Bahrain bourse to trade T-bills as state debt swells

The Bahrain Bourse said it would list and trade Treasury bills issued by the government, which is trying to broaden the investor base for its debt as sliding oil prices put state finances under pressure.

  
DUBAI, Jan 20 (Reuters) - The Bahrain Bourse said on Wednesday it would list and trade Treasury bills issued by the government, which is trying to broaden the investor base for its debt as sliding oil prices put state finances under pressure.

The government has projected a budget deficit of about 1.51 billion dinars ($4.0 billion) this year, roughly flat from last year but up from a planned 914 million dinars in 2014.

To cover its deficits, Bahrain is issuing an increasing amount of debt. Outstanding T-bills rose to 1.60 billion dinars at the end of last June from 1.23 billion dinars at the end of 2014, according to the most recent central bank data.

At the same time, banking sector liquidity is tightening because of smaller inflows of new oil revenue. The three-month Bahrain interbank offered rate has jumped to 1.63 percent from around 1.0 percent a year ago.

So the government has been seeking non-bank buyers of its debt. In January last year, it began allowing Bahraini and non-Bahraini investors, both individuals and institutions, to buy government bonds and sukuk from the primary market via licenced brokers at the bourse.

Wednesday's statement did not specify when T-bill trade on the bourse would start, and said details of the trading mechanism would be released later.

(Reporting by Andrew Torchia; Editing by Catherine Evans) ((andrew.torchia@thomsonreuters.com; +9715 6681 7277; Reuters Messaging: andrew.torchia.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: BAHRAIN BILLS/TRADING




More From Financial Services