DUBAI, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Bahrain has set up a framework to issue up to 3.5 billion dinars ($9.3 billion) in bonds, the state news agency BNA reported on Monday, after the Gulf Arab state faced ratings downgrades following civil unrest.
“The finance minister is authorised to issue in accord with Bahrain’s central bank up to 3,500 million dinars in public treasury bonds ... called development bonds and Islamic sharia-compliant instrument in the kingdom or abroad,” said a decree issued by Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa, BNA said.
Issuance can begin after the official publication of the decree, it said, without giving a time frame.
Bahrain faced ratings downgrades after it was thrown into turmoil in February when citizens, mostly majority Shi‘ites, staged street protests calling for democratic reforms in the Sunni-ruled state.
In March, Bahrain delayed a planned $1 billion sovereign bond issue, after its debt insurance costs hit 18-month highs. [ID:nLDE71F0I9] $1 = 0.377 Bahraini dinar) (Reporting by Firouz Sedarat; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)