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Iran debt issuance up by 466% at over $3bn in half year to September: Report

A report shows Iranian government issued nearly $3bn in new bonds in half year to late September.

The Iranian government has issued nearly $3 billion in new debt bonds in the half year to late September 2020, shows a new report.

Figures by the Monetary and Banking Research Institute (MBRI) published on Tuesday showed that bonds issued by the government, including those complying with Islamic laws known as sukuk, had exceeded 884.4 trillion rials ($30.63 billion) in value terms in the six months ending September 21.

The analysis, covered in the semi-official ILNA news agency, said that debt issuance by the Iranian government had increased by 466.8 percent year on year in September.

It said more than a fourth of bonds or 229.6 trillion rials ($791 million) were those issued in the sixth calendar month alone, an increase of nearly 50 percent on the previous month.

The MBRI, a subsidiary of the Central Bank of Iran, said total bonds issued in Iran, including those issued by municipalities and state-run companies which are backed by the government, reached 1021.5 trillion rials ($3.522 billion) in first half of the current calendar year. The figure shows a 310-percent surge compared to the similar period last year, it said.

Bond issuance has become a major part of government efforts to shore up finances at a time of increased economic pressure both because of American sanctions and the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in Iran.

Repayment of the bonds and their yields have been guaranteed by sale of assets although experts believe the government would be able to earn more from crude sales and other exports in the upcoming years to pay the bond holders.

The government has also divested its shares in major banks and energy companies as part of its strategy to avoid monetary financing of its widening budget deficit.

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