Iraq Plans $2 Billion Eurobond Sale to Plug 2018 Budget Deficit

Updated on
  • Iraq central banker comments on the planned sale in interview
  • Oil producers were forced to slash spending as oil plunged
Al-Allaq discusses Iraq’s return to the global bond market.

Iraq plans to return to the global bond markets next year to raise $2 billion to finance its budget deficit, central bank Governor Ali Al-Allaq said on Sunday, as the oil-rich country capitalizes on IMF backing and a gradual return to stability.

Iraq, OPEC’s second-biggest producer, will also raise funds through local and foreign loans, Al-Allaq said in an interview in Abu Dhabi.

Iraq became the first major oil exporter to sign a financing program with the International Monetary Fund in 2016 for a three-year loan of $5.4 billion, as the drop in crude prices and the war against Islamic State militants battered public finances. Since then, Brent crude prices have rebounded to more than $60 a barrel and government forces have expelled extremist militants from the majority of their strongholds in the country.

The budget deficit for 2017 will likely be below 10 trillion dinars ($8.5 billion), compared with a forecast of 22 trillion dinars due to “major financial discipline measures,” Al-Allaq said. Authorities are forecasting a deficit of about 19 trillion dinars next year but the final figure “will be much less,” he said.

Al-Allaq said the IMF board will meet in January to consider the latest report on Iraq before authorizing the disbursement of about $850 million. The World Bank will also release $1 billion, he said.

Iraq last tapped global debt markets in August to raise $1 billion. The issuance was managed by Deutsche Bank AG, Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., and the Trade Bank of Iraq.

Faisal Al Haimus, chairman and acting CEO of the Trade Bank of Iraq, said on Sunday the same consortium will manage the planned sale next year.

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