Saudi issues new Islamic bond to finance budget

Saudi Arabia said it has completed the issuance of a new Islamic sukuk sale to help finance its budget deficit as the Kingdom accelerates borrowing despite rising oil prices. (AFP)
Updated 25 April 2018

Saudi issues new Islamic bond to finance budget

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia said Tuesday it has completed the issuance of a new sukuk sale to help finance its budget deficit as the Kingdom accelerates borrowing despite rising oil prices.
The finance ministry’s debt management office said it raised $1.3 billion from the sale of sukuks in three tranches maturing in five, seven and 10 years.
This was the second sukuk sale this year following a $4.8-billion issue it completed last month.
Last week, the Kingdom also raised $11 billion in the sale of conventional bonds. In early March, it struck a deal to refinance a $10-billion loan and added another $6 billion to it.
The OPEC exporter has posted huge budget deficits since oil prices crashed about four years ago and resorted to the debt market to finance the shortfall.
It posted budget deficits totalling $260 billion since 2014 and is projecting a shortfall of $52 billion for this year, according to official figures.
The government debt level, both domestic and international, rose from 1.6 percent of gross domestic product in 2014 to 17.3 of GDP last year reaching $118 billion.
During the same period, the government has drawn down some $245 billion from its fiscal reserves.
Oil income made up more than 90 percent of public revenues before oil began to slide.


Oil up on slowing pace of coronavirus, Venezuela sanctions

Updated 20 February 2020

Oil up on slowing pace of coronavirus, Venezuela sanctions

  • Financial analysts say epidemic is likely to deal a ‘short-term blow’ to global economy

LONDON: Benchmark Brent oil prices rose for a seventh consecutive day after demand worries eased with a slowing of new coronavirus cases in China and supply was curtailed by a US move to cut more Venezuelan crude from the market.

Brent was up 71 cents at $58.46 a barrel at 1510 GMT. The global benchmark has risen nearly 10 percent since falling last week to its lowest this year. US oil was up 53 cents at $52.58 a barrel.

“Those in doubt of the economic impact from the virus should take heed from Apple’s surprise sales warning ... Put simply, this is the surest sign yet of the coronavirus fallout on the global economy,” said PVM analysts in a note.

S&P Global Ratings said it expected coronavirus would deliver a “short-term blow” to economic growth in China in the first quarter, echoing findings by the International Energy Agency.

Official data showed new cases in China fell for a second straight day, although the World Health Organization said there was not enough data to know if the epidemic was being contained.

The oil market price structure is also showing signs that prompt demand for oil is picking up, as the front-month Brent futures market is moving deeper into backwardation, when near-term prices are higher than later-dated prices.

This week, oil prices were also buoyed by a US decision to blacklist a trading subsidiary of Russia’s Rosneft, which President Donald Trump’s administration said provided a financial lifeline to Venezuela’s government.

Hopes that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allied producers would deepen supply cuts also supported prices.

The grouping, known as OPEC+, has been withholding supply to support prices and meets next month to decide a response to the downturn in demand resulting from the coronavirus epidemic.

But in the US, which is not party to any supply cut agreements, oil production has been rising. US shale production is expected to rise to a record 9.2 million barrels a day next month, the Energy Information Administration said.