Oman is planning to float its first sovereign issue of OR200mn ($520mn) of Islamic bonds or sukuk in the local market in mid-2015, head of the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) Hamud al-Zadjali said this week, though a final decision could be delayed until the second half of the year.

The new issue will be used to help finance the budget deficit for 2015, projected at a record OR2.5bn ($6.5bn), or 8% of GDP, in the wake of the 50%-plus plunge in oil prices since mid-2014. As the first ever sukuk to be issued in Oman, it would serve to set a pricing benchmark for future issues, Mr Zadjali says. The sukuk will be Oman’s first international bond since 1997. (CONTINUED - 359 WORDS)