Qatar discussing idea of dollar bond with market, no decision

From Reuters, October 9, 2017, by Davide Barbuscia.

DUBAI, Oct 9 (Reuters) – Qatar has been discussing with banks the idea of issuing an international bond this year, but no decision has been made yet, a Qatari finance ministry official told Reuters on Monday.

Regional and international commercial bankers confirmed that the Qatari government had been asking banks how a potential dollar bond issue might be received by the market.

They said discussions were in the nature of regular contacts which many governments maintain with the market to gauge their fund-raising options, rather than preparatory talks for an issue.

Qatar issued a $9 billion bond in June last year with maturities of five, 10 and 30 years. The bonds were yielding 2.9 percent, 3.5 percent and 4.4 percent respectively on Monday, Thomson Reuters data showed.

But the country’s access to the international bond market has been complicated by the decision of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt to cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar in June this year. The four states accused Doha of supporting terrorism, which Doha denies.

“Logic would dictate that the government would have to pay some premium” for the current political uncertainty, said a debt capital markets banker at a Qatari bank.

“The investor base that they had in 2016 would not be the same – some accounts would not be there for sure, but global demand for Middle East is high,” he added.

Qatar’s potential deal would follow Saudi Arabia’s $12.5 billion bond in September and Abu Dhabi’s $10 billion bond earlier this month. Both the deals were heavily oversubscribed, receiving a combined demand of around $70 billion.

Given the high level of global demand, Qatar might only pay a premium of as much as 10 basis points over its last issue, a banker at an international bank said.

Qatar’s international reserves and foreign currency liquidity fell sharply after the sanctions were imposed, but partially rebounded in August, official data showed last week.

Bankers said this may have been the result of a liquidity injection into the reserves by Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, which has enough money to support the balance of payments for years. (Additional reporting by Tom Arnold in Dubai and Sudip Roy in London; Editing by Andrew Torchia/Jeremy Gaunt).

 

UAE plans to invade Qatar using mercenaries

From: Middle East Monitor, October 12, 2017.

Qatar’s ex-Deputy Prime Minister has revealed details of a plan funded by the UAE to invade his country using mercenaries from the American security service company formerly known as Blackwater. Abdullah Bin Hamas Al-Attiyah noted that the plan still hasn’t received the green light from Washington.

Al-Attiyah told Spain’s ABC newspaper that thousands of mercenaries from Blackwater — now called Academi — are undergoing training in the UAE. “Plans for the invasion led by the Emirati authorities were underway before the announcement of the economic and diplomatic siege on Qatar by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain [on 5 June, 2017],” he explained.

According to the Spanish newspaper, the White House was supposed to approve the plan, but it did not get the final “green light” from US President Donald Trump. There was no immediate comment from the UAE regarding the accusation.

Huff Post newspaper quoted unnamed official sources saying that the foreign mercenaries are being training in the Emirati military base in Liwa. The same sources also noted that Blackwater has trained 15,000 other mercenaries, mostly from Colombia and South America.

The Abu Dhabi government is believed to have used Blackwater’s services in its operations in Yemen as part of the Riyadh-led Coalition against the Houthi rebels. Over the summer, the mercenaries apparently suffered numerous military setbacks in Yemen, prompting them to abandon their positions.

Blackwater decided to change its name due to several reports in the international press about abuses committed by its “contractors”, especially during and after the US-led invasion of Iraq.

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