The Minister of Finance recently revealed that the Government was looking to refinance the Eurobond portion of the external debt ($6.7bn as of September 2016) stock with a view to securing new long-term debt with lower interest rates. This also came up last year as the Treasury Secretary talked about various options that the Government was exploring with respect to external debt.
Economic growth slowed down to 3.7% in 2015 primarily due to the negative effects of prolonged load-shedding in the second half of the year as well as a significant decline in the currency.
Cabinet recently approved engagement of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with a view to setting up a program. The economy has been hit by shocks from a 70% depreciation of the currency versus the US dollar in 2015, a 590MW electricity deficit which started in H2 2015 and a decline in global copper prices (contribute over 70% of export earnings). This has put even more pressure on Government finances which are not only committed to major infrastructure projects but are also subsidizing a number of things in addition to forking out more Kwachas to pay interest on external debt ($6.4b as of eoy 2015).
Here's the full statement from the agency:
Fitch Ratings-Hong Kong-24 February 2016: Fitch Ratings has revised the Outlooks on Zambia's Long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) to Negative from Stable and affirmed both ratings at 'B'. Fitch has also affirmed Zambia's Short-term IDR at 'B' and the Country Ceiling at 'B+'. The issue ratings on Zambia's senior unsecured foreign and local currency bonds have been affirmed at 'B'.
ZESCO Makes Their Case for November 2015 Electricity Tariff Hike
The Energy Regulation Board (ERB) has received an application from ZESCO to increase electricity tariffs for its various customer categories (excluding mining, high and low voltage export customer categories) for the year 2015. In its application, ZESCO proposed to increase electricity tariffs for retail customers (Residential, Services, Commercial and Maximum demand).
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Trying to decipher this puzzle that is Zambia by using a variety of publicly available data (structured and unstructured) in conjunction with my own skill/experience. * * *