January 14, 2019 / 7:31 AM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 2-Egypt yet to set details of Asian market bond issue - finance ministry

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Jan 14 (Reuters) - Egypt has not set a date for issuing bonds on the Asian market nor decided their amount and currency, the finance ministry said on Monday, a day after two government sources said $2 billion worth of yen-denominated papers would be offered in days.

Egypt has struggled to recover from years of turmoil after a 2011 uprising and has borrowed heavily from abroad since signing an International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan deal in 2016.

The value of the Asian market issue would be limited because its aim is to build a yield curve, the ministry said.

In its statement, the ministry added that it would complete a roadshow to promote Egypt’s international bonds in February with visits to Hong Kong, Taiwan and Gulf nations.

As part of the roadshow, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait visited Seoul in October.

Deputy Finance Minister Ahmed Kouchouk has also been to Japan, Singapore and China, the ministry said.

On Sunday, Maait said his ministry had received cabinet approval for $3 billion to $7 billion worth of foreign bond offers. He did not say what currency bonds would be sold in, though he said Egypt was looking “to diversify currencies, products and markets to find good financing alternatives”.

Egyptian officials have previously said Japanese yen and Chinese yuan were two of the currencies they were considering as the nation looks to vary from the euro and U.S. dollar.

Maait said in December that Egypt was aiming for at least two foreign currency bond issues in the first quarter of 2019.

Egypt’s foreign debt stood at $92.64 billion at the end of the financial year in June.

Its borrowing requirement for the repayment of external debt is $10.51 billion in the current financial year.

On Sunday, one government source said proceeds from a planned issue of so-called Samurai bonds in Japense yen would be used to repay debts of state oil company Egyptian General Petroleum Corp (EGPC). (Reporting by Ehab Farouk, Writing by Lena Masri; Editing by Jacqueline Wong, Louise Heavens and Andrew Cawthorne)

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