* Metical strength not yet hurting exporters -minister
* No Eurobond just yet
* Optimism for 2011, 2012 GDP growth
By Agnieszka Flak and William Mapote
MAPUTO, Nov 22 Mozambique is "happy" with
the strength of the metical, the world's best-performing
currency this year against the dollar, and has no plans at the
moment to weaken it, Finance Minister Manuel Chang said on
Chang also told Reuters the war-scarred southern African
nation was considering launching a debut international bond to
fund an ambitious infrastructure programme, although external
conditions were not favourable at the moment.
Priority would be given to raising domestic finance, he
said, and there were no plans to open up its nascent treasury
bill and bond market to foreigners.
"There is a lot of appetite among Mozambicans to invest in
domestic bonds," he said.
Mozambique has a domestic bond market with maturities up to
five years. It is rated B+ by Standard & Poor's and B by Fitch.
The metical is up 21 percent against the dollar this year,
far outstripping rival strong performers such as Japan's yen,
which is up 6 percent year-to-date, but Chang dismissed concerns
its level is hurting exporters, whose revenues are in dollars
but costs in meticais.
"We are monitoring the metical, but for now the currency is
under control and at a level that we need. We are happy with
where it is and would like to keep it that way," he said.
The government would only act if the currency proved to have
a major impact on exporters, which for now was not the case, he
The start this year of coal exports by Brazilian mining
giant Vale and major planned investments in
infrastructure and farming meant the economy might also exceed
its already pacy growth forecasts for 2011 and 2012, he added.
"We are still expecting 7.2 percent for this year and 7.5
for next year, but we think that both forecasts can be upgraded
a bit because of export of coal and some infrastructure projects
such as railways," he said.
"The 7.5 percent for next year is the minimum we expect."
Speaking at the start of a major coal conference in the
capital, Maputo, Chang also underscored the government's
commitment to keeping its minerals tax and royalties regime as
"There are no plans to change or raise taxes and we are not
thinking about that," he said.
Home to some of the world's largest untapped coal reserves
and vast offshore natural gas fields, Mozambique currently
levies a 35 percent corporate tax on miners and its mineral
royalties are relatively low.
"We've changed the legislation two years ago and that is the
legislation that we are using now," Chang said.
Besides Vale, other miners active in the former Portuguese
colony include Rio Tinto , Ncondezi Coal
, Beacon Hill Resources, ENRC, Nippon
Steel, Posco, Coal India, Mozambi
Coal and Jindal Steel & Power.