Kuwait Is Said to Join Gulf Bond Rush With Plans for Dollar Sale

(Bloomberg) -- Kuwait is weighing plans to sell dollar-denominated bonds, according to people familiar with the matter, joining other Gulf Cooperation Council states also said to be considering sales.

Officials from the oil-rich Gulf nation have held talks with banks about the possibility of a sale as soon as the first quarter, two of the people said, asking not to be identified as the discussions are private. The bond is likely to be in line with or higher than Kuwait’s last issuance of $8 billion in March 2017, some of the people said.

Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi are planning to tap the debt market in the first quarter to help plug budget deficits, people familiar with the matter said earlier this month. Oman already raised $6.5 billion from a bond offering this year as the Middle East’s biggest non-OPEC producer also seeks to bridge a deficit.

Plans for a bond sale would need to be approved by Kuwait’s parliament. The National Assembly’s finance and economic committee this month approved a draft law that allows the government to raise as much as 25 billion dinars ($83 billion) from international and local markets. The law still needs to be approved by the assembly.

The ministry of finance said in an emailed response to questions that no decisions have been made “regarding any potential issuance, timing or size of issuance” and no roadshows are currently planned.

Once a debt law is in place, the ministry “will determine if and when any international debt will be issued,” it said in a statement. “Debt is integral to the government’s balanced approach to finance short-term fiscal requirements through a prudent and responsible mix of GRF withdrawals and debt issuance.”

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