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Iran planning return to debt markets

20 July 2016 16:40

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Iran says it is planning a return to the international debt markets in an efforts which could help it rebuild public finances that have been battered by the plunge in oil prices. 

Mohsen Tayyeb-Niya, Iran’s economy minister, has been quoted as saying that the country’s return to debts markets – a move that will occur for the first time since 2002 – will be marked by issuing bonds and various Iranian debt securities.

However, he did not elaborate on the potential size and the timing of the possible sale.

“It’s natural that when a car that has stalled and wants to start moving, at first it will come under more strain and will need a higher driving force, after that it will move with more ease,” Tayyeb-Nia told Bloomberg.

“Right now, the groundwork for issuing bonds and various Iranian debt securities in international markets exists,” he added.

The Iranian minister further emphasized that that he expects Iran to secure a credit rating in the “near future,” a step that could help attract bond investors. Iranian officials are “negotiating with all the rating agencies,” he added.

Iran last issued international debt in July 2002, according to the International Monetary Fund. Officials from Fitch Ratings visited the country in June to make an initial assessment of the economy, Akbar Komijani, a deputy central bank governor, said in an interview with Bloomberg on June 30. The company said in March it was in discussions with the Islamic Republic but declined to elaborate.

Fitch withdrew its B+ sovereign rating, the fourth-highest junk grade, for Iran in 2008 following the maturity and full repayment of its last sovereign Eurobond that year. Moody’s withdrew its B2 rating on Iran in 2002, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Tayyeb-Niya further emphasized that the government of President Hassan Rouhani had already seen serious signs of progress in the country’s economic performance.

“We are seeing the positive effects of sanctions removal on the economy,” he said. Nevertheless, he suggested that, just as the application of sanctions on Iran took time, a full economic recovery will also be gradual.

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