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Islamic banking not in conflict with Shariah requirements

Posted on 29 November 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The issue of the country’s Islamic banking system being in conflict with Syariah (Islamic law) requirements does not arise as any decision made has been referred to the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) Syariah Advisory Council.
Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin said this advisory council had high powers to ensure that the country’s Islamic banking system adhered to Syariah requirements, specifically over issues involving BNM’s financial system. “Members of the advisory council include the Penang mufti, three members of the National Fatwa Council, a former chief justice, local ulama and one from the Indonesian Council of Ulama………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Saudis study Fannie Mae-style plan for housing

Posted on 26 November 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Saudi Arabia is studying draft regulations that could see the creation of a real estate refinancing company similar to US firm Fannie Mae, according to proposals published by the central bank this week.
The regulations are part of long-awaited government efforts to develop a housing mortgage sector in the conservative kingdom where the restrictions of Islamic sharia law have made it difficult to secure lending against property………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Current Shariah screening method insufficient

Posted on 14 November 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The current method used to screen companies for Shari’ah compliance has the potential to misclassify some of the biggest names in the market, according to a new report from Ratings Intelligence.
The current industry status quo is essentially to use an information-based approach, but the report found that such an approach, which has the potential to misclassify some of the biggest names in the international/regional markets, probably is insufficient to maintain the integrity and reputation of the Islamic fund management industry………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Salafis to back Sharia-friendly business

Posted on 09 November 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Egypt’s Salafis are branching out into business, bringing their ultraconservative teaching of Islam into the world of modern finance. The Salafi Dawah, the largest organization of ultraconservative Islamists in Egypt, founded a non-profit economic organization nine months ago that is nearing its formal launch early next year.
In preparation, Salafi leaders have been gathering to talk business — from promoting religious pilgrimages to holding a televised competition for entrepreneurs………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Turkey targets $100 bln Arab world trade in five years

Posted on 30 October 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Turkey has good cause to be happy with its millennial decision to instigate a strategic international realignment from Europe to the Middle East, say analysts.
Europe’s only Islamic nation spent the nineties agonising whether to join the European Union; the failure of this long-term goal, due to a European refusal to countenance its membership on little more than religious grounds, today looks like a clear case of serendipity, given the European economic crisis, and has resulted in nothing short of a boom for Turkey, whose increasingly eastwards outlook reaps dividends that are expected to multiply………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Rise of Islamic extremism worries Catholic bishops

Posted on 30 October 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Fears of Islamic extremists, precarious relations with Muslims and secret conversions to Christianity sparked concerned debate at a global synod in the Vatican of Catholic bishops around the world.
Dozens of bishops from the Middle East and Africa expressed concern during the three-week synod which ended Sunday over the threats extremist Islam poses to Christianity and spoke of the difficulties of preaching the Gospel in majority Muslim countries………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Bank of China denies channelling funds to Hamas

Posted on 26 October 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The Bank of China (BOC) denied Thursday reported allegations that it helped funnel millions of dollars to Palestinian group Hamas.
“The Bank of China has always strictly followed the UN’s anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing requirements and regulations in China and other judicial areas where we operate,” the bank said on its website………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Malaysia: Creative wakaf land projects

Posted on 25 October 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

UDA Holdings Bhd has come up with a development blueprint to sidestep limitations for proposed projects on wakaf (endowment) land in the country. The blueprint — first of its kind here — will see the development of commercial properties for higher returns to the respective Muslim community, simply by leasing out the plots while maintaining the Islamic titles.
Otherwise, complications arise due to wakaf land currently being regulated and managed under different laws and regulations within the purview of the States Islamic Religious Council — consisting of 15 states and federal territories in the country, said UDA chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed………………………………………..Full Article: Source

GCC-Malaysia ties widen investment scope

Posted on 25 October 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Economic growth in both regions has been very impressive during the last five years of the financial and economic crisis. It fluctuated between 4-7 percent per year. This robust economic growth is expected to continue for the next few years. The GCC states have around $ 2.2 trillion held in foreign assets and their combined current account surplus is around the same amount.
Bilateral trade and investment have been growing relatively smooth, although there is still a lot of room for improvement………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Islamisation and the future of the Islamic world

