Citigroup is the third largest bond underwriter in the Gulf region this year, up from fourth a year earlier and 19th in 2011. It’s also the fourth-largest arranger of syndicated loans, up from 11th last year. Citigroup is relying on the UAE and Qatar for lending as rivals including JPMorgan & Chase Co and Deutsche Bank AG expand in Saudi, the region’s biggest economy. However, the bank’s reliance on UAE debt may bear some risks. The spread between bonds from Saudi Arabia and UAE notes widened to 323 points on August 7, the highest since April 2009. UAE yields have risen 128 basis points this year. Besides, Citigroup is also expanding elsewhere in the Middle East. The bank in June got Iraqi approval to open an office in Baghdad. Iraq is the New York-based bank’s first country opening for six years and comes as CEO Michael Corbat seeks to sell or scale back consumer operations in nations such as Turkey, Pakistan and Uruguay, reversing an expansion strategy into faster-growing economies by former CEO Vikram Pandit.