Skip to content

GCC Bonds: Appetite remains strong

January 15, 2012

USD34bn GCC bonds issued last year; 2012 pipeline healthy

By Adnan Halawi, Team Leader – Fixed Income, Zawya

GCC entities issued USD34bn bonds in 2011, slightly down from 2010. Adnan Halawi, Zawya’s Fixed Income Analyst, attributes the decline to the effects of the Eurozone debt crisis, the Arab Spring and a shift to sukuk.


2011 was a good year for the Gulf bonds market, but not the best on record. Data compiled by Zawya Bonds Monitor show an 11% decrease in total bonds issued in the GCC during 2011 to USD 34 billion from USD 38 billion in 2010. These figures include all corporate and sovereign bonds out of the GCC with tenors of one year and above.

The decline could be attributed to many factors including the Arab Spring – especially in Bahrain – the Eurozone debt crisis, and an increasing interest by issuers to sell debt using Shariah-compliant channels like sukuk. Yet, regional issuers benefited from international investors’ strong appetite for their debt and obtained high ratings from global rating agencies, achieved oversubscription, and announced new programs even if some were shelved to 2012.

Source: Bonds Monitor, Sukuk Monitor

The UAE continues to be the biggest issuer of bonds in the GCC with USD 16.5 billion issued in 2011, up from USD 12.9 billion in 2010. Qatar came in second with USD 9.7 billion followed by Kuwait with USD 6.4 billion.

Source: Bonds Monitor

GCC borrowers issued their bonds in 12 currencies worldwide, but the US dollar remained the currency of choice. USD-denominated bonds grabbed USD 14.4 billion, or 42%, of the total. Kuwait dinar (KWD) ranked second with USD 6.4 billion thanks to abundant treasury issuance by the Kuwaiti central bank.

The corporate sector issued only 21% of the total while the remaining was issued by sovereign and quasi-sovereign issuers. This comes as no surprise in a region where most issuers are government owned, backed or supported. This reason could also be behind the fact that the biggest chunk of the rated bonds issued during the year obtained the highest ratings from international rating agencies.

The London Stock Exchange (LSE) remained the favorite listing bourse for GCC issuers. The LSE seized 13 GCC bond listings with a combined total of USD 12.4 billion – or a hefty 36% of the total. Luxembourg stock exchange ranked second.

Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ and HSBC took top ranking in the Zawya Bonds Monitor league tables for lead managers for the year 2011.

The sector breakdown comes in line with the economic and business nature of the GCC region. Proceeds from bonds issued in 2011 went to governmental institutions, financial services, oil and gas, power, transport and real estate sectors.

In terms of size, the biggest issuers were the Qatari government, UAE’s IPIC, Aabar and Emirates airline.
As much as 35% or USD 12 billion, of the total were issued in the form of treasury bonds while 60%, or USD 20.7 billion, were issued in the form of Eurobonds, Bonds Monitor data showed.

Click here to view our Bonds Yearly Review for the year 2011

GCC bonds timeline

What follows is a timeline of the major events and developments that took place in 2011 and shaped the bonds industry, some of which are expected to leave their impact and shape the year 2012 as well.

Jan Qatar Central Bank Issues QAR50 Bln Bonds, Sukuks View
Feb GIC successfully issues MYR 600 Million Medium Term Note in Malaysia View
Mar Abu Dhabi’s IPIC Sells Bonds Worth EUR2.5B, GBP550M View
Apr Mubadala Sets Final Pricing On Two-Part Dollar Benchmark Bond View
May Aabar Prices EUR1.25B Exchangeable Bond Over Daimler Shares; Demand High View
Jun Emirates Airline Prices $1B 5-Year Bond At 99.904, Swaps +3.3 View
Jul NBAD Issues YPY10 billion Samurai Bond View
Aug Qatar National Bank To Set Up $7.5B Bond Program View
Sep NBAD issues 25 year private placement under its EMTN Programme View
Oct Standard Chartered brings international investors to meet issuers from the Middle East View
Nov Union National Bank’s $400m bond successful in tough market View
GBSA publishes inaugural Standards for Gulf Debt Issuers View
Qatar Sells $5 Billion 3-Tranche Bond Into Heavy Demand View
Dec Qatar’s Successful $5 Bln Bond Seen Heralding More Issuance View
Taqa issues two bonds to raise $1.5b, repay debt View
Markaz closes bond issuance View
QNB Group and Qatar Development Bank – QDB announce the completion of the first treasury bills trade on the Qatar Exchange View
GBSA publishes compendium of GCC local currency government markets View

Some of the trends and events that took place in 2011 in the GCC bonds market could be summarized as follows:

– Many issuers, including Dolphin Energy, Doha Bank and TDIC, chose to shelve their issuance plans due to unfavorable market conditions despite conducting roadshows.
– Many issuers – and some for the first time – chose to go for Islamic bonds as an alternative source of funding. These include HSBC Middle East, Taqa and Majid Al Futtaim Group.
– Qatar’s decision to list and trade bonds was perhaps the most important step toward deepening the regional bonds market.
– GBSA’s efforts will help increase transparency and consolidation.
– Kuwaiti issuers, including CFC, UASC and Markaz, returned to the market.
– Bahrain maintained a reasonable issuance pace despite the turmoil and an absence of corporate issuers.
– GCC bonds witnessed strong demand and oversubscription.
– A healthy pipeline aided by construction, expansion and refinancing needs, keeps us optimistic regarding 2012 with many programs announced and non-deal roadshows in 2011.

Related Content:

For more information, please contact the writer:
Adnan Halawi
Team Leader – Fixed Income



From → Bonds, GCC

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: