Jordan to issue eurobonds next week

AMMAN –– Finance Minister Umayya Toukan on Sunday said that the government is set to issue the US-guaranteed eurobonds on international markets on October 28, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

Briefing the Cabinet on his meetings with US officials during his recent visit to Washington to take part in the International Monetary Fund (IMF)-World Bank annual meetings earlier this month, Toukan did not give details on the amount of the first bond issue but indicated that the government plans another issuance of eurobonds worth $750 million next year, Petra said.

Jordan originally planned to issue the bonds in mid-October.

The minister blamed the delay on the budget shutdown of the US government early this month after the Congress rejected a bill to lift the US debt limit.

Officials have said in previous remarks to The Jordan Times that the US guarantees of government bonds on international markets will reduce the Kingdom’s borrowing costs, indicating that the guarantees could reach $2 billion to finance the deficit in the state budget.

The loan guarantees were announced during US President Barack Obama’s visit to Jordan in March, when he also announced a $200 million in additional aid for 2013.

Toukan also briefed the Council of Ministers, during Sunday’s meeting headed by Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour, on his talks with IMF officials regarding Jordan’s economic performance and fiscal situation under the 2013-2018 economic reform programme implemented in cooperation with the international financial agency.

He noted that IMF will allocate $258 million for Jordan after its executive board agreed last week to dispense the third tranche of its “Stand-By Arrangement” (SBA) loan.

The Kingdom secured this approval after the conclusion of the second review discussions.

Jordan’s 36-month SBA was approved on August 3, 2012 for about $2.06 billion to support the national programme of economic reforms aimed at maintaining macroeconomic stability and improving fiscal and external positions, while protecting the vulnerable segments of the population and fostering stronger and more inclusive growth.

Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Ibrahim Saif, who was also in Washington, indicated that he discussed with US officials the renewal of the economic aid agreement between Jordan and the US to cover 2015-2019 and ways to increase economic assistance to $1 billion.

Under the current economic assistance accord, which will expire in September 2014, the US provides Jordan with nearly $360 million in financial aid.

The US also offers military aid worth $300 million a year.

Saif noted that he also discussed with World Bank executives a loan agreement of $250 million, adding that Jordan and Japan are expected to sign a $120 million soft loan agreement before the end of this year.

Jordan Times
October 21, 2013