Ministry of Finance
Belmopan - 18 December, 2008
In response to claims made by Belize Telemedia Ltd. and Lord Michael Aschroft that the value of the Government of Belize’s Super Bond has plummeted due to a lack of investor confidence in Belize, the Ministry of Finance wishes to state that such claims are certainly wrong and no doubt malicious.
The Government of Belize Financial Advisor Houlihan Lokey have indicated that the depreciation in the value of the Government of Belize 2029 Step Up Interest Bonds (referred to locally as the GOB Super Bond) over the past 12 months is simply a reflection of the generalized collapse in the demand for emerging market assets of this class that took place at the end of the summer and not in any way a reflection of any lack of confidence by the international financial community in Belize.
To support their point of view, analysts at Houlihan Lokey compared the yields of the Belize Bond to the yields of the JP Morgan Emerging Markets Benchmark Index over the past 12 months and have found in fact that the Belize Bonds were faring somewhat better than the average sovereign issuers in the Index Class.
This sentiment was also shared by the investment firm of Oppenheimer & Co. which had indicated to a potential investor as recently as last month that the Belize Bonds were being offered at a large discount to their par value due to the turmoil in the global credit markets and not necessarily related to any events in Belize.
In related economic news, the rating agency Standard & Poor’s yesterday issued its annual credit rating on Belize, in which it affirmed Belize’s “B” Long and Short Term Ratings and maintained its stable outlook.
In maintaining its Stable Outlook, Standard & Poor’s states that “the outlook reflects the balance of risks presented by the Government’s high debt and weak external liquidity position offset by relief from the debt exchange and improving fiscal discipline.”