Pakistan raises $2.5 bln from sukuk, Eurobond sales, sees solid demand

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan raised $2.5 billion from the sale of two U.S. dollar-denominated sukuk and Eurobond issues in New York, a senior official said on Thursday.

The issues had attracted total offers of $8 billion.

However, Pakistani authorities decided to sell only $2.5 billion at “affordable rates”, one official who was part of official delegation for launching the bonds told Reuters.

“We have raised $1 billion through five-year sukuk at rate of 5.625 percent and $1.5 billion from a 10-year Eurobond maturity at a rate of 6.875 percent,” Federal Secretary Finance Shahid Mehmood said.

The deals were the largest in the country’s history, and the 10-year bond was the cheapest bond ever launched by Pakistan, said Mifta Ismail, the economic advisor to the prime minister who is leading Pakistan’s delegation for launching bonds.

Pakistan last year borrowed $1 billion in the global sukuk market at 5.5 percent. It also floated a 10-year, $500 million Eurobond at 8.25 percent in 2015.

The government had arranged road shows at Dubai, London, Boston and New York this week.

The government appointed a consortium of Standard Chartered Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Citibank, Deutsche Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank and Noor Bank as lead managers for conducting the sukuk transactions.

It delegated Noor Bank to manage the sukuk bond in the Middle East.

The bond issuance will offer some respite to an alarming balance of payment situation due to a widening current account deficit.

The current account deficit swelled to $12.439 billion, equivalent to 4 percent of GDP, in fiscla year 2017, much above the 1.7 percent in fiscal 2016.

The state bank has projected a current account deficit of 4-5 percent of GDP for the current fiscal year.

Pakistan’s total foreign currency reserves stood at $19.7 billion, with the State Bank of Pakistan holding $13.5 billion and commercial banks $6.169 billion as of Nov. 17.

(Writing by Kay Johnson; Editing by Kim Coghill)

Source: Salaam Gateway.

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