Posted on 24 October 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

After a sojourn of circa two centuries, socio-political Islam is coming back to dominate a rapidly increasing number of societies. Almost all elections, that could credibly be described as free, that took place in the Arab world since the onset of ‘the Arab Spring’, resulted in impressive showings by political parties or groups with conspicuous Islamic backgrounds.
In Iran, Pakistan, and to some extent, Indonesia, political Islam has been the dominant force in local politics for decades. Political Islam has also been on the ascendancy in the past decade in Turkey, Nigeria, as well as in the large Muslim communities in Europe and the US………………………………………..Full Article: Source

This MasterCard follows Islamic laws

Posted on 16 October 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

A compass pointing the way to Mecca is embedded in a new MasterCard aimed at Muslims. Al Hillal bank in the United Arab Emirates has rolled out the new bank card which complies with Islamic laws banning charging interest on loans in a bid to appeal to the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims.
Islamic law or Shariah forbids “riba”, the charging of interest on loans, because it enables the rich to exploit the poor, creates social and economic tension and encourages risk, according to scholars………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Sharjah’s economy expected to grow

Posted on 16 October 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The emirate of Sharjah has chosen four key sectors to fuel its economic growth over the next four years, according to a recent study released by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq).
The key sectors are travel and tourism, transport and logistics, healthcare, and environment, in addition to other sectors which are projected to offer the most significant investment potential based on Sharjah’s competitive advantages and unique characteristics………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Arab awakening triggers Saudi-Qatari rivalries

Posted on 12 October 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The demise of secular autocratic regimes in the Middle East and North Africa has heralded a renaissance for Islamist parties in the region, igniting a rivalry for the hearts and minds of the Sunni world between the Gulf powers of Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
These neighboring petro-monarchies have sought to influence political transformations in the Levant and North Africa on their own respective terms, both to advance geopolitical interests and to ensure that their own populations do not initiate popular uprisings………………………………………..Full Article: Source

UK: Call to boost Shariah practices

Posted on 11 October 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

An Islamic finance expert from Islamic Finance Council (UK), has highlighted the critical need to reinforce, upgrade and enhance Shariah-assurance practices to meet shareholder expectations and safeguard the integrity of the industry.
Joined by four panelists, Omar Shaikh who is an executive board member at Islamic Finance Council UK (IFC), moderated the session at the fourth World Islamic Retail Banking Conference and shared key findings from the report, Enhancing Shariah Assurance………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Islamic countries launches strategy to enhance economic cooperation

Posted on 11 October 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

More than 50 Islamic countries launched a comprehensive strategy a bid to enhance economic and commercial cooperation at an OIC ministerial meeting here on Wednesday. The strategy highlighted six cooperation areas of trade, transport, tourism, agriculture, poverty alleviation and finance.
It has a vision to build a prosperous Islamic Ummah based on solidarity and interdependence, enhanced mobility and good governance………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Arab Spring heralds changes in MENA financial services

Posted on 11 October 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The Middle East’s financial services industry is likely to see an increase in entrepreneurship as a result of the Arab Spring and the financial crisis, according to a panel of experts at London Business School’s latest thought leadership forum in Dubai.
Katie Sumpton, Principal at Booz & Company, said, “The financial services landscape has changed dramatically in the last few years following the financial crisis and the Arab Spring. Key trends, including the importance of entrepreneurship as a means to employment, the growth in Shari’ah-compliant banking, and large scale development programs in countries like Libya and Iraq are giving rise to significant opportunities in the financial sector and are forcing leaders to rethink traditional ways of doing business.”……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Egypt calls for investments from Islamic countries

Posted on 11 October 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Industry and Trade Minister Hatem Saleh called on the businessmen participating in the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (COMCEC) conference in Turkey to invest in the Egyptian market.
The minister said in a press release issued Wednesday that Egypt has promising investment opportunities and an ideal geographic location, including the Suez Canal, “the most important strategic corridor linking the East and West.” Production costs in Egypt are also low, the statement added………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Saudi market opening to take ‘a while’ as conditions debated

