Qatar considers raising $9bn from bond markets

Qatar’s debt carries the fourth-highest investment grade at S&P Global Ratings

Qatar is considering raising at least $9 billion (€7.67 billion) from international bond markets as the gas-rich nation boycotted by its neighbours seeks to replenish state coffers, people familiar with the matter said.

Government officials are in talks with banks to decide on the best time for a possible sale, the people said, declining to be identified because the talks are private. The bond is likely to be in line with or more than Qatar’s last issuance of $9 billion in 2016, they said.

The finance ministry and government communications office didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Qatar, whose debt carries the fourth-highest investment grade at S&P Global Ratings, will target investors in Asia, the US and Europe to make up for a shortfall of regional investors, the people said. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic relations and closed transport routes with Qatar on June 5th, accusing it of funding terrorism, a charge it denies. Some banks in those countries have since cut their exposure to Qatar.


International Demand

"Investor interest for Qatar exposure from within the region will be subdued," said Doug Bitcon, Dubai-based head of credit strategies at Rasmala Investment Bank. "However, there will be demand from international investors out of the US, Europe and Asia, particularly if an attractive new issue premium is on offer."

The world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, like other oil-exporting countries across the region, is using international debt markets to bolster public budgets since energy markets slumped. Abu Dhabi raised $10 billion last week, shortly after Saudi Arabia sold $12.5 billion of bonds.

The Saudi-led boycott is weighing on the Qatari economy, with economists expecting gross domestic product to grow at the slowest pace since 1995. The country is also preparing to host the 2022 soccer World Cup and is spending $200 billion to build infrastructure.

Qatar pumped almost $40 billion to support the economy and financial system in the first two months of the standoff, Moody's Investors Service said. The Qatar Investment Authority, which has reduced its direct holdings in Credit Suisse Group, Rosneft and Tiffany, is considering selling more of its $320 billion of assets, which includes stakes in Glencore and Barclays, and channelling the proceeds into its home market, people familiar with the matter said this month.