Friday, September 14, 2018

Treasurer Charles Abel returns from sovereign bond roadshow

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, Charles Abel returned to Port Moresby yesterday after leading the international roadshow to market Papua New Guinea's inaugural (first ever) sovereign bond.

The DPM and delegation covered Singapore, Hong Kong, London, New York, Boston and Los Angeles in 10 days.

The PNG delegation (right) at one of the meetings

 In a packed schedule arranged by global lead coordinator Credit Suisse and joint bookrunners Citibank the delegation presented to around 100 global banks and fund managers at seven meetings per city.

"Our international partners have done a fantastic job in arranging meeting and providing advice," Abel said.

"The interest has been really good with full meetings including all the major players.

"Everyone is interested in the PNG story.

"The market for emerging market or frontier market bonds has been rattled recently by the Turkey and Argentina economic problems but we believe PNG has a strong case regardless.

"We are looking at a five year or 10-year benchmark minimum issue of US$500m.

"This is the minimum amount to qualify for the Emerging Market Bond Index and facilitate participation in the secondary market after issuance.

"Now that the roadshow is concluded we will field offers for amounts and pricing (interest rates) before making a final decision to sell the bonds.

"Of the potential proceeds, $200m will go into operation and capital costs and $300m will convert short term (less than 12 months) domestic debt into long term debt.

"This will better balance our loan book and bring in foreign exchange.

"PNG will be looking to establish its brand and yield curve in the international market for the future.

"Since the 2017 Supplementary Budget our Government through the 25 Point Plan has put revenue to GDP on an upward path from 12 per cent of GDP to 16 per cent.

"Fiscal deficits are in a downward trajectory from 6 per cent to 2.4 per cent.

"Debt to GDP is a prudent level of 32 per cent.

" International reserves are stabilised at US$1.7 billion, being 10 months of non mining import cover, and the forex market is coming back to balance. 

"We are working on constraining our wage bill and interest costs.

"Oil prices are recovering well and we are negotiating the Papua LNG, Pynyang LNG and Wafi Golpu projects.

"There are good times ahead for PNG if we remained focused and work hard."

Abel was accompanied by Governor of the Central Bank Loi Bakani, Secretary for Treasury Dairi Vele, Vice Minister and Tambul Nebilyer MP Win Daki and Finschhafen MP Rainbo Paita.

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