Ukraine Plans To Issue More War Bonds As Redditors Line Up To Buy

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Mar 03, 2022 - 04:40 PM

After all of the money raised by the first Ukrainian war bond (and then some) was utilized to pay a $300M installment on the country's existing sovereign debt,  the Ukrainian government is looking to raise even more money next week, according to Bloomberg.

On top of the war bonds sold to investors (which feature an attractive interest rate of 11 percentage points), the country's finance ministry also announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with the EU to allow the country to receive €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion) in financial assistance from the EU. The country will supposedly receive the first tranche within a week.

As for the upcoming offering, an anonymous official within the Ukrainian ministry of finance told BBG that it will take place on Tuesday.

The government will use its regular Tuesday slot for what it calls “military bonds,” the person said, declining to be identified before the official announcement. The finance ministry said it will communicate with investors in due course about further bond auctions.

Demand for the debt has been particularly heavy among retail investors, spurred by traders on Reddit. But after foreign investors were blocked from participating in the previous auction (the Ukrainian government blocked foreign IP addresses for fear of cyber attacks that could disrupt the sale), the country's office of debt management is now working on ways to improve access for buyers from abroad.

Of course, the fact that Ukraine is currently at war and its currency is under significant pressure means there are real questions about its ability to repay the bonds. Moody's placed Ukraine’s B3 credit rating under review for downgrade due to the geopolitical risk caused by the war with Russia. And the Ukrainian hyrvnia has taken a serious shellacking. And the country's existing peacetime debt has seen its value plunge to barely a quarter of its level from late last year. 

But buyers who found out about the war bonds on Reddit have told Bloomberg that to them, the credit risk is worth it.

For Long Nguyen, the founder of a commercial real estate firm in California, the risks don’t matter. He first heard about the war bonds on the Ukraine subreddit, where posts include various ways for people to help support the country. The 53-year-old, who came to the U.S. as a refugee from Vietnam in 1975, views the potential investment as a “patriotic duty.”

"I’ve been blessed by the bounties of this country. With my background as a refugee, I think it’s a great opportunity to really put money where my mouth and heart is," Nguyen said. While he expects the war bonds to be "super-high-risk," Nguyen said he is willing to invest as much as $5,000. But he hasn’t figured out a way to buy them.

Crypto wallets that the country has set up to receive donations have already received more than $40 million in various crypto assets. But one of the biggest questions for investors who see an opportunity in the Ukrainian war bonds: will the IMF or World Bank step in if the Ukrainian government falls, or fails to make good on its payments?

They have already spoken out in support of Ukraine.