Saudi Arabia targets $2 billion with new Islamic bonds

The marketing exercise comes a day after sources told Reuters that Saudi Arabia was planning to issue a new dollar sukuk shortly. (File/AFP)
Updated 12 September 2018
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Saudi Arabia targets $2 billion with new Islamic bonds

  • The kingdom, acting through the ministry of finance, started marketing the notes with an initial price guidance of around 145 basis points over mid-swaps
  • The marketing exercise comes a day after sources told Reuters that Saudi Arabia was planning to issue a new dollar sukuk shortly

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia has started marketing US dollar-denominated sukuk, or Islamic bonds, with the issue expected to be around $2 billion in size, a document showed on Wednesday.
It would be the kingdom’s second international sale of sukuk after a $9 billion transaction last year. The exercise completes Saudi Arabia’s external funding requirements for 2018, according to the document.
The kingdom, acting through the ministry of finance, started marketing the notes with an initial price guidance of around 145 basis points over mid-swaps.
Citi, HSBC and JPMorgan are coordinating the transaction, and are joint lead managers together with BNP Paribas, Mizuho and Samba Capital.
The structure of the sukuk is the same one adopted for the 2017 issue, comprising a mudaraba agreement, a form of Islamic investment management partnership, plus a murabaha facility that would trade commodities with a special purpose vehicle.
The marketing exercise comes a day after sources told Reuters that Saudi Arabia was planning to issue a new dollar sukuk shortly.
The sukuk, due to settle on Sept. 19 and with a January 2029 maturity, are expected to price later on Wednesday, according to the document.
The government has raised a total of $50 billion in international notes, both Islamic and conventional, since it started tapping the international debt markets in 2016 as part of its efforts to diversify its oil-reliant economy.
In April the government sold $11 billion in conventional notes — an amount which covered the country’s hard currency funding needs for 2018, the head of the Saudi debt management office told Reuters after that bond issue.
But he said an international sukuk deal was on the cards for the second half of this year in order to maintain the country’s presence in that market and to provide supply to sharia-compliant investors.


Egypt stock market plunges as retail investors take flight

Updated 19 September 2018
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Egypt stock market plunges as retail investors take flight

  • Biggest index drop in Egypt since mid-2016
  • Saudi Arabia outperforms in Gulf

LONDON: Egyptian stocks tumbled to their lowest level this year on Wednesday as retail investors took flight.
A sharp rise in Suez Canal revenues, a major foreign exchange earner for the country, was not enough to quell investors concerns about the strength of the currency.
The main Egyptian stock index lost 3.8 percent which some fund managers blamed on generally negative sentiment toward emerging markets worldwide as well as more local speculation about possible currency devaluation.
“Our channel checks suggest the sell-off in the Egyptian market is local retail and institutions driven, on currency fears and speculation over a further round of devaluation,” said Vrajesh Bhandari, portfolio manager at Al Mal in Dubai, Reuters reported.
“Selling is further intensified as margin calls are triggered and technical support levels break down. The country canceled three consecutive Treasury auctions, citing investors’ unrealistic yield demands.”
Egypt’s Suez Canal revenues rose to $502.2 million in August up 6.7 percent from a year earlier according to official data released on Wednesday.
Elsewhere regional stock markets closed mostly lower with the exceptions of Abu Dhabi which edged 0.2 percent higher and Saudi Arabia, the best regional performer, which rose by 1.1 percent.
Saudi stocks are benefiting from the strong oil price which eased slightly yesterday but still hovered just under $79.
OPEC and some other oil producers including Russia will meet in Algeria on Sept. 23 to discuss how to allocate supply increases within their quota framework to offset the loss of oil exports from Iran following the introduction of sanctions by the US.
Those measures will come into force on Nov. 4 and data suggests that buyers are already retreating from Iranian crude purchases.
A key question for the oil price as well as regional stock markets in the weeks ahead will be the extent to which other Gulf oil exporters can compenaste for the loss of Iranian supplies by pumping more.