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GCC debt issuance exceeds $100bn in 2020

GCC debt issuance exceeds $100bn in 2020
Regional debt issuances are expected to remain robust in 2021.

Mubasher: GCC debt issuance was strong in 2020, crossing $100 billion on a continued need for budget financing, the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) said in its latest economic update.

The fourth quarter (Q4) of 2020 saw the issuance of about $15 billion, dominated by sovereign paper and led by Saudi Arabia with $8.3 billion. This brought the total GCC outstanding debt to around $575 billion as of the end of the year.

The strong level of issuances was backed by a high need for financing amid mounting fiscal pressures resulted from lower oil prices, the pandemic-induced economic slowdown, and a relatively low cost of borrowing.

Given the continuing budget deficits and relatively low yields, regional debt issuances are expected to remain robust in 2021 to plug continuing holes in public finances, NBK said.