Posted on 11 October 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The long-awaited opening of Saudi Arabia’s equity market to direct ownership by foreigners may take time as regulators sort out what conditions and qualifications should apply to people who are allowed to invest, according to a senior executive at Deutsche Securities Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia — the largest, most liquid and yet least accessible stock market in the Arab world — is considering opening its stock market to foreign investors in a move that could help turn the local market into a regional trading hub. But when the kingdom will make its final decision on this proposal, which could earn Saudi Arabia the much-coveted MSCI emerging market status, remains uncertain………………………………………..Full Article: Source

GCC economy poised to log 6 pct growth in 2012

Posted on 09 October 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The economic performance of the GCC countries is robust with an expected growth of 6 percent for the region, a specialized economic report showed Sunday. The report, by Gulf Investment Corporation, highlighted two forces which helped the GCC to shoulder the weight of the global sluggishness.
“First, is the continued expansive fiscal policy on an assortment of investment projects as well as current expenditure that act as safety nets for consumers and wage earners. Secondly, firm oil prices and increased oil and natural gas exports are helping the economies achieve sustained economic growth and achieve robust surpluses in trade and fiscal accounts,” reads the report………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Israel finance minister says Iran economy “on verge of collapse”

Posted on 01 October 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Iran’s economy is edging towards collapse due to international sanctions over its controversial nuclear programme, Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Sunday.
Israel regards the prospect of its arch enemy developing nuclear weapons as a threat to its existence, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that, although sanctions are taking their toll, they are not yet forcing Iran to abandon work that could soon lead to a nuclear warhead………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Iran: Religous scholars play an important role in founding the Islamic banking system:

Posted on 11 September 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The members of Iran’s Assembly of Experts, Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi highlighted the role of religious scholars in setting the appropriate ground for founding and running an Islamic Banking system.
Speaking in the seminar of ‘Scientific Jihad for Islamic Banking System’, Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi underscored,” despite of the deficiencies in the economic realm, we observed great achievements and progress in Islamic Banking system.”……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Malaysia: Government urged to look at halal economy from business perspective

Posted on 06 September 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

There is a need for the government and the private sector to look at the halal economy from a business perspective instead of a purely religious one, to fully capitalise on the opportunities so that Malaysia is not left behind in meeting the burgeoning global demand for halal products.
“When you talk about the halal economy, you should segregate the religious and business part of it. All this while, there has been a lot of focus on the religious side. What about the business side of it? “If we don’t have capable players and good products, it still doesn’t bring anything to the country,” said Halal Industry Development Corp (HDC) chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Seri Jamil Bidin……………………………………..Full Article: Source

What’s the risk for investors of Turkey going Islamist?

Posted on 31 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Turkey is as complex as a Byzantine mosaic or a potent Turkish coffee. Straddling Europe, Asia and the Middle East, it’s a Muslim country with ancient Christian roots — but founded as a modern nation in 1923 by a militant secularist, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. For decades an economic backwater, it’s now the fastest-growing economy in Europe.
That economic success was achieved by an Islamist-leaning government that has managed successfully to meld the conservative religious devotion of the masses with the economic interests of the secular elite………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Islamist economic strategies and policies

Posted on 31 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

It is curious that in spite of the fact that Islamists have reached power in a number of Arab countries they have yet to outline an economic policy that sets them apart from other political and ideological forces.
More surprisingly, until now the economic policies followed by Islamists in power have not departed in any significant way from those that prevailed under the authoritarian regimes toppled by the Arab Spring. Consequently, many must be wondering whether the Islamists have an economic outlook that sets them apart from their predecessors and, if so, whether they have the ability to put it into effect………………………………………..Full Article: Source

FGB’s Sukuk ‘best Islamic deal in UAE’

Posted on 30 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

First Gulf Bank, or FGB, was awarded the 2012 “Best Islamic Deal in the UAE” award for its $650 million sukuk (Islamic bonds) issuance in August 2011, which was six times oversubscribed. The award was presented during the Asset Triple A Islamic Finance awards in Kuala Lumpur.
The FGB five-year sukuk was subscribed by more than 200 different investors worldwide. Of these investors, 46 per cent were Middle East based, 24 per cent were from Europe, 24 per cent from Asia and six per cent from the US and other markets………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Oil and the Persian Gulf: Islamic tools to the rescue

