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Ukraine plans increase in Eurobond for grain buys

July 18, 2003 | Reuters

Ukraine plans an additional issue of its $800 million, 10-year, Eurobond by the end of the year to raise funds for grain purchases, Finance Minister Mykola Azarov said on Thursday.

Last week parliament passed a law to borrow just over $100 million to fund grain purchases and support the agricultural sector which is suffering from one of the worst harvests on record amid soaring bread prices and consumer anxiety.

"In case we need to make an additional issue of (10-year) Eurobonds it is not necessary to launch a whole new process," Azarov, who is also deputy prime minister, told a news conference.

Ukraine returned to the international bond market for the first time since being forced to restructure its debt in the 1998 regional financial crisis and launched 10-year bonds with a 7.65 percent coupon on June 4.

The government is still to decide an exact day for the additional placement, Azarov said.

"We have enough resources at the moment to solve all the problems faced by the budget. But if the world market situation is favourable as it was at the end of May and in early June, we will take this money," Azarov said.

He said the government aimed at issuing the paper with a coupon lower than 7.65 percent, the price of June's issue. But Azarov declined to say how much grain would be imported.

Ukraine, once the bread basket of the Soviet Union and an active grain exporter over the past two years, faces a poor harvest this year due to bad weather conditions and plans to import up to two million tonnes of grain, officials have said.

Ukraine also has seven-year Eurobonds worth about $2.7 billion and issued in 2000 in a commercial debt swap.

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