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The Daily Roundup

Italy’s Monte dei Paschi di Siena on course for government bail-out – Petrobras sells US$2.2bn worth of assets to Total SA - Taiwan held its benchmark interest rate steady at 1.5% - Saudi Arabia to compensate for loss of subsidies with cash pay-outs – Ukraine bonds rise as parliament passes budget ahead of IMF loan – Russia to pay Bosnia-Herzegovina US$125mn of Soviet debt

Dec 22, 2016 // 5:13PM


Saudi Arabia is mulling over plans to raise retail fuel prices next year and will start a cash-transfer programme to compensate these universal subsidies as it pursues a plan to overhaul the economy. The government is expected to announce the increase in retail gasoline and diesel prices before the end of the year, Bloomberg reported, quoting an unidentified source. According to the report, families affected by these measures are allowed to register for cash transfers from 1 February 2017, with the payments to commence in June.

Dubai plans to increase infrastructure spending next year as the emirate unveils a Dh47.3bn budget to create thousands of jobs. The construction sector will receive a major boost from a 27% jump in spending as the emirate prepares for Expo 2020.


Botswana's economy contracted 0.8% quarter-on-quarter in the three months to September versus a revised 0% in the second quarter, data from the statistics office showed on Thursday. On a year-on-year basis, GDP growth was at 4.5% in Q2 after expanding by 1.3% in Q1.

Mauritius' trade deficit widened 25% to MUR8.21bn (US$229mn) in October from the same period a year earlier, the statistics office said on Thursday, after the Indian Ocean island nation exported fewer manufactured goods.


Petroleo Brasileiro SA said on Wednesday it will sell US$2.2bn worth of assets to France's Total SA, including stakes in oilfields and two thermal power stations. Petrobras will receive US$1.6bn in cash in 60 days, when the agreement closes, with the rest to follow later. The Brazilian oil giant is also reportedly considering a potential benchmark-sized bond sale early next year, which will likely be combined with a liability management exercise.

CorpBanca Colombia closed a €260mn syndicated loan with 11 banks participating in the transaction.


Chinese brokerage house Sealand Securities said on Thursday it was operating normally and liquidity risks were under control. Sealand Securities said in a filing to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange that forged bond agreements involved in the latest scandal was no more than CHY16.5bn (US$2.38bn). Sealand Securities defaulted on a bond transaction with Bank of Langfang, following the recent tumble in bond prices, local media reported earlier this week.

Taiwan held its benchmark interest rate for a second straight quarter as economic indicators show fourth-quarter strength and improving growth prospects for 2017. Policy makers held the discount rate to banks at a six-year low of 1.375%, the Central Bank said in a statement Thursday after a meeting in Taipei.

Singapore Exchange (SGX) has announced that its Singapore Kilobar Gold Contract has become the world’s first Shari’ah-compliant gold futures, after launching the world’s first exchange-traded, physically delivered wholesale gold futures in October 2014. The Kilobar Gold contract is now certified by Amanie Advisors to be in compliance with the Shari’ah Standard on Gold as set out by the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI).


Monte dei Paschi di Siena is to be rescued by the Italian state using a new €20bn bailout package, as a last-gasp private sector rescue plan for the world’s oldest bank looked set to fail, forcing losses on bondholders. The government rescue, which had long been resisted in Rome, is designed to draw a line under the slow-burn crisis in Italian banking that has alarmed investors and become the main source of concern for European financial regulators.

Ukraine’s dollar-denominated bonds are rallying today after Kiev’s parliament adopted its 2017 budget in a vote that could pave the way for a speedy delivery of another billion-dollar loan tranche from the IMF. Ukraine’s 10-year dollar bond yields fell to a six-week low of 8.94% on Thursday.

Russia has reached an agreement with Bosnia-Herzogovina about restructuring the Soviet-era debt to Yugoslavia. The Balkan state will receive over US$125mn, which will be distributed between Bosnia-Herzogovina, Serbia and the independent district of Brčko, located on the border with Croatia.


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