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|17 October, 2018

Egypt plans to issue international sovereign sukuk in 2019-2020

Egypt is aiming to issue about $20bln in foreign denominated bonds by 2022.

Finance Minister Mohamed Maait speaks during a news conference in Cairo, Egypt July 5, 2018.

Finance Minister Mohamed Maait speaks during a news conference in Cairo, Egypt July 5, 2018.

REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

CAIRO - Egypt plans to issue its first international sovereign sukuk, or Islamic bonds, in the 2019-2020 financial year, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait told Reuters on Wednesday.

Maait did not give the size of the planned offering. Egypt is aiming to issue about $20 billion in foreign currency-denominated bonds by 2022.

Issuing sukuk could allow Egypt to attract a new class of investor as it implements a three-year IMF-backed economic reform programme agreed in late 2016.

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The country has borrowed heavily from abroad since then and faces a tough repayment schedule and a rising bill for oil imports.

Egypt's foreign debt stood at $92.64 billion at the end of June, an increase of 17.2 percent from the previous year.

Egyptian officials have previously announced their intention to issue Islamic bonds, but the plans did not materialise.

(Reporting by Ehab Farouk Writing by Aidan Lewis Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg) ((Aidan.Lewis@tr.com; +20-1001174410;))