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Maldives' sovereign bond offer tests economic prospects

Island group's first international debt instrument highlights economic and political concerns

Former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed speaks at a press conference in Colombo on Feb. 9. (Photo by Marwaan Macan-Markar)

COLOMBO -- In an apartment block facing Colombo's coast, members of the large Maldivian diaspora in the Sri Lankan capital are discussing economic developments at home. The latest topic: a decision by the government of President Abdulla Yameen to float the country's first sovereign bond, seeking to raise $200 million.

Commercial bankers in Sri Lanka, the Maldives' closest neighbor, are also tuning in for more details. "We still don't know the yield and the date of the issue," a senior commercial banker in Colombo said, asking not to be identified. All that is known is that the bond will have a maturity of five years and will be issued within March.

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