Laessing and Richter: a caution on Saudi Arabia’s first corporate bond market


Reuters has been cranking out some of the best stuff on Saudi Arabian business news, at least the stuff that makes it to the U.S. media these days. In an analysis, they discuss KSA’s first corporate bond market, catutioning that it is “unlikely to become a success without a sovereign bond and the removal of legal obstacles, even if Gulf issuances are slowly picking up.”

Laessing and Richter point to a missing sovereign bond, which could serve as a price benchmark.

While the monarchy has vowed to overhaul legislation, experts do not see much progress as clerics overseeing the judiciary resist changes.

“There are religious institutions that wield strength and influence over society…that still perceive the bond and sukuk market as non-compliant with sharia (Islamic law),” said Abdulhamid al-Amri, a member of the Saudi Economic Association.

“As long as this issue is not solved, the market will not appeal to many investors,” said Amri.

Apart from a long approval process and no common standard on the sharia-compliance of sukuk investors also needed more information about issuers to assess a default risk, said Abdulaziz al-Bosaily, a partner at law firm Clyde & Co.”

Also today:

Most Gulf Arab bourses rose today.

Maggie Michael in the Hartford Courant’s AP wire: Arab health ministers banned children, the elderly and those with chronic illnesses from attending the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia this year over fears the mass gathering could speed the spread of swine flu.”

Pat Ryan of SUSRIS with good information on the Arab Human Development Report.

OBL KIA in PAK: Joby Warrick of the Washington Post that “Saad bin Laden, 27, an al-Qaeda member who has been linked to terrorist bombings in Saudi Arabia, is believed to have been among the victims of a series of strikes by unmanned CIA Predator aircraft in the past few months…”