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Categorized | Capital Markets

Argentina plans euro-denominated issue

Posted on September 22, 2016

Argentine President Mauricio Macri gestures at the end of the last session of the Argentina Business and Investment Forum in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on September 15, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / EITAN ABRAMOVICHEITAN ABRAMOVICH/AFP/Getty Images©AFP

Mauricio Macri

Argentina is planning to sell its first euro-denominated bond in more than a decade as the reformist government of president Mauricio Macri takes advantage of low borrowing costs and investors scramble for richer yields.

The government has hired BBVA, BNP Paribas and Credit Suisse to help market the debt on a roadshow that begins next week and will visit London, Germany, Paris, Amsterdam and Milan.

    Efforts to tap the eurobond market come almost six months after Argentina sold a $16.5bn dollar bond, the largest ever issue from a developing economy and a stunning return to the international debt market for the Latin American country after a 15-year exile.

    “There is definitely the argument that where rates are in Europe, investors in Europe who traditionally would not have looked at LatAm . . . are now more or less forced to,” said a banker familiar with the deal.

    The maturity and possible pricing of the debt have yet to be decided. April’s dollar bond, which came at several maturities, followed an agreed $4.65bn cash payment for “holdout” creditors, including Elliott Management, who refused to restructure debt after the 2001 default.

    The 10-year portion of the deal was priced to yield 7.5 per cent, down from 8 per cent thanks to robust investor demand.

    Argentina will join Chile, Colombia and Peru which have all recently tapped the euro sovereign bond market. Record-low interest rates have enticed borrowers, and forced investors to look further afield as part of an increasingly difficult search for yield.

    Emerging market investors say Argentina’s bond is likely to prove attractive given the yields available in developed economies, where low rates or, in the case of the Eurozone and Japan, negative benchmark rates, have driven yields to record low levels.

    “I would argue that you are much better off in an Argentine bond trading 400-500 basis points over (US treasuries) than an Italian bond,” said Jan Dehn, head of research at Ashmore, an emerging markets investment house. “Argentina has done more reforms in the past six months than they have in the past 15 years,” he added.

    The election Mr Macri at the end of last year has improved investor sentiment towards Argentina. In December, he lifted capital controls in a sign of a pro-market shift in the country’s policies. One concern is the future supply of Argentine debt, which has been low over the past decade but now stands to increase steadily.

    “The profile of Argentine debt is very benign — what you’re going to get in Argentina is constant supply. If you keep providing supply, eventually prices go down,” said Mr Dehn.

    Argentina’s sovereign debt is rated B3/B- by rating agencies Moody’s and S&P.