ISLAMABAD: Pakistan expects raising up to $1 billion from international capital market on Wednesday (today) through Eurobond launch in New York ahead of executive board meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

With this, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar is expected to return with at least $1.5bn later this month to deliver on his promise to raise the country’s foreign exchange reserves to the highest ever $21bn.

The forex reserves were recorded at $18.726bn on Sept 11, 2015, including $13.69bn held by the State Bank of Pakistan and $5bn by the commercial banks.

Dar left on Tuesday for New York to lead conclusion of a series of roadshows taking place over the past few days in London and a few major cities in the United States for the launch of Eurobond.

The shows began on Sept 18 from London as Secretary Finance Dr Waqar Masood and Governor SBP Ashraf Mahmood Wathra held marketing sessions with leading investors, representatives of leading banks, multinational companies and other financial institutions.

Second round of roadshows was held in Los Angeles and Boston this week. The concluding session on Sept 24 in New York would determine the pricing of the bond and based on market response and pricing, the government would decided the final size of the transaction.

On Sept 28, the IMF executive board is scheduled to take up Pakistan’s request for two waivers on non-compliance of committed targets to pave way for disbursement of $502 million tranche.

If approved, this will take total disbursement under the $6.6bn bailout package of 36 months to $4.55bn.

The government has estimated around Rs101bn as foreign inflows under Eurobonds during the current fiscal year ending June 2016. Budget documents suggest the government had targeted Rs49.5bn of Eurobonds in the last fiscal year but the transaction was delayed.

The government has been saying it planned raising $500m through Eurobonds as targeted for the current fiscal year but it would also like to make up for the postponed bond of last fiscal year, taking the total size of the bond to $1bn depending on pricing.

In April 2014, the government had raised $2bn through Eurobond, marking Pakistan’s re-entry into the international capital market after seven years. That transaction involved two bonds of $1bn each with separate maturity and mark up.

These included $1bn bond of five-year maturity and 7.5 per cent interest rate and $1bn of 10-year maturity and 8.5pc return. Informed sources said the finance minister was expecting improved market response and lower pricing on its second Eurobond launch in view of better economic indicators and improved credit rating.

Published in Dawn, September 23rd , 2015

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