Author profile

Gregory Smith

Emerging Markets Strategist

Years in the bond markets: 17

Specialist subjects: Sovereign debt, emerging markets

Likes: Africa travel, cycling

Heroes: Arthur Lewis, Joseph Stiglitz, Peter Sagan

Egypt’s maiden green bond – a first for the Middle East and Africa

Egypt has just entered the green bond market, pricing a debut $750 million five-year issue. The bonds join a small but growing asset class of emerging market sovereign green bonds. Since Poland issued a green bond in 2016, there’s been growing green emerging sovereign issuance including by Fiji, Nigeria, Indonesia, Hungary and Chile. These have been joined by broader social, sustainable and pa…

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Is market pricing of African eurobonds unfair?

When Ken Ofori-Att – the Ghanaian finance minister – presented mid-year budget revisions, he highlighted the huge challenges of the pandemic. The Ghanaian response to COVID-19 has been quick, well organised and aimed at stopping economic weakness becoming a depression. But the rescue is coming at a large financial cost to the country. The fiscal deficit is forecast to be around 11% of GDP in 2…

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Navigating the crisis in frontier Asia: does a debt suspension make sense?

Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Mongolia have each been severely impacted by COVID-19, albeit in different ways. These frontier economies each straddle two worlds. They’re emerging markets in the sense they’ve had access to global debt markets, with their eurobonds included in JP Morgan’s emerging market bond index. But their credit ratings are far below those of investment grade sovereigns, such as I…

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Africa’s Covid-19 response: official financing and calls for debt relief

To date, there have been several packages announced by multilateral financiers that will support African countries with their Covid-19 responses. These packages are urgently needed: first, to finance the health response and, second, to cushion the economic impact.

The IMF has announced $1 trillion of firepower to help the global response to the health, humanitarian and economic impacts of …

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Emerging market bonds in the time of coronavirus

Emerging markets have recently seen other impacts than the tragic ones of COVID-19 outbreaks on their societies and economies, with spreads widening considerably. Three factors have been at play. First, was a rapid sell-off in global stock markets that followed the realisation that the global economy is heading for a recession. Second, investors shifted to intense risk aversion and the demand …

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Can Africa’s wall of eurobond repayments be dismantled?

There has been a wave of African eurobond issuance over the past decade. South Africa started the eurobond  trend for the continent in 1995, but it has only been since the global financial crisis that push and pull factors have encouraged broader African issuance.

The asset class has grown to 21 African countries with outstanding sovereign eurobonds, totalling $115 billion. This follows a …

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