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Kenya's central bank seeks more than $100 million in bond sale

According to People’s Daily, the Central Bank of Kenya is seeking to raise KSh 15 billion ($106 million) through a tap sale for budgetary support days after raising KSh 200 billion ($1.4 billion) in a previous infrastructure bond.

In a statement released on June 20, 2023, Kenyan central bankers said: “Central bank is pleased to offer eligible investors an opportunity to participate in a tap sale of the above-fixed coupon Treasury bond.” The bond has a coupon of 14.2% but the yield is expected to be determined by the market price.

The Central Bank of Kenya declares that eligible investors are those who have a bank account in Kenya, and must open a Certificate of Deposits (CD) account with the central bank. Any Kenyan or foreign investor meeting these requirements is free to invest in government securities directly with the central bank. The Kenyan central bank remains, nonetheless, flexible with those who do not wish to open a CD account with the central bank. The central bank stated that investors who don’t want to open a CD account can still invest by opening a client account with their commercial bank, which will invest on their behalf.

A week ago, per the People’s Daily, the Central Bank of Kenya issued an infrastructure bond in which investors locked in yields of 15.8% pushing the yield curve towards the 16% mark. The bank is targeting to keep borrowing rates low by reopening old bond issues rather than floating new ones.

The March infrastructure bond was meant to raise KSh 60 billion but instead raised more than KSh 200 billion from investors. What makes the infrastructure bond appealing to investors is that it is tax-free. According to the Central Bank of Kenya, the infrastructure bond had a 367.5% performance rate—a record outturn contrasted to any previously issued infrastructure bond at primary issuance, going as far as 2014.

According to the Treasury data, total receipts from domestic borrowing, inclusive of redemptions, stood at KSh 406.6 billion as of the end of April against a target of KSh 886.5 billion for the fiscal year, leaving behind a gap of 479.9 billion, which was to be plugged in just two months.

The increased domestic borrowing has come at a premium with the weighted average rate of accepted bids standing at 15.83, according to Business Daily Africa. Rising yields in the secondary market are expected to prompt investors to demand even higher yields from bonds at primary issues resulting in higher interest rates on securities in the near term.

The oversubscription of the previous infrastructure bond gives confidence to the central bank that it could reproduce the same result with this new infrastructure bill.


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