Kuwait followed the lead of its Gulf neighbours in March, as it issued its debut sovereign bond to strong investor support. Kuwaiti banks and corporates may now make the most of that benchmark deal to enter the market.
The small oil-rich country, which borders Saudi Arabia and Iraq, was the last of the six Gulf Co-operation Council countries to issue debt. The others have already entered the market as they sought to fill the budget deficits caused by low oil prices. The most impressive of the lot was Saudi Arabia’s in October, which totalled $17.5 billion, from a book that peaked at $67 billion.
Kuwait’s bond, meanwhile, raised $8 billion, from a book that peaked at an impressive $29 billion – a level of oversubscription only slightly lower than on the Saudi Bond.
“This was a major step forward for Kuwait,” says Rani Selwanes, head of investment banking at NBK Capital, which worked on the deal. “They [the Kuwaiti authorities] were highly successful; I think they exceeded even their aspirations.”