Central Asian economies: Is innovation the edge?

While Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan remain capital markets rivals, the latter appears to be pulling ahead.

The buzz was unmistakable when Uzbekistan launched its $1 billion bond in February 2019.

It’s a new dawn, some said, as international demand for its two-tranche deal with JP Morgan as the global coordinator peaked at $8.7 billion and bankers excitedly talked up the pipeline.

But only three more deals have emerged since then Uzbek Industrial and Construction Bank’s Uzpromstroybank $300 million 5.75% five-year Reg S Eurobond, which followed almost immediately State-owned National Bank for Foreign Economic Activity’s NBU $300 million 4.85% five-year Reg S deal in October and Ipoteka Bank’s $300 million five-year issue at 5.5% a month later.

The thin trail has...

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