Fitch Ratings has upgraded Ukraine’s Long-Term Foreign- and Local-Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) to ‘B’ from ‘B-‘, the outlooks are positive, according to a report on the rating agency’s website.
“Ukraine has demonstrated timely access to fiscal and external financing, improving macroeconomic stability and declining public indebtedness, while a shortened electoral period has reduced domestic political uncertainty. Expected macroeconomic policy continuity, the new government’s strong stated commitment to structural reforms and engagement with IFIs mean that Fitch expects further improvements in creditworthiness,” the report says.
“President Volodymyr Zelensky’s strong popular support and his party’s control of government and parliament provide the government with a uniquely strong position to move ahead with its reform-minded policy agenda. After a commanding victory in the second round of presidential elections, the president’s party Servant of the People (SOP) obtained control of the Verkhovna Rada (256 out of 450 seats) in snap parliamentary elections (originally scheduled for end October). The recently formed government under Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk includes technocratic, pro-western and reform-minded ministers. Key economic policy makers such as Minister of Finance Oksana Markarova remain in their positions, supporting the continuity of policies underpinning reduced macroeconomic imbalances and improved stability,” Fitch said.
“The new prime minister intends to negotiate a new and longer program with the IMF, possibly an Extended Fund Facility (EFF), in the near term. The high likelihood of continued IMF engagement will facilitate access to official and market financing to meet large sovereign debt repayments in 2020-2021, and serve as an anchor for policies and reforms that could potentially lift growth prospects,” the agency experts stated.
“Prudent fiscal management, stable growth, declining interest rates and moderate exchange rate depreciation pressure will support continued government debt reduction. We expect government debt to decline to 47.9% of GDP (55.8% including guarantees) by end-2019, down almost 20 p.p. from the peak of 69.2% (80.9% including guarantees) in 2016 and below the current 57.5% ‘B’ median, and reach 44.4% by 2021. Government debt dynamics are highly exposed to currency risk as 67% is foreign currency denominated, but greater non-resident participation in the local bond market will help increase the share of local currency debt and extend maturities,” according to the document
“The long-awaited increase in Ukraine’s credit rating was made possible thanks to macroeconomic stabilization, a decrease in government debt and a reduction in political risks. This means that confidence in Ukraine is growing, and the risks associated with our creditworthiness are decreasing. And most importantly, the cost of borrowing will decrease,” Finance Minister of Ukraine Oksana Markarova said.
Fitch Ratings has affirmed the Ukrainian City of Kyiv’s Long-Term Foreign- and Local-Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) at ‘B-‘, Fitch Ratings said in a press release on September 21. Simultaneously Fitch has upgraded Kyiv’s National Long-Term Rating to ‘A(ukr)’ from ‘A-(ukr)’. The Outlooks are Stable.
Fitch said that the upgrade of the National Rating reflects the improvement in Kyiv’s credit strength following the exchange of $101.15 million of the non-restructured part of $250 million LPN due in 2015 for new LPN due in 2022.
Fitch has also assigned PBR Kyiv Finance PLC’s $115.072 million loan participation notes (LPN) due December 2022 a ‘B-‘ rating.
“The issuer is the city’s financial SPV, and the LPN were issued on a limited recourse basis for the sole purpose of financing a loan made to the city. Thus they represent direct, unconditional, unsecured and unsubordinated obligations of Kyiv and at all times rank pari passu with all its unsecured and unsubordinated obligations,” Fitch said.
As was reported, Kyiv’s 2015 eurobonds were included in the perimeter of the debt operation envisaged by the International Monetary Fund’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF). They included two issues of eurobonds: 10-year $250-million eurobonds maturing on November 6, 2015, with a coupon rate of 8% per annum and five-year $300-million eurobonds maturing on July 11, 2016, with a coupon rate of 9.375% per annum.
On November 23, 2015, Kyiv offered bondholders to exchange its eurobonds for sovereign eurobonds of Ukraine falling due in 2019-2020 and state derivative securities. In keeping with the offer, one bond with a nominal value of $1,000 was to be swapped for two sovereign eurobonds maturing in 2019 and 2020 whose face value is $375 each and a rate of 7.75% per annum and state derivatives with a conditional value of $250. Interest accrued on the bonds was to be capitalized and added to the principal amount of new bonds.
As part of a debt restructuring operation, the government of Ukraine on December 18, 2015, allowed the conversion of Kyiv’s debt on 2015 eurobonds worth $117.394 million and 2016 eurobonds worth $233.672 million into state debt.
The restructuring of the 2015 eurobonds was backed by 59.51% of their holders and that of 2016 eurobonds – by 90.9%. According to a source of Bloomberg, the 2015 eurobond offer was rejected by London-based Franklin Templeton Inv Mgmt Ltd., which held 32% of 2015 eurobonds. After that, according to available information, negotiations were held with that creditor.
Kyiv City Council on September 4, 2018 completed the restructuring of its outstanding foreign debt by exchanging eurobonds with a yield of 8% and maturing in 2015 with a total nominal value of $101.149 million for new loan participation notes (LPN) falling due on December 15, 2022, with a yield of 7.5%
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