Kazakh finance minister confirms return to international debt market

By bne IntelliNews May 13, 2013

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The Kazakh government is planning to return to international markets later this year, Finance Minister Bolat Zhamishev said on May 10. He confirmed that Astana is planning to raise up to $1bn with a sovereign Eurobond issue, in order to set a new benchmark more than a decade after its last external debt issue.

Speaking at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) annual meeting in Istanbul, Zhamishev pointed out that Kazakhstan has one of the lowest public debt ratio of any emerging markets economy. "In 2013 we would like to go back to the borrowing market and I think that we will probably borrow up to $1bn, it will be in US dollars," Zhamishev said, Reuters reported.

"We are going to the external markets not for money but for credit, for loans, for benchmarks and in order to make ourselves present in this market." The government has already started looking at banks to work on the deal, Zhamishev added.

Zhamishev previously said on January 29 that the government was considering a return to international bond markets, and that sovereign Eurobonds worth KZT150bn ($996m) would be issued in the first half of the year, if market conditions were favourable. It's more than a decade since the Kazakh government's last Eurobond issue. Astana issued a $350m bond in 2000, which was redeemed in 2007.

However, state owned oil and gas company KazMunaiGas raised $3bn through a two-part bond issue in April. KMG announced on May 2 that the offer had been over-subscribed, with offers of $14bn received and orders placed by more than 350 investors.

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