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Sun 14 Jun 2009 08:26 PM

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UAE plans 1st sovereign bond issue, official says

UPDATE 1: Official says proceeds will be used for infrastructure and related spending.

The UAE plans to issue its first sovereign bond to fund infrastructure and other spending, following issues by Abu Dhabi and Dubai, a senior finance ministry official said on Sunday.

"A law will come out soon and it will specify where the debt must be spent. One (area)... is infrastructure," Younis al-Khoori, director general at the ministry of finance told Reuters.

The government, the world's third-largest oil exporter, has not yet determined the timeframe or the size of the issue, Khoori said.

Abu Dhabi raised $3 billion in late March as part of a $10 billion bond programme planned over the next two years for general government spending.

Dubai sold $10 billion of bonds to the UAE central bank in February and is planning to raise another $10 billion to support state-linked companies.

The ministry of finance will handle the debut bond issue on behalf of the federal government and plans to appoint an advisor and seek a sovereign rating, al-Khoori said.

States and corporates in the Gulf Arab region, including Abu Dhabi, raised over $15 billion in bonds in the last four months and are eyeing more issues as spreads narrow and demand rises for high-rated emerging market debt. (Reuters)

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