Kuwait finalising plans for dollar bond sale – report

The sale could raise up to $10bn, according to reports



Kuwait is reportedly finalising plans for its first ever dollar-denominated debt sale.

The Financial Times reports that bankers from at least two international banks flew to Kuwait City in the first week of January to discuss the country’s plans to debut on international markets.

The sale could raise up to $10bn, according to the publication, but will depend on market reaction to Donald Trump’s first weeks as US President.

“The timing is still hazy,” a banker was quoted as saying. “They want to wait until markets are relatively calm.”

The government is said to have not hired international banks for the issue and could still delay until April or May.

The news follows local reports in November that the current would issue dollar-denominated sovereign bonds worth up to $9.6bn in the fiscal year ending on March 31.

Read: Kuwait plans billions of dollars of bonds in current fiscal year

Like other Gulf states, Kuwait is looking to utilise low global interest rates to plug its budget deficit, which is projected at $28.9bn for the current fiscal year ending in April.

Last year saw record bond sales from Qatar and Saudi Arabia in May and October respectively.

Read: Saudi sets record with mammoth $17.5bn bond issue

Overall GCC sovereign borrowers raised $33bn in 2016, 10 times that raised in the previous year, according to Dealogic.

Kuwait is considered under less pressure than less pressure than some of its Gulf neighbours due to to the size of its sovereign wealth fund and the recent increase in oil prices to above $55 a barrel.

However, the country has faced stiff opposition to austerity measures including increases in water, electricity and fuel prices.

Kuwait’s Emir dissolved the country’s parliament last year due to disputes with the government over the fuel price increase.

Read: Kuwait ruler dissolves parliament

Since then, many of the new members of parliament elected in November have pledged to block or roll back any measures that impact Kuwaitis.

Read: Kuwait MPs call for changes to constitution

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