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Successful Bond Sale Boosts Tajikistan’s Rogun Dam

Investors unable to find the country on a map are keen to buy bonds with the promise of attractive yields.

14 September 2017

Tajikistan has successfully raised $500 million in its first international bond sale despite – or because of – its anemic economy.

 

Keen demand for the bonds, designed to fund a major hydropower project, helped keep the yield low at last week’s sale, the Financial Times reported.

 

Investors were not put off by the bond prospectus that detailed the many risks involved, Bloomberg writes. The prospectus helpfully included a map to help investors locate the country, before laying out the potential pitfalls: lack of democracy, social instability, a banking crisis, and economic reliance on Russia – not to mention its location on “one of the highest-volume illegal drug trafficking routes in the world.”

 

The Rogun hydropower station is designed to generate 3,600 megawatts of power to help alleviate the country’s chronic electricity shortages. Work got under way last year, four decades after Soviet planners first mapped out the project.

 

Tajikistan Nurek damTajikistan's Nurek dam, one of the world's highest, will be overtopped by the nearby Rogun dam. Photo by Troetona/Wikimedia Commons

 

Tajikistan is one of the poorest nations outside sub-Saharan Africa and is heavily dependent on remittances from workers in Russia, an income stream that has shrunk drastically in step with that country’s economic decline in recent years.

 

 

  • Lower borrowing costs for bonds are stoking investor interest in junk-rated nations like Tajikistan and Ukraine, which plans to issue new Eurobonds, sources told Bloomberg.

 

  • EurasiaNet.org reports that Tajik President Emomali Rahmon secured more than $300 million in grants and loans from China during his recent visit there. Most of the funding will go toward building a new government and parliament complex.

 

  • Uzbekistan is also venturing into capitalist waters, experimentally letting its currency float after decades of tight controls. Earlier this month, Uzbekistan’s som lost almost half of its value in a single day after the government said it would stop pegging the currency against the dollar, the Financial Times reported.

 

  • “President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has gone where his strongman predecessor, Islam Karimov, didn't dare. By allowing citizens and businesses to buy and sell foreign currency, and letting the sum fall to market levels, he is dismantling a system of currency controls in place since the collapse of the Soviet Union,” Reuters says.

Compiled by Ky Krauthamer

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