Egypt yet to set details of Asian market bond issue: finance ministry

Proceeds from the issue of so-called Samurai bonds would be used to repay debts of state oil company Egyptian General Petroleum Corp. (AFP)
Updated 14 January 2019
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Egypt yet to set details of Asian market bond issue: finance ministry

  • Egypt plans to issue $2 billion worth of Japanese yen-denominated bonds
  • Egypt would complete a roadshow to promote its international bonds in February

CAIRO: 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 US 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 Japanese yen would be used to repay debts of state oil company Egyptian General Petroleum Corp.


Filipino remittances from the Middle East down 15.3% in 2018

Updated 56 min 13 sec ago
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Filipino remittances from the Middle East down 15.3% in 2018

  • Cash remittances from OFWs in Saudi Arabia fell 11.1 percent last year to $2.23 billion from $2.51 billion previously
  • Personal remittances are a major driver of domestic consumption

DUBAI: Money sent home by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Middle East went down 15.3 percent to $6.62 billion in 2018 from $7.81 billion a year earlier, latest government data shows.
Lower crude prices, which affected most OFW host countries in the region, the job nationalization schemes of Gulf states and a deployment ban last year of household service workers to Kuwait were the primary reasons for the decline, a reversal from the 3.4 percent remittance growth recorded in 2017.
A government study has noted that Saudi Arabia was the leading country of destination for OFWs, with more than a quarter of Filipinos being deployed there at any given time, together with the United Arab Emirates (15.3 percent), Kuwait (6.7 percent) and Qatar (5.5 percent).
Cash remittances from OFWs in Saudi Arabia fell 11.1 percent last year to $2.23 billion from $2.51 billion a year before; down 19.9 percent to $2.03 billion in the UAE from $2.54 billion in 2017; 14.5 percent lower in Kuwait to $689.61 million from $806.48 million and 9.2 percent down in Qatar to $1 billion in 2018, from $1.1 billion a year earlier.
The Philippine government issued a deployment ban for Kuwait early last year, and lasted for five months, after a string of reported deaths and abuses on Filipino workers in the Gulf state.
OFW remittances from Oman, which implemented a job nationalization program like that of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, dove 33.8 percent to $228.74 million in 2018 from $345.41 million a year before. In Bahrain, cash sent by Filipinos rose 2.2 percent to $234.14 million last year from $229.02 million previously.
Meanwhile, overall OFW remittances grew 3 percent year-on-year to $32.2 billion, the highest annual level to date.
“The growth in personal remittances during the year was driven by remittance inflows from land-based OFs with work contracts of one year or more and remittances from both sea-based and land-based OFs with work contracts of less than one year,” the Philippine central monetary authority said.
Personal remittances are a major driver of domestic consumption and in 2018 accounted for 9.7 percent of the Philippines’ gross domestic product.