Saudi Arabia sells more than $7 billion in bonds

Saudi Arabia sells more than $7 billion in bonds

Saudi Arabia sold $7.5 billion in bonds Wednesday, drawing support from international investors in the kingdom’s first debt sale since the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The bond sale was backed by several high-profile Western banks, suggesting they are willing to work with Saudi Arabia despite the furor over Mr. Khashoggi’s death in October at the hands of Saudi agents. BNP Paribas, JPMorgan, HSBC, Citi and NCB Capital arranged the bonds, which people close to the transaction said attracted $27 billion in orders.

The Saudi bond sale extends a borrowing spree that began in 2016 when, faced with a drop in oil income, the country turned to international debt markets to shore up its finances and bankroll its ambitious diversification efforts. In 2½ years, Saudi Arabia has sold close to $60 billion in bonds, becoming one of the biggest issuers of debt among emerging markets.

A $4 billion 10-year bond was priced at 175 basis points over U.S. Treasury bond benchmarks and a $3.5 billion 31-year bond priced at 230 basis points. While those prices offer relatively generous yields for investors, they are similar to what Saudis have paid in the past on bonds and show that demand hasn’t withered for their debt since Mr. Khashoggi’s death.

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