Cairo: Egypt raised $3 billion (Dh11 billion) in a Eurobond sale on Wednesday, about twice as much as targeted and at lower cost than when the same bonds were first sold in January, suggesting foreign appetite for the country’s debt is growing as it makes economic reforms.
Egypt returned to international debt markets to cover its financing needs following its successful sale earlier this year of $4 billion in five-, 10- and 30-year bonds.
On Wednesday, it sold another $750 million of the five-year paper at a yield of 5.45 per cent, $1 billion of the 10-year bonds at 6.65 per cent and $1.25 billion of the 30-year bonds at 7.95 per cent.
Order books closed at $11 billion, a document issued by one of the banks leading the deal showed.
Egypt has sought to lure back foreign investors following a 2011 uprising that drove them away.
Finance Minister Amr Al Garhy said 80 per cent of the money raised from the bond sale came from North America and Europe, and that the proceeds would reach the central bank by May 31.
“This is a great success and shows confidence in the economy,” said one Cairo-based banker. “ ... This shows that there is very good sentiment on Egypt and expectations that yields could fall further in the future.” Egypt signed a three-year $12 billion International Monetary Fund programme in November attached to reforms including a value-added tax and subsidy cuts to curb the budget deficit, moves the IMF said would boost its fiscal position. Cairo is trying to cut the deficit to 9.1 per cent next year from an expected 10.9 per cent this year.
Al Garhy said the sale would be used to help meet the government’s financing needs for the fiscal year to June 2018 and that it could tap markets again next February or March.
The sale plus anticipated payments from foreign institutions “means we have largely succeeded in plugging the financing gap within the 2017-18 budget,” he said in a telephone interview.
Egypt has been negotiating billions of dollars in aid from various lenders to help revive an economy hit by political upheaval, and to ease a dollar shortage that has crippled imports and hampered its recovery.
“It’s positive overall,” said Reham Al Dessouki, an economist at Arqam Capital. “Investors see Egypt’s economic reforms having a positive impact on future economic growth and they perceive Egypt to be less risky then before.”
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