Posted on 30 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

As we have said again and again in this series of articles, oil could have been, and should have been, a blessing in the Middle East but it has turned out to be more a curse.
Why has the economic and political development of in these oil-exporting countries been so dismal? The “oil curse” has had many tentacles. With vast oil revenues, the temptation to rob the citizenry has been irresistible for rulers, and the elite - the family and friends of the rulers, cronies, senior military and anyone who had even a remote opportunity to enrich themselves………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Malaysia flush with Middle East cash

Posted on 24 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

When Facebook went public in May it became the biggest stock launch of the year, but the two next biggest initial public offerings had something in common - they were both Malaysian companies.
In June, Felda Global Ventures Holdings raised $3.1 billion in shares, and a month later IHH Healthcare raised $2.1billion. Both are Malaysian and for both, key investors came from the Middle East. “Middle East investment is highly important,” Fung Siu, Asia editor for the Economist Intelligence Unit, told CNN’s Ayesha Durgahee………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Egypt says it has received $500 mln Qatar deposit

Posted on 24 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Egypt said on Thursday it had received an initial $500 million loan from Qatar, part of its effort to secure international finance to stave off a financial crisis. The state news agency MENA quoted Finance Minister Mumtaz El-Saeed as saying it was the first tranche of $2 billion the Gulf emirate had promised to deposit with Egypt’s central bank, and that the remainder was expected to arrive next month.
Qatar announced earlier this month it was providing the loan. Egypt has been rapidly depleting its foreign reserves since the popular uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak led the central bank to sell dollars to prop up the country’s pound………………………………………..Full Article: Source

The economics of attacking Iran

Posted on 22 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Will Israel, in fact, attack Iran? That question, a perennial one in the debate over Iran’s nuclear program, has gained far greater urgency of late, as it is becoming increasingly clear that Western sanctions have failed to alter the Islamic Republic’s strategic trajectory.
Yet no one knows the answer with certainty at the moment, not even the Israelis themselves. Indeed, the issue lies at the center of an acrimonious—and still ongoing—debate now playing out across Israel’s political spectrum………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Egypt still waiting for financial aid despite multiple promises

Posted on 21 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Since Egypt’s January 2011 uprising, the country has suffered from heavy falls in foreign direct investment (FDI), international foreign reserves (IFR) and tourism revenues.
FDI fell 124 per cent in the first quarter of 2011 against the final quarter of 2010, representing $1.9 billion. IFR, which was almost $36 billion in early 2011, fell to $14.4 billion (including $4 billion in gold bullion) in July 2012………………………………………..Full Article: Source

The economics of Ramadan

Posted on 20 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The reduced energy levels - and working hours - of the month of fasting affects the stock markets. Strangely though, the effect of losing 20 hours worth of trading time on the Egyptian stock market is minimal, if anything.
Using data from the benchmark EGX30 index – which looks at the top 30 companies in terms of liquidity and activity - between the years 2000-2006 there is absolutely no correlation between the typical monthly percentage change in stock value and the percentage change in the month of Ramadan, but it does seem to suggest that the reduced trading times has increased the market’s volatility………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Bangladesh: Contribution of Zakat to national economy stressed

Posted on 16 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

‘Zakat’ could contribute to the country’s annual development programme (ADP) by alleviating poverty and propelling the nation. Dr Kabir Hasan, professor of New Orleans University of USA, made the observation during an interview arranged by the Centre for Zakat Management (CZM) in the city recently.
The CZM, initiated by Rahimafrooz Industrial Group, has been working with an Islamic model characterised by institutional management of Zakat for poverty alleviation since 2008. “If Zakat fund is collected and managed properly, it can be used to create a pull of funds, which can be used in financing development activities and can replace government expenditures,” Dr Kabir Hasan mentioned………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Islamic nations’ Mecca meeting timely - King

Posted on 15 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

His Majesty King Abdullah on Monday underlined the timing and the agenda of the Islamic summit, which will be held today in Mecca, stressing its importance in unifying the ranks of the Arab and Islamic nations.
The invitation by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz for an extraordinary summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) comes in response to escalating development in the region and the Islamic world, the King said in an interview with the Saudi newspaper, Okaz………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Islamic states set to suspend Syria from OIC

