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Middle East

UAE Bank to See Asset Quality Weaken – Fitch Ratings

The impact of the coronavirus is being felt by countries and sectors worldwide, but the UAE is particularly sensitive as key sectors like oil & gas and logistics feel the disruption more severely. For the country’s banking sector, the pandemic looks set to place additional pressure on banks’ credit profiles by reducing asset quality, according to a note from Fitch Ratings.

24 Mar 2020

Middle East Policy & Government Bips & Pieces

Saudi Banks’ Margins Squeezed by Fed Cut – Fitch

The US Fed’s recent decision to cut interest rates by a further 50bp is placing additional pressure on the margins of Saudi Arabia’s banks, according to a recent report from Fitch Ratings. Following the lead of the Fed, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) cut its repo rate on Monday by 50bp, bringing rates in the Kingdom to an all time low of 1%. But the Kingdom’s banks will feel the…

20 Mar 2020

GCC Countries Race to Introduce Stimulus Measures to Support Economy and Boost Lending

GCC countries led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates this week introduced a raft of stimulus measures to support businesses and the banking sector.

19 Mar 2020

Debt Capital Markets Are Crucial to Success of Saudi Vision 2030, but Some Bankers Say it's Underutilised

Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia’s ambitious plan to transform the economy and diversify away from oil production, has seen the country develop the largest project pipeline in the region. But the government’s apparent reluctance to raise funds through the debt capital markets risks undermining Vision 2030, according senior investment bankers based in the region.

18 Mar 2020

Aldar, Ma’an Plan ‘Social Impact Bond’ for Late 2020

Abu Dhabi’s Authority of Social Contribution, Ma’an, and Aldar plan to jointly issue a social impact bond in late 2020, they revealed this week, the first issuance of its kind out of the GCC.

17 Mar 2020

Bank Muscat Upsizes USD500mn Loan, Sees Strong Demand Despite Volatile Backdrop

Oman’s Bank Muscat finalised a USD650mn club loan with a syndicate of regional and international lenders this week despite the volatile market backdrop.

16 Mar 2020

Moody's Follows Oman Sovereign Rating Move with Corporate, Bank Downgrades

Seven lenders and eight non-financial companies saw their ratings cut by one notch, a week after Moody's trimmed Oman's sovereign rating.

13 Mar 2020

CASE STUDY: Taweelah Green Loan Underpins Largest Reverse-Osmosis Water Desalination Project in the World

The USD758mn non-recourse project finance facility raised by Saudi-based ACWA Power, a rare green loan from the Middle East, will fund the construction of the Taweelah IWP in Abu Dhabi, which will be the world’s largest reverse-osmosis desalination plant upon completion in 2022.

12 Mar 2020

For Investors, NMC Health Brings Back Haunting Echoes of Abraaj

UAE-based NMC Health’s investigation into substantial amounts of undisclosed debt is making investors wary of another Abraaj-style lapse in corporate governance.

12 Mar 2020

Lower Oil Prices Could Lead to More Debt Issuance to Plug MENA Deficits

A pronounced and prolonged deterioration in the price of oil could shoulder Gulf governments with yawning deficits and may catalyse additional debt issuance to plug the gap.

12 Mar 2020

Lebanon’s Default Barely Heard Amid Global Markets Rumbling and Tumbling

It came not with a bang, but a whimper. The Middle Eastern country’s failure to pay USD1.2bn on its March bond appears to put the ball in creditors’ court. But as coronavirus-linked turmoil and the collapse of oil prices dominates the headlines, Lebanon seems to be way down the pecking order on the elongating list of investors priorities.

11 Mar 2020

On the Ground and Off the Record: What Will Drive the Infrastructure Sector in Saudi Arabia This Year?

The year ahead looks to be a busy one for Saudi Arabia. A strong project pipeline will provide opportunities for many inside and outside the country, but the sheer scale and complexity of these will test the market, according to bankers, corporates and investors who spoke with Bonds & Loans on a recent research trip to the region.

6 Mar 2020

Oil Plunges as OPEC Standoff with Russia Escalates

While the cartel and Moscow wait to see who blinks first, Brent could fall below the crucial USD50-mark by April.

6 Mar 2020

Saudi Construction Sector to Grow 1.4% this year, Average 3.2% Annually to 2029

Saudi Arabia’s construction sector is forecast to grow 1.4% in 2020 and 2.1% in 2021, Fitch Solutions said in a report published this week.

6 Mar 2020

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