Nigeria May Raise Cash in International Debt Markets in Q1’ 2020

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(Bloomberg) — Nigeria may offer Eurobonds as early as the first quarter of next year after staying out of international debt markets this year.

“We have to do it quickly because we want to make sure we have enough funds for the implementation of the budget,” Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed said in an interview on the sidelines of a regional International Monetary Fund conference in Dakar, Senegal, on Monday.

The amount the government offers will be determined by how much it raises from concessional lenders such as the African Development Bank, she said. “What we’re not able to get in concessionary loans, we’ll go for the commercial window. Eurobond is one option.”

Africa’s top oil producer issued a record $10.7 billion of international bonds in 2018, and some investors were betting it would sell more this year to cover its widening budget deficit. The nation’s debt management office in October ruled out further sales in 2019.

Years of low interest rates in developed countries have bolstered demand for emerging-market debt. African nations issued a record amount of Eurobonds last year, raising worries about their capacity to repay ballooning debt costs.

Yields on Nigeria’s $1.5 billion of debt due August 2047 rose 8 basis points to 8.29% by 12:38 p.m. in London on Tuesday, compared with 7.63% when they were issued two years ago.

Nigeria’s economy is expected to expand 2% this year, a far cry from average growth of 7% a year in the decade prior to its recession in 2016. Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in September it expected the government to issue at least $2.6 billion in Eurobonds in the last quarter of the year, before the state ruled out further borrowing for this year.

In the past week, President Muhammadu Buhari brought an old request to borrow about $30 billion in foreign loans before parliament. The senate rejected Buhari’s external borrowing plans, which covered 2016 through 2018, when it was first presented three years ago.

(Updates bond prices in second paragraph after chart)

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