Posted on 15 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Leaders of Muslim countries are expected to suspend Syria’s membership of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation at a summit in Mecca on Wednesday, despite the vocal objections of President Bashar al-Assad’s main ally Iran.
The decision by the 57-member organisation, which requires a two-thirds majority, will expose the divisions within the Islamic world over how to respond to civil war in a country that straddles the Middle East’s main sectarian faultline………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Qatar gives financial aid to Egypt

Posted on 14 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

In a move to manifest its solidarity in the revival of Egypt’s economy and its struggle to shake-off the effects of its post-revolution, Qatar has announced that it will deposit an amount of $2 billion at Egypt’s Central bank. The announcement was also confirmed by Egypt.
The gesture came after a closed door meeting was held by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and Egypt’s new president Mohamed Morsi. The Emir is on a visit to Cairo and it’s the first of its kind by a Gulf leader after the election of the Muslim Brotherhood candidate as president………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Abbas to ask Islamic countries for major aid

Posted on 14 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will present a multi-sector aid plan to lift the PA out of its financial crisis when he addresses the Organization of Islamic Countries this week, a PA minister told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency on Sunday.
The plan “needs hundreds of millions of dollars to be implemented, and we hope that Islamic countries will support us,” Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habash told Ma’an………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Swiss-Saudi tie-up targets $500 bln Islamic charity market

Posted on 10 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Veteran Geneva-based banker and Islamic finance expert John Sandwick has teamed up with Saudi adviser Wafi International to target the Islamic endowment market, a $500 billion capital pool he said had been poorly served to date.
Waqf, or charitable endowments invested according to Islamic principles, are often used to fund schools and hospitals, but the charitable trusts that generally manage them tend to produce poor returns………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Saudi Kingdom has SR 1 trillion worth of Zakat: Saleh Kamel

Posted on 10 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Prominent Saudi businessman Saleh Kamel has estimated the total value of Zakat in the Kingdom at SR 1 trillion, and said such a huge amount could be used to solve many economic and social problems in the country.
Kamel, who is also chairman of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said people should pay Zakat for real estate properties that have been for sale. “We Muslims should understand the economic wisdom behind the Zakat system. If we collect and use Zakat properly, it can bring about substantial improvement in our economic condition,” Kamel told a gathering of businessmen and academics in Madinah………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Russia eyes Brunei’s Islamic expertise

Posted on 02 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Russia hopes to collaborate with Brunei economically in halal food production, Islamic finance and banking and in infrastructure development, outside of the oil and gas industry.
The ambassador of the Russian Federation to Brunei, Victor A Seleznev, said that this year, there are many Bruneians visiting Russia, and because Brunei will be the chair of ASEAN, it would mean that a lot of the Russian delegations will also be making a trip to Brunei………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Keep the faith: Finance and religion

Posted on 02 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

One of the most interesting things to come out of the financial crisis has been the growth of interest in Islamic banking. These new entrants to the sector provide Sharia-compliant products that forbid the payment or receipt of interest and refuse to invest in “unethical” industries such as the gambling, pornography or the tobacco trades.
While many of its critics claimed that the model would struggle to compete with mainstream banks they continue to frustrate their detractors. Last month, for example, the Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB) launched a competitive 4% expected profit rate for its two-year fixed account to coincide with the start of Ramadan………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Global Islamic body urges aid to Myanmar Muslims

Posted on 01 August 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, a group of 57 member states, urged the Muslim community around the world to give political, humanitarian and financial aid to the victims of violence in northwest Myanmar.
“This is a large humanitarian crisis but unfortunately the international and Muslim communities are mostly unaware of the dimensions,” Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu told a news conference on Tuesday………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Saudi economy vibrant in the midst of sustained spending

Posted on 24 July 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

People in Saudi Arabia are feeling less threatened by economic worries in the West. While data on personal savings is unavailable, overall deposits in the Kingdom’s banking system have been rising over the past year, leaving banks with more money than they know what to do with.
The figures for Saudi Arabia indicate that consumers are more confident than it would first appear, Said Paul Gamble, chief economist and head of research at the local Jadwa Investments………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Are religious beliefs a drag on economic growth?

