Saudi market eyes strong year after sukuk success

The success of Saudi Arabia’s first government-backed Islamic bond issue, and the dairy company Almarai’s planned sukuk, will set the stage for what will probably be one of the kingdom’s strongest years for Islamic bonds.
The Almarai bond plus the four as-yet-unannounced sukuk issues that HSBC is also preparing, would total “multiple billions” of Saudi riyals. Saudi Arabia’s government is encouraging the current expansion of the sukuk market.
According to Khalid Howladar, an analyst with Moody’s Investment in Dubai and Fahad al-Saif, the HSBC sukuk developer, by issuing government-backed sukuks, Saudi Arabia also is trying to expand the capacity of its capital markets.