Saudi Arabia Poised to Sell Record $17.5 Billion of Bonds

Saudi Arabia is planning to raise as much as $17.5 billion in the biggest bond sale ever from an emerging-market nation, according to two people with knowledge of the offering, as it seeks to shore up finances battered by the slide in oil.

The government aims to sell dollar-denominated bonds due in five years yielding about 140 basis points more than similar-maturity U.S. Treasuries, 10-year notes at a spread of about 170 basis points and 30-year securities at 215 basis points, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The proposed pricing is at least 40 basis points higher than Qatar’s similar-maturity bonds.

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The sale would eclipse Argentina’s $16.5 billion offering in April as the largest from a developing nation, underlining the deepening strain on a country that has eschewed international debt markets until now. The country clocked up a budget shortfall of $97 billion last year, equal to 15 percent of its gross domestic product, prompting the government this year to cut subsidies, wages and spending.

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