July 22, 2020 / 2:24 PM / in 21 days

UPDATE 1-Ukraine returns to bond market after new central bank governor appointed

(Adds quotes, details, background)

KYIV/LONDON, July 22 (Reuters) - The Ukrainian government said on Wednesday it would relaunch a Eurobond issue this week after being forced to postpone a $1.75 billion sale at the start of July, when the surprise resignation of the central bank governor rattled investors.

Ukraine has hired international banks to organise the issuance of a Eurobond denominated in U.S. dollars and will also announce an exchange programme for outstanding Eurobonds maturing in 2021 and 2022, the finance ministry said in a statement.

Governor Yakiv Smoliy quit at the start of July complaining of “systematic political pressure”.

New governor Kyrylo Shevchenko was installed last week, promising to keep the central bank free from political meddling. Bonds rallied on his appointment, although investors said much depended on how independent Shevchenko actually proved to be.

Ukraine’s dollar-denominated sovereign bonds rose again on Wednesday, with some rising by their most since before parliament approved Shevchenko.

“I haven’t seen the pricing yet but probably they will have to pay a few basis points more (as a result of the central bank drama), but not too much,” said Viktor Szabo at Aberdeen Standard Investments.

“If you think back, the book size was $6.5-$7 billion originally for the new money. So people wanted to buy then and I guess they will want to buy now, there hasn’t been that much of a deterioration in the situation.”

The central bank held a call with investors this week ahead of the Eurobond sale.

“During yesterday’s investor call, the new CB governor stressed the continuation of CB independence, and the goals of price and financial stability remain unchanged,” said Richard House, CIO emerging market debt at Allianz Global Investors.

“The episode was unfortunate, but doesn’t derail the overall positive Ukraine story.”

Ukraine wants to raise debt on the back of securing a $5 billion loan deal from the International Monetary Fund that the government touts as a signal of its commitment to reforms while it battles an economic slump caused by the coronavirus.

“Ukraine also plans to launch tomorrow, on Thursday, 23rd July 2020, an accelerated switch tender offer for certain of Ukraine’s existing notes due 2021 and 2022 up to $750 million in conjunction with the issuance of new notes,” the finance ministry said. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk in Kyiv and Tom Arnold and Marc Jones in London; Writing by Matthias Williams; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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