Gulf’s $24 Billion Bond Bonanza Meets Cash Need in Cheap Oil Era

Middle East international bond sales are off to the strongest ever start to a year as borrower demand for funds outstrips the firepower of local banks in an era of depressed oil prices. Hard-currency bond issuance from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, which accounts for the bulk of the region’s capital markets and includes Saudi Arabia, its largest economy, more than quadrupled in the first quarter from a year earlier, according to Bloomberg data. In contrast, syndicated lending, traditionally the preferred source of capital for GCC borrowers, is having its worst year since 2010, declining 73 percent in the first three months of the year. “It is mainly the sovereigns that have issued this year and they are very conscious about not sapping liquidity in the local banking system so that access to credit to the small and medium sized companies is not hindered,” said Anita Yadav, head of […]

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