Egypt eyes Asian debt mar­kets as tough for­eign re­pay­ments sched­ule looms

Gulf Times Business - - BUSINESS -

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.

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