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International bond markets: Argentina’s comeback continues

Biggest province to issue bond; Investors attracted by juicy yields

government growth forecast for 2010

Good economic data and a ratings upgrade have led to the prospect of the first Argentine sovereign international issuance since the country defaulted in 2001/02. Buenos Aires, Argentina’s most populous province, is planning a $500 million bond and has mandated Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank to arrange investor meetings in the US and Europe. Its reception will be instructive as to the likelihood of a sovereign bond. The national government is known to be willing to re-enter international bond markets but the Argentine economy minister, Amado Boudou, has gone on record as saying the country has no urgent fiscal need to sell bonds and is waiting until it can price below 10%. It might even be targeting an interest rate of between 8% and 9%, according to Royal Bank of Canada, which recently increased its growth forecast for Argentina from 6.5% to 9.2% for 2010.

Argentine provinces and corporates have issued bonds worth $1 billion to date in 2010 (up from $465 million in 2009) and the levels of global liquidity have created a push factor for money flowing into emerging markets, and Latin America in particular, according to Edwin Gutierrez, portfolio manager at Aberdeen Asset Management.

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