Egyptian sovereign bonds deemed the best in 2010

Amr El Feki, Sunday 2 Jan 2011

2010's successful bonds issue recognized by international bodies as the Egyptian economy rated as the only one to experience expandsion in Africa and the Middle East


Egyptian bonds were awarded the title of "Best bonds in 2010 in Europe, Middle East and Africa" by International Financing Review (IFR), according to a press release.

Last April, the Egyptian government successfully issued $1.5 billion bonds in two categories. The first one has a maturity of 10 years while the second one is for 30 years. "The high demand on our bond is a 30-year trust vote on our economy," the prime minister commented at the time.

IFR awarded the Egyptian bonds as they succeeded in maintaining the level of prices and achieved profits for the investors in international stock markets, despite the Greek debt crisis which affected the global financial markets.

The pricing of the Egyptian bonds was within the indicators submitted by HSBC and Morgan Stanley, said Finance Minister Youssef Boutros Ghali.

The high reputation of the Egyptian bonds in the secondary market was not a surprise due to its high demand. The first category attracted $10.5 billion through 400 financial institutions while the second category attracted $3 billion from 175 institutions.

European investors acquired 47 per cent of the first category while Americans purchased almost 50 per cent of the second.

The issuing of Egyptian bonds were classified as one of the best three Initial Public Offerings implemented during the year in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa by Bond Radar which covers bond market news and analysis.

The $1.25 billion bonds issued by Dubai were rated as second best.

Among a world threatened by bad sovereign debts, Egyptian bonds succeeded as they were not affected by Greek debt crisis and investors were convinced that the Egyptian economy is strong.

The high interest rate on Egyptian bonds was a further incentive for them to be taken up.

The Egyptian economy was classed among the expanding economies in 2010 by Moody`s Corporation, which specializes in international financial research and analysis on commercial and government entities. Egypt was the only country to attain this class in Africa and the Middle East, ministry of finance advisor Sami Khalaf emphasized.

Moody`s classifies economies in terms of attractiveness to business owners into four types: recession, economy at risk, recovering and expanding.

Last month, Egypt's ministry of finance expected the economy to grow by 6.5 per cent in the financial year from July 2011, up from 5.1 per cent in the year that ended on 30 June 2010.

On the other hand, Ghali expected a budget deficit of 6.5 per cent of GDP in 2011-12.

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