Kenya picks Citi, Standard Bank to assess international bond prospects

By George Obulutsa

NAIROBI (Reuters) -Kenya said it had appointed Citi and Standard Bank to assess the potential for borrowing in dollars on international bond markets.

The east African country faces growing debt repayments, a weakening currency and a surge in global yields that has seen many emerging economies struggle to access international debt.

“Any transaction or transactions will be subject to market conditions,” Kenya’s finance ministry said in a statement published on its website late on Sunday.

Citi and Standard Bank had already been tasked in recent weeks to advise the Kenyan government on how to handle the repayment of a $2 billion Eurobond which matures in June 2024.

President William Ruto said last week that Kenya will pay back $300 million of this bond in December, while his chief economic adviser the bond’s refinancing was fully funded.

Kenya’s latest announcement comes against a wider move of riskier emerging economies borrowing on international debt markets again after a dearth of issuance in recent months.

Turkey borrowed $2.5 billion through a sukuk last week, marking its first international bond issue since the government executed an economic policy reversal following May elections.

Countries such as Jamaica, Egypt and Costa Rica all sold international bonds with larger and higher rated peers Colombia and Indonesia also tapping markets in November.

(Reporting by George Obulutsa, additional reporting by Karin Strohecker; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Alexander Smith)