Maric: We're in talks with investors on borrowing in 2019

Maric: We're in talks with investors on borrowing in 2019 Izvor: Freeimages/mokra

Talks are under way with investors on fresh borrowing on foreign capital markets in 2019, given that a foreign bond of $1.5 billion and a domestic bond of €1 billion mature next year, Finance Minister Zdravko Maric told state news agency Hina on Friday.

The finance ministry had issued a €750 million bond on the foreign market in June, and two bond tranches totalling 10.5 billion kuna (€1.4 billion) on the domestic market in July, which covered its borrowing needs in 2018.

Maric said that his ministry was already monitoring international markets for next year.

"Next year, a bond denominated in US dollars falls due in the second half of the year, so in our talks with investors, investment banks , and others normally involved in such processes, we are already focusing on next year," Maric told Hina via phone from the Indonesian island of Bali where he was attending the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) Group.

He said that a foreign bond of $1.5 billion, and a domestic bond of €1 billion mature next year.

"In any case, the finance and investment community is well aware that the needs for funding are now much lower than they had been a few years ago, given that the state of public finances has improved with a balanced budget last year, and with a budget surplus in the first half of this year. Now we are mostly focused on making further steps and measures to improve the structure of our public debt ... as well as fiscal consolidation," Maric said.

Croatian delegation, which includes officials from the finance ministry and the central bank, is attending the annual WB and IMF meetings in Indonesia on October 12-14, and has held talks with WB and IMF officials.

Maric said that in those talks emphasis was put on preparing a new cooperation strategy for the next five years. The document is likely to be hammered out in the first half of 2019.

"The new strategy would be focused on the development of human resources, which is a new initiative advocated by the World Bank," Maric said.

Cooperation will also focus on providing funding for the economic development of under-developed regions of Croatia, Maric said, adding that the World Bank is already engaged in the Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem project in eastern Croatia.

Maric said that an IMF mission would visit Croatia in late November, as part of the IMF's regular country visits.

He said that the IMF's forecast of Croatia's 2018 GDP growth of 2.8 percent is in line with the government's projections.

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