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Jamaica Considers Selling Bonds Overseas This Year

Sept. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Jamaica may sell bonds this year after borrowing costs fell to a four-month low, Prime Minister Bruce Golding said.

“We’re looking at the market this year,” Golding, who was elected in 2007, said in an interview at Bloomberg’s headquarters in New York today.

Finance Minister Audley Shaw will travel to Europe in October to gauge interest, he said. “We certainly want to speak with investors before we take that decision,” Golding said.

The extra yield investors demand to own Jamaican government bonds instead of U.S. Treasuries fell six basis points, or 0.06 percentage point, to 493 at 3:09 p.m. New York time. The difference shrank to 476 last week, the lowest since May 17.

Jamaica plans to tap international credit markets as it faces $400 million of debt maturing in May, Golding said.

The Caribbean country’s debt load reached 126 percent of gross domestic product last year, after it swapped $7.8 billion of local bonds for securities with longer maturities and lower interest rates in February. Jamaica may need to exchange debt again to avoid default if an economic rebound doesn’t create enough revenue, said Barclays Capital analyst Alejandro Grisanti.

Jamaica won’t go through another debt restructuring, Golding said. “Since that time, our offerings in the market have been consistently trending down. What we’ll do whenever we’re able to is buyback some of that debt.”

Jamaica’s borrowing costs have fallen 245 basis points this year, after the International Monetary Fund in February approved a 27-month, $1.27 billion stand-by credit agreement to help the island of 2.8 million people recover from the global financial crisis, which depressed prices for bauxite and aluminum exports.

To contact the reporters on this story: Veronica Navarro Espinosa in New York at vespinosa@bloomberg.net; Eric Sabo in Panama City at esabo1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Papadopoulos at papadopoulos@bloomberg.net

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