Archive for February, 2007

Following Successful Debt Swap, Belize’s Ratings Raised

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

Belize Bond Swap has already been announced previously, and it is obvious that the reaction to it was just a matter of time. Well, Moody’s Investors Service has already reacted – raising Belize’s ratings.

After most of Belize’s bondholders accepted the debt swap offered them, Moody’s announced having raised Belize’s credit rating from Caa3 to Caa1. Caa1 country ceiling for bonds was raised to B2 and Belize’s foreign currency country deposit ceiling of Caa3 was raised to Caa1, all with a ‘stable’ outlook.

According to Moody’s Investors Service, the rating upgrade reflected improved liquidity that followed restructuring the government’s external commercial obligations, lessening concerns regarding cash-flow over the next few years.

Belize Tourism releases Report

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

The tourism sector in 2006 has reported that a recorded overall increase was 4.5%.

The USA represents 61% of the market share. Particularly for the United States, the increase accounted for 3.2%.

The European market had an increase of 2.7%. The Canadian market showed a 14.5% increase.

According to the report of the Hotels Department, employment in the hotel sector has seen growth. It grew by over 300 to 4 347.

As to official cruise figures for 2006, they are recorded at almost 656 000 passengers aboard 295 cruise ships. This shows an 18% decrease in cruise passenger arrivals from 2005.

But there an increase in cruise passenger expenditure has been very significant – it was recorder at 59.9%.

To conclude, year 2006 has exceeded expectations and the tourism sector in Belize continues to enjoy excellent results to make it a new record year. According to the World Tourism Organization, year 2007 is likely to turn into the 4th year of sustained growth. As far as tourism is one of the most dynamic economic sectors, it plays a big role in fighting poverty to achieve sustainable development.

Fuel Prices Drop

Saturday, February 17th, 2007

It has been announced that fuel prices for Belize reduced. This reduction is a result of a drop in world acquisition prices. It also should be mentioned that, according to some analysts, this is a stabilizing influence on world fuel prices.

On the world market, oil has fallen to below USD 55. Several world leaders have called for a doubling of the capacity of the world’s reserve by 2027. For instance, the USA plans to have 1.5 billion barrels in reserve by 2027.

The prices for Premium Gasoline have reduced from USD 9.74 to USD 9.39, those for Regular Gasoline – from USD 9.56 to USD 9.33, while Kerosene remains the same at USD 6.11 per gallon and Diesel remains the same at USD 6.90 per gallon.

By the way, several world leaders have called for a doubling of the world’s reserve capacity by 2027. For example, the United States is planning to have 1.5 billion barrels in reserve by 2027.

Belize Bond Swap

Monday, February 12th, 2007

The government of Belize has made an announcement that 93% of its bondholders have taken up the USD 500 million debt swap, which was offered by it in December in order to replace existing commercial foreign debt.

In 2019, the repayments on the new bonds will start. These bonds will bear interest in the 1st 3 years after issuance at a fixed rate of 4.25% per annum. In years 4-5, the rate will be increased up to 6%, and then the interest rate will level off at 8.5% per annum through the maturity of the bonds.

Following 4 months of intensive consultations with the affected creditors by the Belizean authorities, the exchange offer was made.

The National Assembly of Belize approved launching the transaction in the middle of December. According to Minister of National Development of Belize, Mark Espat, this operation has been carried out following the principle of transparency and respect for intercreditor equity. Belize’s creditors cooperated regarding this matter.

Tenders by the creditors were due by January 26, 2007. The transaction is to close towards the end of February.

Before the swap, Belize bonds were trading at USD 0.72, and bond yields on the 9.75% coupon bond due in 2015 had reached nearly 16%. It also should be mentioned that Belize’s sovereign credit rating had been lowered by Standard & Poor’s from CCC- to CC.