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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

Saudi Arabia's latest sukuk nearly three times oversubscribed

Islamic bonds sold in three tranches with maturities ranging from five years to 10 years

State Street Global Advisors is bullish about the pace of the capital market reforms in Saudi Arabia and the kingdom’s inclusion into the major emerging market indexes. Simon Dawson / Bloomberg
State Street Global Advisors is bullish about the pace of the capital market reforms in Saudi Arabia and the kingdom’s inclusion into the major emerging market indexes. Simon Dawson / Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia said that its 13 billion Saudi riyal (Dh12.7bn) Islamic bond sale drew demand for nearly three times the amount of sukuk on sale.

Subscription for the issue, which was divided into three tranches, exceeded 38bn riyal, the equivalent of 295 per cent coverage ratio, the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Finance said on its web site.

The Islamic bonds were issued as part of the Saudi Arabian government riyal denominated sukuk program.

The government sold a 2.1 bn riyal tranche that matures in 2022, a 7.7 bn riyal tranche that matures in 2024 and a 3.2 bn riyal tranche that matures in 2027.

The ministry didn't give the profit rates that came with Islamic issue. Bloomberg News, citing people familiar with the sale, said the five-year sukuk was priced at 2.70 per cent, the seven-year at 3.20 per cent and the 10-year securities at 3.50 per cent.

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Saudi Arabia has been on a massive debt sale spree over the past 12 months, selling bonds internationally for the first time in October to the tune of $17.5bn, to help shore up its finances in the face of stagnant oil prices.

The state relies on sales of crude to fund more than 75 per cent of its budget. The plummeting of oil prices, which began in late-2014, created a shortfall in last year's budget that has been estimated at $100bn. The government has been trying to plug the gap in its finances via debt sales, reduction in subsidies and new forms of taxation.