Tunisia to make $427 mln bond repayment this month: central bank

Reuters

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia's central bank will make bond repayments totalling $427 million this month, the country's central bank chief said on Wednesday, a step‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮ ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬that will further deplete the nation's foreign currency reserves.

Political and security crises in Tunisia, where the Arab Spring uprisings began two years ago, have hampered efforts to stabilise its economy.

"Tunisia will pay the loan externally before February 28, worth 660 million Tunisian dinars", Central Bank Governor Chedli Ayari said.

"This important payment will be worrying for Tunisia because we need to resort to Tunisia's balance of foreign currency to complete the transaction," he added.

The central bank has a 330 million euro bond which matures on February 20.

Ayari said Tunisia needed more in foreign loans to help stabilise its finances, but the central bank had no further bond repayments to make until 2017.

Tunisia said last month that it was in talks with the International Monetary Fund on a 2.7 billion Tunisian dinar loan.

The assassination of secular opposition figure Chokri Belaid last week increased fears that investors and tourists will steer clear of Tunisia, deepening its economic problems.

Tunisia's foreign currency reserves have been running low for some time and stood 12.576 million dinars at the end of January, or 119 days of imports, similar to levels a year earlier.

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