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Middle East

GCC Sovereigns Could Face Challenging 2020 As They Shift Further into Uncharted Geopolitical Territory

Following a year marked by numerous tanker incidents in the Straits of Hormuz and a brazen attack on Saudi Aramco’s oil infrastructure, a recent escalation in geopolitical tensions between the US, Iran and Iraq could start to reverse the strong technicals-driven performance increase seen amongst GCC sovereign credit in 2019, according to analysts at Standard Chartered.

8 Jan 2020

Dubai Eyes Expansionary 2020 Budget but Investment Spending to Drop

The Dubai government is looking to boost spending strongly in 2020 in a bid to stimulate the economy, with the sharp up-tick in spending growth set to be driven mainly by wage increases, administrative grants, and financial support. Higher fees and VAT appear likely to drive the bulk of additional revenue generation. Investment spending, meanwhile, looks set to decline.

8 Jan 2020

Oil Touches USD70 Per Barrel as Geopolitical Tensions Flare but Beyond Spot Prices, Market Reaction Remains Subdued

Brent crude prices reached within touching distance of USD70 per barrel following the US assassination of a high-ranking Iranian general in Bagdad last week, but looking beyond spot prices, the reaction of oil markets has been relatively subdued, according to Emirates NBD’s Edward Bell.

6 Jan 2020

GCC Projects Benefit as Costs Drop, Liquidity Improves – But Bond Financing Still “Long Way Off”

Three years after Abu Dhabi’s recently completed 1.17GW Sweihan photovoltaic (PV) plant attracted what were at the time record-low tariffs, GCC-focused project developers continue to break new barriers as tried and tested PPA and project funding structures begin to crystallise and the cost of funding drops.

13 Dec 2019

In Saudi Real Estate, Unrivalled Ambition Spurs Huge Opportunities and Significant Challenges

With a pipeline that includes transforming deserted islands into resort towns and near empty coastal beaches into cities the size of Washington DC, and increasing the proportion of homeownership to 70% of occupants, there are few if any examples that seem to rival the scale of ambition – or the interconnectedness and complexity of the challenges – entailed by the Saudi government’s bid to rapidly…

13 Dec 2019

GCC CFOs, Treasurers Focus on ESG Frameworks and Data in Sustainability Pivot

Middle Eastern economies are well-known for their overreliance on hydrocarbons and a high concentration of family-owned, often opaquely run, businesses. However, as the volume of debt issuance surrounding ESG and sustainability becomes amplified, attention is beginning to be placed on how to navigate a rapidly evolving business and funding environment. In an exclusive roundtable discussion hosted…

10 Dec 2019

SRC CEO on Balancing Funding, Increasing Home Ownership, and Avoiding Western-Style Hubris

The Saudi government has set itself the ambitious task of turning roughly 70% of the population into homeowners, leading to a rapid step-up in mortgage provision and bolstering the need for balance sheet solutions required to keep the all-important liquidity wheel turning. That’s where Saudi Real Estate Refinance Company (SRC) comes into the picture. We speak with Fabrice Susini, the CEO of SRC,…

4 Dec 2019

The Contradiction at the Heart of the Aramco IPO

The Saudi government does not see a viable, long-term future in oil and gas but continues to hope that investors will measure the country's crown jewel, Saudi Aramco, differently, argues Robert Mogielnicki of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.

29 Nov 2019

Azizi Developments CFO Sees UAE Property Market Recovery in 2020

The UAE property market has made headlines throughout 2018 and 2019 – but largely for the wrong reasons, with oversupply and subdued demand straining balance sheets against the backdrop of sluggish economic growth. But not all property developers seem downbeat about the sector’s prospects. Fresh off securing the company’s debut credit rating, Mika Toivola, CFO, of Azizi Developments, a…

13 Nov 2019

GEMS Education CFO on Scaling the Multijurisdictional Treasury, Funding, and New Opportunities

An exclusive Bonds & Loans interview Ed Senior, acting CFO of GEMS Education, on the company's recent bond placement, acquisition of Ma’arif Education Group and key focus areas for 2020.

7 Nov 2019

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