* Bond would cover part of $1.8 bln debt due April 2013
* Dubai finance head says no pressure to issue bonds
* Future bond issues might support aviation expansion
* Sees economic growth above 4 pct in 2013
DUBAI, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Dubai plans to issue a bond to refinance part of 6.5 billion dirhams ($1.8 billion) of sovereign debt maturing in April 2013, its finance chief was quoted as saying by a newspaper on Monday.
Abdulrahman al-Saleh, Director General of the Dubai Department of Finance, did not discuss the size or timing of any new bond or give other details, and government officials were not available to confirm his comments.
The newspaper did not provide verbatim quotes from the interview and appeared to be paraphrasing Saleh’s remarks.
Saleh told Dubai TV in an interview: ”In the past, we issued bonds to support the government’s financial strategy and finance infrastructure projects.
“In the coming period, we also have plans that need financial support in the airline industry, we have expansion plans for Dubai Airport and Al Maktoum (airport), and there is a need to refinance debt when it matures.”
Saleh also told Dubai TV: “I confirm that we are under no pressure to issue bonds for emergency situations.”
Unrated Dubai last sold sovereign debt in April this year - a $1.25 billion, two-tranche Islamic bond aimed at covering its budget deficit and refinancing debt.
Dubai’s budget deficit narrowed sharply to 3.7 billion dirhams last year, helped by higher oil revenue and lower spending on development projects, a sovereign bond prospectus produced by the emirate in April showed.
Gulf bonds have rallied strongly in the secondary market this year because of downward pressure on global interest rates; Dubai names have led the rally as the emirate has made progress in resolving its corporate debt problems.
This has raised expectations that regional borrowers could take advantage of the favourable conditions by issuing debt in the near future.
Dubai’s credit default swaps, which represent the cost of insuring against default, stood at 278 basis points on Monday, their lowest level since September 2008, Markit data showed. They tightened more than 15 bps on Wednesday, after the credit rating of state utility Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) was raised to investment grade by Moody‘s.
The trade-driven economy of Dubai, one of seven United Arab Emirates, is showing positive signs based on growth rates in various sectors during the first half of 2012, Saleh was also quoted as saying by the newspaper.
The UAE central bank said this month that Dubai might achieve gross domestic product growth of 4 percent or more this year.
“The GDP growth is expected to reach 4 percent this year and next year, we expect it to be more than 4 percent,” Saleh told Dubai TV.
Dubai, which lacks the oil wealth of neighbouring Abu Dhabi, was hit hard by a $25 billion debt restructuring at its flagship conglomerate Dubai World in 2009-2010 after a real estate bubble burst. Restructuring at some other state-linked entities continues.