$2 billion Eurobond issue by Ministry of Finance underway. Move comes amid improvement in bond prices - Lebanon

$2 billion Eurobond issue
by Ministry of Finance underway
Move comes amid improvement in bond prices
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The Ministry of Finance (MoF) plans to issue bonds in foreign currencies (Eurobonds) worth nearly $2 billion, said Minister of Finance Ali Hassan Khalil.

“Very soon we will start preparing concrete steps for the issue,” Khalil said.

He said that that the government is in talks with friendly countries regarding their possible subscription to the planned Eurobond issue.

According to Khalil, the interest rate on the new Eurobond issue has not been set yet. He said that it will be in line with market rates and will be much lower than the 14.7 percent claimed by an international press outlet, especially as recent positive developments are being reflected by an improvement in the prices of existing Eurobonds.

The prices of Lebanese Eurobonds jumped on global markets on Wednesday following a statement by Saudi Minister of Finance Mohammed al-Jadaan that his country is in talks with the government about providing financial support to Lebanon.

Al-Jadaan said that his country remains committed to Lebanon and continues to place money in Lebanon and support it. He said they are working with the Lebanese government for this purpose.

The price of the 2037 issue of the dollar-denominated bonds increased by 1.9 cents, to 64.88 cents per dollar. The 2029 issue rose 1.8 cents to 64.00 cents in the dollar.

Khalil said that Prime Minister Saad Hariri is visiting Saudi Arabia to follow up on the matter and that the Kingdom’s support could take any form, such as a subscription to Eurobonds or a deposit with the Central Bank to boost its foreign currency assets.

The Minister of Finance said that Lebanon continues to remain committed to settling all its financial obligations on time whether they are internal or external, in lira or in foreign currencies.

He said that the country has enough foreign currency reserves to meet its needs and that the dollar is available in banks at the official price. According to Khalil, more than 95 percent of dollar transactions are carried out through banks.
Reported by Shikrallah Nakhoul
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Date Posted: Sep 19, 2019