Oman’s bond investors gained some respite this week as Fitch affirmed its rating for the indebted country and the government published encouraging deficit figures, potentially paving the way for the Gulf oil producer’s next debt sale, Reuters reported. Rated junk by all three major rating agencies, Oman has relied heavily on borrowing over the past few years to spur growth and refill its coffers – depleted because of lower oil prices.
Oman’s Raysut Cement said on Tuesday it plans to acquire Kenya’s ARM Cement, which went into administration in August, as part of its expansion plans. Raysut has expressed its interest to the administrators to acquire the company, it said in a statement. “The acquisition will complement Raysut’s revised strategy to manufacture clinker in proximity to the markets it supplies to in East Africa,” Raysut said in the statement, adding that the acquisition was estimated to be worth more than $100 million, Reuters reported.
A surge in Oman’s international bond yields suggests that, with investor concerns about its twin deficits growing, the country is fast replacing Bahrain as the weak debt market link among Gulf Arab oil exporters, Reuters reported. Oman’s January 2023 dollar bond yield has jumped 81 basis points since end-September, making Oman by far the worst performer in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council. Saudi Arabia, the second worst, has seen its March 2023 bond yield rise just 44 bps, amid concern the killing of dissident Jamal Khashoggi could hurt ties with the West.