Ivory Coast Is Said to Revisit Offshore Local-Currency Bond

Ivory Coast will revisit plans to issue local-currency bonds to foreign investors in 2019 as the West African nation seeks to diversify its investor base, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The government is keen to market CFA franc-denominated securities to overseas investors to create confidence in the euro-pegged currency and entice foreign participation in future local sales, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

Following a sale of 1.7 billion euros ($2 billion) in bonds in March, the world’s top cocoa grower didn’t follow through on its plans for this year to sell local-currency bonds offshore after assessing there won’t be sufficient demand, said the people. Government spokesman Sidi Toure declined to comment when contacted by phone.

Ivory Coast is budgeting to raise 1.4 trillion francs ($2.5 billion) in debt in 2019, from 1.3 trillion francs this year, said the people. The government is considering selling more securities in U.S. dollars and euros, even though it wants to issue most of its offshore requirements in the local currency, said the people.

While Ivory Coast’s euro-denominated issuance this year was the largest in the common currency by an African government since at least the start of this century, a new auction will come at a time when rising U.S. rates and an ongoing trade war between the world’s biggest economies are curbing investor appetite for risky assets. The average yield on dollar bonds of African sovereigns climbed more than 190 basis points this year, according to a Standard Bank Group Ltd. index.

Ivory Coast’s public-sector debt was 42.7 percent of gross domestic product at the end of 2017, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Bloomberg

News Reporter
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