GCC Bonds’ Bumper Year: 1H16 Surpasses All Previous Full-Year Historic Highs

Plunging oil prices since mid-2014 led to a rapid drawdown in GCC foreign reserves and a sharp expansion in budget deficits. Determined to put a lid on this, 2016 is seeing a record breaking surge in Gulf sovereign bonds, but debt repayments will pose a new challenge in the coming years.

If GCC financial activity is remembered for one thing in 2016, it should be for the Gulf sovereigns’ unprecedented appetite in tapping cheap bond markets as they seek to counter the 60% fall in oil prices since mid-2014.

While oil prices have rallied in recent months - Brent dropped below $28/B in January but is currently around $47/B - the oil-revenue dependent countries still face economic challenges.

MEES estimates that OPEC countries’ oil revenues will be around $384bn for the year, down by $134bn on 2015 (MEES, 1 July). Of this, the GCC Opec countries – Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and Qatar – account for $78bn of the fall. (CONTINUED - 1843 WORDS)