UPDATE 1-Nigeria picks international banks for eurobond issue to finance deficit - REUTERS
By Chijioke Ohuocha
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ABUJA, Aug 4 (Reuters) - The Nigerian government on Wednesday picked JPMorgan, Citigroup, Standard Chartered and Goldman Sachs as international bookrunners on a forthcoming eurobond issue, the country’s debt office said.
The eurobonds are aimed at raising funds for external borrowing of 2.343 trillion naira earmarked in the 2021 spending plan to partly finance the government’s deficit, the Debt Management Office (DMO) said.
“Whilst the government expects a successful outing, it will be mindful of costs and risks in terms of tenor and pricing in determining the amount of eurobonds to issue,” the DMO said.
The DMO said proceeds from the bond sale will be used to fund various projects in the budget with the resultant inflow of foreign exchange into the country which will boost Nigeria’s dollar reserves and support the naira currency.
Nigeria had planned a eurobond issue early last year after its sixth sale in 2018 where it raised $2.86 billion. But it decided to defer the 2020 sale due to the turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Its parliament last month approved the external borrowing of about $6.2 billion through the issuance of a eurobond. The government has said it wanted to moderate debt servicing costs by accessing relatively cheaper funds abroad, as global interest rates fall below 2020 levels while local rates rise.
Nigeria emerged from its second recession since 2016 in the fourth quarter of last year, but growth is fragile. The government expects a 2021 budget deficit of 5.6 trillion naira to be financed largely from foreign and local borrowings.
$1 = 411.00 naira Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha Editing by Chris Reese and David Evans