Middle East

GCC Debt Sees Strong Demand in Q2 But Worsening Outlook Raises Alarms

GCC sovereign bond issuance surged to USD26bn and attracted more than USD140bn in demand through the second quarter of this year as the region’s governments flocked to international markets to cover deficits sent wider by lower oil prices and depressed economic activity. Some analysts say investors should not be so quick to shrug off some of the macroeconomic pressures weighing on the region.

29 May 2020

Jordan Secures USD396mn from IMF to Tackle Rising COVID-19 Costs

The IMF has approved USD396mn in fresh funding for Jordan as the Kingdom looks for additional support to plug a growing fiscal deficit stretched even wider by the coronavirus pandemic.

22 May 2020

Abu Dhabi Dips Back into April Triple-Trancher to Raise USD3bn

The emirate of Abu Dhabi raised USD3bn from global investors this week in a retap of three bonds issued just one month ago.

20 May 2020

Equate, Mubadala Sell Bonds in Busy Week for Gulf Markets

A fresh wave of bond deals out of the GCC has buoyed investor sentiment around a region hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

13 May 2020

Egypt Gets USD2.77bn from IMF as Coronavirus Bites

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved a USD2.77bn loan for Egypt to help finance a rapid rise in healthcare spending linked to containing the spread of coronavirus.

12 May 2020

Saudi Arabia Announces VAT Increase, Suspends Cost of Living Allowances for Public Servants

Saudi Arabia announced additional measures this week to prevent the country’s deficit from spiralling out of control in the wake of a steep drop in the price of oil and a fall-off in economic activity.

11 May 2020

Bahrain Hits the Road for Dual-Tranche Sukuk in Crucial Test for Speculative-Grade Issuers

Bahrain has hired banks to help it raise fresh funding in what could be a crucial test for junk-rated sovereigns.

7 May 2020

Lebanese Political Parties, For Now, Agree to Approach IMF

Lebanon is a step closer on the path towards economic reform, as the government agrees to approach the IMF for support. Hezbollah finally withdrew their opposition to the country requesting funds from the multilateral, which could help the struggling economy, but other political spats risk delyaing the process.

5 May 2020

Garuda Sukuk Restructuring Could be a Challenge as Smallholders Make Consensus Difficult

Indonesia’s national airline Garuda may struggle to restructure a sukuk due next month as the sheer number of debt holders throws the possibility of gaining a representative credit committee consensus into question.

5 May 2020

Fall in SAMA Assets Exceeds Expectations - HSBC

Saudi central bank reserve assets fell by around USD24bn in March, according official data. Accounting for non-reserve holdings, net foreign assets fell by just under USD27bn throughout the month.

4 May 2020

Aramco Appears Well-Placed to Weather the COVID Storm, Analysts Say

Plummeting oil prices resulting from a drop-off in global demand and a simmering price war with Moscow has put a severe strain on Saudi Aramco’s balance sheet in the short-term. But in looking further ahead, the company appears well-placed the weather the current storm.

1 May 2020

Off the Record: CFOs and Treasurers Target Working Capital Management and Supply Chain Support as Lockdowns Grip Markets

While governments and multilateral agencies announce a raft of measures to support businesses, banks, and individuals, UAE-based CFOs and treasurers batten down the hatches as focus shifts towards liquidity management, supplier support, and cost reduction.

29 Apr 2020

New Binladin CEO Moves Ahead with USD15bn Restructuring – Report

Binladin International Holding Group is said to be moving ahead with an ambitious USD15bn debt restructuring that once complete could pave the way for its return to the forefront of the Saudi construction sector.

27 Apr 2020

Dubai, Saudi Arabia Start Easing Lockdown Measures

Authorities in Dubai and Saudi Arabia are to begin easing lockdown measures, although most restrictions on group gatherings remain in place.

27 Apr 2020

GCC States’ Deficits Set to Rise Sharply Due to Pandemic Disruption - Fitch

The twin shock of coronavirus and plummeting oil prices have put the brakes on global growth. Combined with widespread outflows, a strengthening US dollar and a global recession, emerging markets face an unprecedented flurry of headwinds. According to a recent report from Fitch, weaker rated GCC sovereigns may be vulnerable to a downgrade in the current market conditions.

23 Apr 2020

OPEC Deal will Reduce Uncertainty for Saudi Arabia but Macro Will Pay a Heavy Price – Goldman Sachs

An historic deal between OPEC+ and the G20 last weekend may not be sufficient to lift oil prices materially in the near term given the scale of decline in global demand for oil, according to research from Goldman Sachs.

19 Apr 2020

Sukuk Issuance to Plummet in 2020 – S&P

A toxic cocktail of low oil prices and widespread disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic looks set to severely inhibit sukuk issuance in 2020, according to a recent report from S&P.

15 Apr 2020

Pandemic to Squeeze Margins at GCC Banks – S&P

The COVID-19 pandemic combined with the subsequent slump in oil prices is a particularly dangerous combination for GCC economies given the region’s exposure to commodity prices. According to a report from S&P, the region’s banks face an earnings shock, with a notable slowdown in credit growth and higher risk premiums – although other key metrics remain strong.

14 Apr 2020

With No Sign of Oil Prices Rising Anytime Soon, Stability in the Gulf is Likely to be Tested

As revenues slump and deficits soar, analysts are growing increasingly concerned about some of the Gulf’s more vulnerable economies.

9 Apr 2020

Qatar Reopens GCC Capital Markets with USD10bn Trade as Other Sovereigns Consider Raising Funding

Qatar has returned to the capital markets with the sale of a USD10bn Eurobond, marking the latest issuance from EM sovereigns returning to the markets.

8 Apr 2020