Kazakhstan is staging a comeback to international debt markets, planning to issue sovereign Eurobonds worth 150 billion tenge ($996 million) in the first half of 2013, Finance Minister Bolat Zhamishev said on Tuesday.
The oil-rich country, Central Asia's largest economy, last issued sovereign eurobonds in 2000. The paper, worth $350 million, was redeemed in 2007.
"Taking into account low interest rates and a stable macroeconomic situation in the country, we consider it possible to launch sovereign eurobonds in the first half of 2013 to finance the budget deficit and establish a benchmark for Kazakh issuers," Zhamishev told a government meeting.
He said the bonds would have maturity of five years, and it would take eight weeks to prepare the legal framework for the issue.
The cabinet swiftly voted to approve the planned issue.
Zhamishev said that national companies would borrow abroad later this year to refinance their eurobonds. He gave no further detail.
Ratings agency Fitch raised its view of Kazakhstan's credit profile on November 20 in recognition of the country's sovereign balance sheet and initial efforts to cleanse bad debts from its banking system.
The BBB+ long-term foreign currency issuer rating, with a stable outlook, pushed Kazakhstan firmly into investment grade territory and a notch above Russia, its close political and economic ally.