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|20 February, 2019

Egypt issues $4bln in foreign currency bonds - finance ministry

The issue attracted $21.5 billion in bids

A man walks past a currency exchange bureau advertisement showing an image of the U.S. dollar in Cairo, Egypt October 13, 2016. Image for illustrative purposes.

A man walks past a currency exchange bureau advertisement showing an image of the U.S. dollar in Cairo, Egypt October 13, 2016. Image for illustrative purposes.

REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

CAIRO- Egypt has issued $4 billion in dollar denominated bonds with maturities of five, 10 and 30 years in a sale that was five times oversubscribed, the Finance Ministry said on Wednesday.

The issue included $750 million in five-year bonds with a return of 6.2 percent, $1.75 billion in 10-year bonds with a return of 7.6 percent and 1.5 billion in 30-year bonds, with a return of 8.7 percent, the ministry said.

The issue attracted $21.5 billion in bids, the ministry said. The money raised will be used to finance the state budget, said Deputy Finance Minister Ahmed Kouchouk.

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Most bids were for longer maturity 10- and 30-year bonds, Kouchouk told Reuters, adding that he considered the yield on the bonds "very good" for Egypt, in line or lower than prevailing yields.

Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said Egypt will return to the international bond market before the end of the fiscal year in June to issue bonds in a currency other than the dollar.

Egypt struggled through years of political and economic turmoil after its 2011 uprising. It has borrowed heavily from abroad since it began an economic reform programme backed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in late 2016.

Allen Sandeep, head of research at Naeem Brokerage, estimated that as much as $13 billion in Egypt’s principal commitments for the 2019 calendar year are likely to be rolled over. The newly sold $4 billion in dollar-denominated bonds along with another $2-3 billion in non-dollar foreign currencies planned over the coming few months should be enough to cover the rest, he said.

"This year, total external debt dues amount to about $17 billion, is what we hear," Sandeep said. "For the rest, the issuance would provide a good cushion, making sure the reserve base remains stable, at the least."

(Reporting by Ehab Farouk and Patrick Werr; Writing by Aidan Lewis and Yousef Saba; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky) ((Yousef.Saba@thomsonreuters.com; +201222184730))

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