While the ping pong match of who will raise more before the year is out continues, the onlookers adopt a precautious approach.
Uzbekistan’s fourth largest lender, Ipoteka Bank, issued its first eurobonds worth $300m with 5 years maturity and a 5,625% interest rate, which was reduced to 5,50% due to the auction volume exceeding $500m, at the London Stock Exchange. The bonds were distributed to investors as follows: 22% to Switzerland, 20% to the United Kingdom, 14% to the USA, 18% to Germany and 26% to other countries in Europe and Asia.
Kazakhstan signed memoranda worth $160m with German investors for projects in the agriculture, machinery and healthcare sectors. In addition, $160m worth of trade agreements were signed with Turkish investments during a visit by a Kazakhstan business delegation to Istanbul. Construction is now expected of infrastructure, greenhouses and boiler house projects, to commence by end of year.
The Asian Development Bank to deploy $121m for the modernisation of the railroads in Uzbekistan’s Fergana valley to facilitate freight traffic to the rest of the country. In 2017, the ADB lent $80m for the electrification of a 145.1km railway track in the Fergana Valley. and last month, it co-funded the modernisation of the 240km road along the CAREC Corridor 2 route and two main roads in the Bukhara region.
Turkmenistan will receive $10m from the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector, an arm of the Islamic Development Bank, to offer financial support to non state-owned businesses, particularly SMEs, against the impact of COVID-19. In August 2019, the ICD and Turkmenistan had also signed a $10m Credit Loan Agreement for the private sector. All while the President unveiled a gold statue for a dog.
Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan will assist Kyrgyzstan in stabilising its economy. In addition, the UN is lending a helping hand, adopting a Joint Statement of Intent with the government to reaffirm the organisation’s support in face of the current challenges. In parallel, the parties are finalising a joint roadmap which will provide a $25m support package to alleviate the impact of the pandemic.
The help is most timely, amidst social instability and the country’s imminent need to return debts that now exceed $4.5bn, of which 42% are owed to China. Meanwhile, President Xi is giving interim President Zhaparov a cautioning cold shoulder. Prior to resigning as Prime Minister to run for presidency in January 2021, Zhaparov ordered the opening of a separate escrow account to start accumulating the funds to pay off debts.
Presidents Putin and Tokayev are cautiously considering setting up a joint COVID vaccine production plant in Kazakhstan. At the moment, Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is at the final stage of testing with 92% effectiveness, and the country has two more vaccines in the making. The WHO allowed Kazakhstan’s vaccine QazCovid-in to move to phase III, with clinical trials starting on 17 November and will last until the end of April 2021.
The President of the Pakistani B4U group of companies met with the Kyrgyz Ambassador to Pakistan to explore investment opportunities in the agriculture, construction and technology sectors of Kyrgyzstan. In turn, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan warned that B4U might be raising unauthorised deposits allegedly for different investment plans. Therefore SECP advised the general public to be cautious with B4U.
Iran is cautiously waiting to see how the appointment of Joe Biden as the next President of the United States will affect the bilateral Iran-US relations. The FBI warned in October that Iran and Russia obtained voter information while Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei accused the US of hypocrisy and called the elections a “spectacle”. It is yet to be seen how Biden’s administration will approach talks over the Nuclear Deal, but some anticipate movement away from Trump’s “maximum pressure”.
A new investigation confirmed that Dariga Nazarbayeva and son, Nurali Aliyev, are the owners of 221b Baker Street, Sherlock Holmes’s home, and adjacent buildings, worth £130m. Back in 2015, the owner, an offshore company was traced to Dariga’s late husband, Rakhat Aliyev, opening the floor for speculations. Cautious about the provenance of their wealth, the UK National Crime Agency seized two mansions and a flat, but lost the case against the family in April.
Finally, we are excited to announce that our team will take part in the English Law Day web-conference held by the Law Society on 24 November - you can register to attend by using this link.