Lebanon plans to issue new eurobonds in 2017 under the British law in addition to the existing American law, Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil announced Monday.
The announcement came during a conference to prepare for the launching of eurobonds in 2017.
The meeting was attended by big international investment banks Barclays, J.P. Morgan, Citigroup, Commerzbank, Societe Generale, Natixis, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Nomura and Standard Chartered.
“From a legal point, the Lebanese state is currently preparing the launching of a new eurobond issue under the British law although the new program will not annul the issuance of the bonds under the state of New York law. The issuance of the bonds under the British law is more common in the region and was adopted by Tunisia and Egypt,” the minister told the bankers.
Khalil did not reveal the size of the eurobonds which will be launched in 2017 or the yields on these bonds.
He added that the new law will not affect Lebanon’s relations with American investors.
“The American investors will still be able to buy Lebanese bonds through companies linked to London as in the past,” Khalil said.
The minister reminded that the Lebanese state was able to issue $6.8 billion in eurobonds in 2015-16.
“We are optimistic about the success of the new issue in 2017 in the framework of wise administration of the public debt and extend the maturities of the bonds to benefit from the interest rates before they go higher.”
Khalil said that Lebanon is monitoring the U.S. Federal Reserve decisions concerning the interest rates in view of the political “ambiguity.”
He added that the U.S Federal Reserve has decided in its last meeting to keep the interest rates unchanged.
Lebanese bankers have warned that if the Federal Reserve agreed to raise the interest rate gradually over the next few years, the local lenders will have to follow suit.
Khalil assured that the economic indicators so far are positive.
He listed some of the measures adopted by the government which soothed the market such as the endorsement of the offshore gas decree that will pave the way for the licensing round.
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