• Country to seek credit rating after law is passed: Al Khoori
  • Sovereign debt sales currently limited to local governments

The United Arab Emirates will seek a sovereign credit rating and tap the bond market soon after authorities approve a long-awaited federal debt law, a senior Finance Ministry official said on Tuesday.

The U.A.E. aims to finalize the law by the end of the year, Younis Al Khoori, undersecretary at the ministry, told Bloomberg News in Abu Dhabi. The measure has been under discussion for several years.

“We are still discussing it with the central bank,” he said. “There is one remaining article under discussion about debt ceiling and debt servicing.” “Once we have a rating, there will be an issuance,” he said.

Without a debt law, sovereign bond sales in the second-biggest Arab economy are restricted to the seven local governments making up the U.A.E., including Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Al Khoori said earlier this year that the central bank may sell as much as 100 billion dirhams ($27.2 billion) in bonds after the law is approved.

Gulf Arab monarchies are increasingly turning to the bond market to finance widening budget deficits after the drop in oil prices. Abu Dhabi, the U.A.E.’s richest emirate, raised $5 billion in April.

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