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06 December 2023

UAE may issue bonds at end-2011, early 2012

Minister of State for Financial Affairs Obaid Humaid Al-Tayer sees federal bond to be issued by the end of this year or early next year (FILE)

By Reuters

The UAE finance ministry expects to issue the oil producer's first sovereign bonds towards the end of the year or in early 2012, a minister said on Tuesday.

The UAE's top advisory council passed a new public debt law last month, paving the way for the Gulf Arab country's first debt issues at the federal level.

Asked when he expected to issue new bonds, Minister of State for Financial Affairs Obaid Humaid Al-Tayer told reporters on the sidelines of a parliamentary meeting: "Either the end of this year or the first part of next year."

He did not give details, saying he hoped the public debt bill would be approved by the UAE president this year.

The legislation, which needs presidential approval to become law, limits UAE government debt to 25 per cent of the country's gross domestic product, or Dh200 billion ($54.5 billion).

The bill also provides a legal framework for creating a government bond market in the UAE with public debt instruments traded on one or more of the country's three financial markets.

The UAE has so far seen sovereign bonds issued only by individual emirates such as Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and analysts have said federal issues would help revive the local currency debt market.

Tayer said last month the country will look at a range of options, including using existing reserves or returns from government investments to finance a budget deficit of around Dh3 billion ($816.8 million) for 2011 and issue bonds only when necessary to cover the gap.