Gulf bond sales to increase

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Gulf sales of conventional and Islamic bonds this year could exceed last year’s $46 billion, spurred by infrastructure projects and economic growth, HSBC has said. Bond sales last year rose to $46 billion, including $18 billion of Islamic bonds, from $24 billion in 2006, according to the bank. “Plans to come to the market are bigger than last year… In 2008 the market is going to be as big as last year,” HSBC regional debt capital markets chief Declan Hegarty said. Non-Gulf firms could also look to sell bonds in the Gulf to tap a flood of cash from a quadrupling in oil prices since 2002. Driving demand for Gulf currency-denominated bonds in particular is the expectation that Gulf governments may allow their currencies to strengthen against the dollar.

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