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Central Asia’s once isolated states are increasingly seeking foreign money to kick start their economies.26 February 2018
Following Tajikistan’s international bond sale last year, Uzbekistan is planning to offer up to $300 million worth of euro- or dollar-denominated government bonds this year.
Uzbekistani Finance Minister Djamshid Kuchkarov told Bloomberg there is a “high chance” of a bond sale this year, after Citigroup agreed to help the country obtain a sovereign credit rating.
Uzbekistan’s larger economy and substantial export markets for gold, gas, and cotton could make it a more attractive choice than Tajikistan, one of Asia’s least developed countries, Bloomberg says. The currency has held steady against the dollar since a steep devaluation in September, when the exchange rate was loosened.
Investors who bought Tajik bonds when they were issued in September have lost about 2.8 percent, Bloomberg estimates. Tajikistan was rated “highly speculative” by both S&P and Moody’s last year.
The Tajik sale, and a smaller Belarusian bond issue, marked an uptick in investor interest in high-yield bonds from the former Soviet Union last year, although, The Diplomat writes, “Demand is clearly higher than the offer, but there is also a question of fickle yields and risk of nonpayment,” particularly by Tajikistan in the case of a delay in the Rogun hydropower project.
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