MUSCAT: Oman’s Bank Dhofar has raised a $250 million three-year loan to be used for general funding, sources aware of the matter told Reuters on January 05. The lender joins a number of Gulf banks that have tapped the loan market in recent weeks to bolster their balance sheets while regional liquidity drops amid persistently low oil prices.
The loan was signed in the last week of December, three sources said on condition of anonymity as the information is private. They declined to reveal pricing details.
Bank ABC, BNP Paribas, Commerzbank, Credit Agricole, HSBC and National Bank of Abu Dhabi funded the transaction, the three sources added. Bank Dhofar did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Continuing low oil prices are taking a toll on regional liquidity and some banks are grappling with deposit withdrawals by government and quasi-sovereign entities, which is pushing loan-to-deposit ratios higher.
In Oman, while Bank Dhofar has avoid much of this deposit outflow so far – its deposits rose 16 percent in the year-to-September 30 – other lenders in the sultanate have been hit hard. National Bank of Oman reported an 11 percent year-on-year fall in deposits over the same period.
Pressure on liquidity is expected to continue in 2016 as oil prices remain subdued and governments scramble to plug deficits using, among other methods, a drawdown of reserves and local currency debt issues, for which banks will be the main buyers in the absence of large local pension and insurance funds.