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Gulf's $24 Billion Bond Bonanza Meets Cash Need in Cheap Oil Era

  • GCC bond sales have had the best start to the year ever
  • Syndicated loans have declined 73%, the worst start since 2010

Middle East international bond sales are off to the strongest ever start to a year as borrower demand for funds outstrips the firepower of local banks in an era of depressed oil prices.

Hard-currency bond issuance from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, which accounts for the bulk of the region’s capital markets and includes Saudi Arabia, its largest economy, more than quadrupled in the first quarter from a year earlier, according to Bloomberg data. In contrast, syndicated lending, traditionally the preferred source of capital for GCC borrowers, is having its worst year since 2010, declining 73 percent in the first three months of the year.