Emerging Europe Best sovereign borrower
The past 12 months were, on the whole, hospitable to sovereign issues from eastern Europe, though the story turned nastier in late April since short selling from hedge funds hit much emerging-market debt.
Among accession countries, the buzzword was liquidity, with many issuers aiming to take advantage of the New EuroMTS platform for central and eastern European sovereign issues. Lithuania, for example, did a successful tap issue of an existing bond in February to take it up to the e1 billion minimum requirement to be included on the MTS platform.
Among non-accession countries, one of the biggest success stories was Turkey, which experienced a rapid return to investor favour thanks to successful negotiations with the IMF, financial support from the US in the run-up to the Iraq war, and a perceived improvement in the country's chances of EU accession.
As a result, the country's old 2030 bonds tightened by around 350 basis points from May 2003 to April 2004.