The volume of syndicated loans closed in the Middle East and Africa during the first three months of 2014 is the lowest recorded ifor the past ten years.

A total of $9.2bn loans were closed in the first quarter of this year, marking the lowest quarterly volume recorded since 2004 when just $5.8bn loans were signed, according to the latest data from UK-based data provider Dealogic.

The volume of loans also declined by 65 per cent compared to the same quarter in 2013 when a total of $26.5bn-worth of loans were raised.

The decline marks a reversal of the recent growth in syndicated loans seen in the region.

The previous two years have seen year-on-year quarter one growth in loan volume. Last year, the volume of syndicated loans signed in the Middle East and Africa reached $96.1bn, the highest recorded since 2008.

It marked a 31 per cent increase on the $73.5bn signed in 2012 and suggested that the syndicated loan market was in recovery following its sharp decline in 2008 after the global banking crisis resulted in rising bank funding costs and reduced liquidity.

Many loans were postponed or restructured in the subsequent years.

The regional decline in syndicated loans to date this year reflects wider market trends, with global syndicated loans falling by 12 per cent in the first three months of this year compared to the same period last year.

A total of $861.6bn loans were closed in the first quarter 2014 compared to $975.4bn.

There are a number of syndicated loans in the Middle East market that either closed in the first quarter or are due to close.

UAE-based industrial conglomerate Al-Ghurair Investment raised an AED1.3bn ($354m) syndicated loan to refinance existing debt obligations as well as raise additional funds in March.

UAE-based district cooling company Empower is expected to close the general syndication of a $600m loan imminently. The financing is being used to partly fund the acquisition of Dubai-based Palm Utilities, as announced in January.