Davide Barbuscia, Aziz El Yaakoubi
DUBAI, April 19 (Reuters) – Bahrain secured a loan of about $1 billion to repay a bond that was due at the end of March, three sources familiar with the matter said, after the Gulf state suspended plans to issue international debt due to bad market conditions.
The small Gulf oil producer, rated junk by all the three major credit rating agencies, obtained the loan last month from a group of local and international banks and used it to repay $1.25 billion in bonds that matured on March 31, the sources said.
A spokesman for the ministry of finance did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Bahrain was bailed out with a $10 billion financial aid package by some of its wealthier regional allies in 2018 as it was headed towards a credit crunch.
Sources told Reuters in March that the country was in talks with lenders for a loan after it suspended plans to issue international bonds amid market volatility caused by the new coronavirus pandemic and plunging oil prices.
On April 1, the ministry of finance and national economy announced it had repaid the $1.25 billion bonds.
“The successful repayment demonstrates the strength and robustness of the Kingdom’s Fiscal Balance Program,” it said.
Bahrain has said it wants to deliver a balanced budget by 2022 as part of a programme of fiscal reforms linked to the $10 billion financial aid package received in 2018 from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.
The government could post a fiscal deficit of 15.7% of GDP this year from a 10.6% deficit in 2019, according to the International Monetary Fund, while the economy could contract by 3.6%. The IMF expects growth to bounce back to 3% in 2021.
عاجل أنباء عن اعتقال 8 أشخاص من أهالي خريبة، هم: رشيد بن إبراهيم الحويطي عبدالله بن إبراهيم الحويطي عبدالإله بن رشيد الحويطي عطا الله بن عفنان صالح الحويطي عون بن عبدالله أحمد الحويطي خالد بن عبدالله أحمد الحويطي سلطان بن إبراهيم حسين الحويطي صالح بن سليم علي الرقابي الحويطي
Ali al-Nimr was just 17 years old when he was arrested in 2012 for ‘crimes’ linked to protesting in Saudi Arabia. He was held in solitary confinement, and tortured into confessing. He was 19 when he was sentenced to death based on these so-called ‘confessions’.
Ali has spent the last 6 years on death row with the threat of execution hanging over him. A threat made worse by coronavirus.
Our investigators, lawyers and campaigners are working hard to free Ali and others who were sentenced to death as children in Saudi Arabia.
Saeed, will you help continue their work to free Ali and others like him?
Even in the midst of the global coronavirus crisis, Saudi Arabia continues to execute people. On April 8 this year, they carried out the 800th execution since King Salman bin Abdulaziz came to power. Over his five-year reign, the execution rate doubled from the previous five years.
The threat of death is real for Ali. He could be executed at any time. Our investigators, lawyers and campaigners are doing everything they can to free him before that happens – will you help?
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The Reprieve community brings hope to so many people like Ali. Hope they desperately need, especially now. Together we can show them that we’re not giving up, that we’re still fighting for their freedom.
Project Lead: Death Penalty (Middle East and North Africa)