EU considers implementing “Venezuelan-style” sanctions, Belarusian bonds plummeted
Belarusian government bond prices plummeted on Monday as the European Union prepares to tighten sanctions on the president Alexander LukashenkoThe system is Intercept Ryanair arrested a dissident on the flight.
The country’s dollar debt fell by about 5% as investors responded to new restrictions that may include a “Venezuelan-style” ban on trading in Belarusian securities, which may prevent bondholders from exiting their positions.
Viktor Szabo, portfolio manager at Aberdeen Standard Investments, said: “The sanctions that mean you can’t trade bonds on the secondary market will exceed any sanctions we have seen against Russia.” “It basically makes them become Untouchable.”
Since 2017, the United States has banned the trading of Venezuelan bonds, effectively closing the market to many foreign investors.
The sale of Belarusian bonds maturing in 2031 before a controversial election in June last year triggered Lukashenko’s brutal suppression of widespread protests and the exchange rate fell by nearly 5 cents to 87.7 cents against the U.S. dollar. Investors said that there are few actual transactions, and the indicative price quoted by the broker has fallen even more, ranging from 5% to 6%.
Belarus’s 3.6 billion U.S. dollar bonds recently traded at a price higher than par value in February. The price fell after the Belarusian authorities forced a plane to land last month, arousing international anger. EU countries agreed last week to impose broad sanctions on Belarus’s financial, oil and potash sectors, which greatly increased the pressure on Lukashenko’s dictatorship.
The package will be finalized by the finance minister on Monday and then approved at the EU leaders summit on Thursday.
Timothy Ash of BlueBay Asset Management said: “Suppose they will follow the example of Russia to approve primary offerings,” referring to the US’s April ban on US investors from buying new Russian government bonds. “What is unusual is the possibility of banning the trading of securities. Then there is the Venezuelan style. People don’t want to be locked into holding these bonds.”
Ash added that measures taken against Belarusian industries (such as the large potash industry) could “weak the economy” and thereby weaken the credibility of the government.