Egypt eyes Asian debt markets as tough foreign repayments schedule looms
Egypt is considering issuing bonds in currencies other than the euro and the US dollar after launching a roadshow in Asia, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait told Reuters yesterday, as the government steps up efforts to improve its debt structure. The minister met investors in Seoul last week and plans to continue the marketing trip to Singapore, Japan and Malaysia among other countries, Maait said in an interview on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings in the resort island of Bali.
Egypt raised €2bn in bonds in April, its first issue in the single currency, and is planning to sell more eurodenominated debt next year. Maait said response from the non-deal roadshow in South Korea was “very positive” and the government had been “advised to try to issue in Asia”.
“We are thinking about issuing in other currencies,” Maait said. “No decision has been made yet, but all options are open and we are considering it and we will make a decision in the near future.”
The plan comes amid efforts to rearrange Egypt’s debt structure as it faces a tough foreign repayments schedule over the next two years, as well as a rising oil import bill. At the same time, foreign holdings of its government debt have fallen due to outflows amid emerging market turbulence.
In July, the government said foreign holdings of Egyptian treasuries had fallen to $17.5bn at the end of June from $23.1bn three months earlier.