Gulf government spending will help drive what may be a record year for Islamic bond sales, Fitch Ratings said, echoing HSBC Holdings forecasts. Gulf government spending will help drive what may be a record year for Islamic bond sales, Fitch Ratings said, echoing HSBC Holdings forecasts. Sales will probably match the 2012 high, the rating company said in a note last week even amid the slowest start to issuance since 2010. Mohammed Dawood , global head of sukuk financing at HSBC , said last month that sales will rebound from a decline last year. Borrowers sold $133 million of syndicated sukuk to January 19 , the least since $47 million in the same period four years ago, according to data compiled by Bloomberg . Economic growth in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and possible debut Islamic debt sales from the UK and Hong Kong will help the long-term outlook for sukuk sales, Fitch said. Qatar's plans for the 2022 soccer world cup, Dubai's preparations for the Expo world fair in 2020, and Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi's spending commitments should boost issuance, according to the rating company. "There has been preparation work done, issuers just haven't gone to market yet," Rizwan Kanji , Dubai -based partner at King & Spalding LLP , said by phone yesterday. "Everyone is taking a breather after the record close to last year. We expect an active, fruitful year," he added. GCC issuers sold $5.8 billion of sukuk in the fourth quarter, the most in an year-end period, according to data compiled by Bloomberg , as they locked in lower-cost funding before the US Federal Reserve started cutting its stimulus programme.
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