled by Gallup that tracks people’s experience of stress and sadness said “no other country in the world saw negative experiences skyrocket across the board as much as Lebanon.”
The Negative Experience Index’s data was collected before the Beirut port blast, Lebanon’s worst ever peace time disaster.