Moody’s A3 Credit Rating Gives Sharjah Debut Sukuk Edge

Sharjah gears up for its first Shariah-compliant bond sale this month. The emirate may price the debt to yield 2.5 percent to 3 percent if it’s a five-year issue. That compares with a yield of about 2.66 percent on non-Islamic notes due 2019 for Dubai, which doesn’t carry a rating. Sharjah’s A3 rating at Moody’s Investors Service, a grade four levels above junk, widens the pool of investors who can buy the debt. Moody’s cited the emirate’s “strong” fiscal and government-debt position, which may appeal to some money managers in Asia and Europe whose fund rules prevent them from holding non-rated or below-investment-grade debt. The emirate will meet investors in the U.A.E., Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Malaysia and the U.K., and will sell a sukuk subject to market conditions.