Gulf Issuers Try Out New Bond Formats

Gulf bond issuers are tapping new bond structures and investors as the energy-rich region embarks on big infrastructure projects, bolsters ties with Asia, and capitalizes on investor appetite for its highly rated paper. With global interest rates low, bond buyers around the world are hunting for higher yields and are buying Gulf bonds. They are attracted by the region’s mostly high-rated sovereign credits and yields that are often higher than other similar-rated issues in other jurisdictions. They are being paid a premium for perceived geopolitical risk in the Gulf. Total Gulf bond issuance in 2012 rose to $42 billion from $25 billion a year earlier, including sukuk. Sukuk sales in 2012 nearly quadrupled to $21.3 billion.