Africa bonds

The Zambian kwacha has been one of the weakest currencies against the US dollar this year, losing more than 8 per cent of its value against the world’s reserve currency during the past month alone.

Source: Thomson Reuters

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The discovery of oil and a rising consumer class had investors positive about Ghana’s growth story, holding up the west-African country as one of the frontier markets to invest in. But the recent broad sell-off in EMs has changed the mood about the country and exposed a slate of problems in need of resolution.

Source: Thomson Reuters

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Kenyan officials are on a round of investment meetings in London to discuss the country’s debut eurobond, pegged at $2bn, says the central bank. But market volatility is proving a nuisance and Kenya could be forced to delay the much-anticipated bond.

On Tuesday, analysts at Fitch Ratings said in a teleconference in London that the issue was unlikely to take place before April. Those remarks contrast with those of Kenyan officials, who reportedly said on Monday they were going ahead with plans to issue this month. So, is it going to happen? Continue reading »

Tapping bond markets is something of a trend for many African countries in the past year, including Gabon this month with a $1.5bn 10-year eurobond priced to yield 6.375 per cent.

But selling long-term debt is proving a hard game in east Africa, despite the presumable attractions of political stability and a favourable business environment. Interest costs for government securities are high, with long-term instruments maintaining yields of about 10 per cent or more, creating a growing concern for central banks. Continue reading »

Gabon joined the year’s rostrum of sovereign African eurobond issuers on Thursday with a 10 year “soft bullet” issue of $1.5bn priced to yield 6.375 per cent.

It follows comparable landmark issues over the past 15 months from Zambia, Rwanda, Nigeria and Ghana. So how does it stack up? Continue reading »

African growth is soaring away, as anyone who has looked at the IMF figures can tell you. Meanwhile, governments are able to tap the international debt markets, as investors are still willing to snap up bonds from established and first-time issuers.

So credit ratings should be on the up too, shouldn’t they? If debt is backed by growth, doesn’t credit risk decrease? Not so fast, says Standard and Poor’s. Continue reading »

What do you do when you get downgraded by a major credit rating agency, citing deteriorating government finances and macroeconomic policies that “could deter investment”?

Issue more debt! Or at least that’s the possible plan from Zambia, once a credit darling issuing a eurobond at 5.75 per cent (cheaper than Spain, as everyone noted at the time), but now rated just ‘B’ by Fitch after a downgrade on Monday. That’s the same level as on-the-brink Ukraine, and just one notch above Greece, Egypt and Argentina. Continue reading »

Florian von Hartig of Standard Bank

With nearly two months of the issuance calendar remaining until year end, African sovereign issuers have raised nearly double the amount of funding ($6.35bn) in the eurobond market compared to 2012.

While still representing a sliver of the total EM sovereign issuance in cross-border capital markets, African sovereigns – both seasoned and first-time issuers – are offering international fixed income investors a compelling investment case when confronted with insipid recovery and low rates offered from developed markets, lingering peripheral eurozone debt woes, and overall weariness towards undifferentiated traditional EM sovereign plays. Continue reading »

Less than three years since civil war erupted in Ivory Coast it’s back to business as usual. Growth rates are now among the highest in Africa and the west African nation is set to return to international capital markets as it looks to finance infrastructure projects and pay off debt. Continue reading »

Sometimes you get lucky – the International Finance Corporation certainly did when it picked Thursday to launch its first local currency bond in Zambia.

As the US Federal Reserve confounded analysts by announcing that it will keep its quantitative easing programme steady at $85bn a month, prompting a rally in emerging market assets, the private sector arm of the World Bank issued a $150m ($28.5m) kwacha-denominated note at 15 per cent. The four-year “Zambezi” bond is the first issued by a foreign organisation in Zambia’s domestic market, and will raise money for IFC’s local operations, officials told beyondbrics. Continue reading »

It’s a sign of the times. Ghana on Thursday raised $750m from the sale of 10-year eurobonds, but the deal did not come easy.

With investors more cautious about lending to frontier countries with shaky finances following June’s violent market rout, Ghana had to pay a premium to get the deal off the ground. Continue reading »

From the ‘hopeless’ to the ‘hopeful’ continent, a decade of strong growth has changed perceptions of sub-Saharan African economies – not least among international investors, who have rushed to recent Eurobond offerings from the likes of Zambia and Rwanda. Rubbing against the optimism though are criticisms that the growth achieved has been far from inclusive, with human development lagging behind. Chart of the week takes a look. Continue reading »

Alongside the riches, Ghana’s oil boom has also ushered in a string of woes, including huge infrastructure needs and the stubborn problem of rampant public expenditure. So, at a time when investors are displaying appetite for sub-Saharan African bonds, it’s little surprise then that the country is planning to issue a Eurobond worth up to $1bn. Continue reading »

By Dambisa Moyo

In my book Dead Aid I suggested that African governments could and should access the international capital markets to finance their development objectives such as infrastructure, healthcare and education. I argued that the relatively transparent global bond markets would help impose discipline on governments that were otherwise viewed by investors as reckless and, in many cases, corrupt. Critics argued that my suggestion was naive, and that African policy makers were ill-equipped to venture into the international debt markets.

Four years later, and African governments are proving the naysayers wrong. Continue reading »

In October last year, beyondbrics wrote of a sub-Saharan debt rush – partly based on Zambia’s successful issue, and on investors’ hunt for yield and diversification.

But now there is now talk of “original sin” – excessive borrowing in non-domestic currency; yields have increased and spreads have widened. What’s going on? Chart of the week takes a look. Continue reading »