Standard & Poor's (S&P)

#Sharjah hires #HSBC to set up US #dollar #sukuk #programme

Sources say, the emirate of Sharjah has hired HSBC to set up a US-dollar sukuk programme because its government is looking into borrowing to reduce its budget deficit. A first issuance under the newly set sukuk programme is expected in the 4th quarter 2017 according to sources. HSBC has not yet commented on this. The government of Sharjah did not respond either.
Sharjah debted capital market before, having issued a $750 million 10-year sukuk in 2014 and a $500 million 5-year sukuk in January 2016. Sharjah is rated BBB+ by Standard & Poor's. The agency affirmed its credit rating and outlook last month, citing Sharjah' social and political stability, and the emirate's low external risks derived from its membership in the United Arab Emirates. The rating however is constrained by the emirate's limited monetary flexibility, due to the fact that the UAE dirham is pegged to the US dollar, and the underdeveloped domestic bond market, S&P said.

Gulf sukuk issuance forecast to remain stagnant for months

Corporate and infrastructure sukuk issuance in the Gulf region and Malaysia has continued to stagnate so far this year and this may carry over to the coming quarters, according to S&P Global Ratings. Despite the slump, essential infrastructure funding requirements, low interest rates, and investors' appetite for Islamic assets in their portfolios continue to be supportive for the world's core corporate sukuk markets.

In the GCC, corporate and infrastructure sukuk issuance totalled $2.5 billion in the first eight months of 2016, compared with $2.3 billion for the preceding eight months. Versus the same periods in 2013 and 2014, issues are down sharply from $5 and $6.5 billion, respectively, S&P said.
"Further out, we see possible brighter prospects for issuing corporate and infrastructure sukuk over the medium to long term. We estimate that Gulf government spending on projects alone - including infrastructure contracts awarded over 2016-2019 - could be about $330 billion," said S&P Global Ratings analyst Karim Nassif.

S&P reviewing ratings of 50 MENA banks on new criteria

Standard & Poor's (S&P) is inspecting again the credit ratings on 50 banks in the Middle East and North Africa under a new set of criteria, a move that could arise in higher funding costs for lenders already hit by the euro zone crisis and the Arab Spring revolts.
The agency reduced its ratings on 15 big global banks last month, mostly in the Europe and the US, because of the revamp of its ratings criteria.
JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc, Goldman Sachs, Barclays Plc and HSBC Holdings Plc were among the banks that had their ratings cut by one notch each.

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