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BlackRock Says GCC Debt ‘Interesting’ Due to Yields

Gulf Cooperation Council countries’ debt is “interesting” for investors because of high yields, according to BlackRock Inc., the world’s biggest money manager.

“There is a global search for yield and the GCC is an interesting place to look,” Nick Anderson, managing director for Middle East and Africa at BlackRock, told a conference in Dubai today. “You are seeing people increasingly focused on the region because there are some high yields.”

The average yield on bonds sold by GCC issuers, including Qatar and Saudi Arabia, fell 91 basis points, to 4.79 percent so far this quarter, according to the HSBC/NASDAQ Dubai GCC Conventional US Bond Index. Bond markets are starting to pick up in the GCC after new issuances were halted during the financial crisis as the cost of borrowing soared.

Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s largest economy, and Qatar show a “strong” macro-economic growth with budget surpluses and infrastructure spending, Stephen Hull, director at BlackRock’s multi-asset client solutions group, said at the event.

The GCC comprises Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman.

The U.A.E., the second-largest Arab economy, should see an increase in investments because of its inclusion as a secondary emerging market in the FTSE Group’s Global Equity index, said Nick Nefouse, director and product strategist at the New York- based asset management company.

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