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Freudian Slip Tanks Nigerian Bonds 

Nigeria’s bonds sank to near record lows last week as the finance minister failed to calm investor nerves after unintentionally implying the government may ask for a haircut on its debt. The West African nation is considering “restructuring” its bonds and extending repayment periods, Zainab Ahmed, who has led the finance ministry in Africa’s largest economy since 2018, told Bloomberg TV on October 12. The use of the word “restructuring” sent bonds slumping the next day, before Ahmed clarified that all Nigeria wanted to do was extend maturities, buyback debt and that Eurobond holders would not be affected. But it was too little, too late and the fledging rebound in bonds quickly turned back into a rout amid a skittish global market. Bonds due in 2032 fell to a record 59.41c on the dollar Friday before rebounding to 60.448c in early trade on Monday. That compares to 66.15c on October 11 before Ahmed made the original comments.