Panama on Tuesday, November 19 placed an issue of $1.3 billion, funds that will be used to pay debt bonds that expire in January for "about $1.2 billion," says Minister of Economy and Finance, Héctor Alexander.
It was a "successful" operation because 10-year bonds were placed with a 2.83% coupon and 30-year papers at 3.60%, "historically lower rates" for the Central American country, Alexander stressed after the Council of Ministers.
In July, the Government of Laurentino Cortizo, who assumed power on the 1st of that month placed $2 billion in terms of 10 and 40 years, an "unprecedented" transaction given not only the amount but also the low-interest rates achieved: 3.16% and 3.87% respectively.
Minister Alexander explained that "This pre-financing allows us to start the year 2020 with a payment program in line with the cash flow we are anticipating in the financial program" next year, when in total bonds will be due for about $2 billion dollars, Alexander said.
The Government reported last September that it authorized raising the amount of debt that the country can issue to the US Securities Commission by $5 billion
According to official data, between 2019 and 2024 issues and loans contracted by Panama for more than $10.8 billion expire.
The balance of Panamanian public debt stood at $28,644 billion at the end of September, which represents about 40% of gross domestic product (GDP), according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
The risk rating agency Moody's said in an October report that Panama's indebtedness "will likely increase to 45% of GDP by 2021."
"However, this will remain below the median of 53% of the 'Baa' risk rating" enjoyed by the Central American country, Moody's added.