Bahrain Sells Government Debt Through Its Stock Exchange
It looks like the tiny island Gulf state is already feeling the heat from the plummeting oil prices. Whether one calls it an interesting improvisation or an act of desperation, Bahrain has officially opened the sale of its government debt through the Bahrain Bourse. This is something that has never happened in Bahrain, let alone the region, as the Kingdom previously sold debts to banks that would then sell them off to external investors. As of January 18, local or foreign investors can buy stock (or sukuk if they subscribe to Islamic banking). Interested investors will have to subscribe a minimum of 500 dinars (US$1326), and those who go for 10,000 dinars ($26,526) will be guaranteed a return on that amount plus additional returns pro rata, or on a proportional basis. Bahrain is selling 100 million dinars ($265 million) worth of a decade’s sukuk, with an annual return of 5.50%. Could this new scheme help revitalize Bahrain’s economy during troubling times for oil? We’ll keep our eyes peeled.