Posted on 23 July 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Many critics of the religion as a social organisation argue that Islam, like other old religions, stymied business in general and economic activity in particular. One staunch advocate of such a view is Timur Kuran who has written extensively on the negative impact of Islamic contract laws and the division of business and estate consequent to the Islamic law of inheritance.
On the surface, Kuran’s view is appealing but a deeper, more objective, look reveals that it is not the institution of religion that is the cause of underdevelopment. Rather, the early stage of development in which many Muslim countries are in has caused the debilitated and enervated commercial sector which Kuran laments………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Bahrain: Coming together in Islamic finance

Posted on 20 July 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The Kingdom is encouraging some of its sharia-compliant banks to join forces to be better capitalised and equipped to deal with an increasingly turbulent and competitive global market.
At the end of June, shareholders of three Bahraini Islamic lenders – Capivest, Elaf Bank and Capital Management House – approved a proposal put forward by their respective managements to merge their operations, a move first mooted at the end of last year………………………………………..Full Article: Source

When it comes to Arab economies, ideology means little

Posted on 18 July 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The ongoing showdown in Egypt between the country’s Islamists and its military rulers is a clear reminder of how difficult democratic transitions in the Arab world are likely to be. Obviously, the failure to reach a power-sharing agreement will prolong political instability. But the resulting economic inaction would be just as damaging to the consolidation of democratic rule in Egypt.
Emerging Arab leaders, from Islamists to former regime officials who have re-invented themselves, are keenly aware of the need to improve their countries’ economic prospects………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Revolutionising the Arab economies

Posted on 18 July 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The ongoing showdown in Egypt between the country’s Islamists and its military rulers is a clear reminder of how difficult democratic transitions in the Arab world are likely to be. Obviously, failure to reach a power-sharing agreement will prolong political instability. But the resulting economic inaction would be just as damaging to the consolidation of democratic rule.
Emerging Arab leaders, from Islamists to reinvented former regime officials, are keenly aware of the need to improve their countries’ economic prospects. They know full well that their popularity can be sustained only if they are able to deliver growth, employment and higher living standards………………………………………..Full Article: Source

The Middle East and the role of economics

Posted on 17 July 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

If Iran closes the Strait of Hormuz, how will Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states react? What Middle Eastern country is next to have a revolution? What motivates terrorists? How should U.S. policymakers respond in each case? The answers to these questions require comprehensive and innovative analyses.
Scholarship in Middle East affairs is traditionally performed either through cultural studies or security studies. Unfortunately, few academics, and even fewer policymakers, focus on the role of economics. Cultural and security studies tend to ignore the economic motivations of regional actors and how those motivations are frequently elevated above other considerations. ………………………………………Full Article: Source

The economic toll of Islamic law

Posted on 13 July 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Right now, the Islamic world is in the midst of a grand experiment. After decades facing an unappetizing choice among secular dictatorship, monarchy, and Iranian-style theocracy, nations across the region are grappling with how to build genuinely modern governments and societies that take into account the Islamist principles shared by a majority of voters.
As they do, a shadow hangs over their prospects. Islamic nations in the Middle East on the whole have underperformed their counterparts in the West………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Egypt, Saudi agree on increasing investment, MENA reports

Posted on 13 July 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Saudi Arabia agreed to increase Saudi investment in Egypt and provide more job opportunities for Egyptians, the official Egyptian Middle East News Agency reported, citing Yasser Ali, a spokesman for Egypt’s President Mohammed Mursi.
Talks between Mursi and Saudi crown prince Salman bin Abdulaziz also covered ways of overcoming obstacles facing Saudi investors in Egypt, MENA said………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Mortgage law to spur Islamic finance: Study

Posted on 12 July 2012 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Saudi Arabia’s approval of a landmark mortgage law this week after a delay of more than three years will give rise to Islamic funding and tackle some of the challenges in the real estate sector in the Kingdom, National Commercial Bank (NCB) said.
Although all income segments will be positively impacted from the enactment of a mortgage law, those within the affluent segment will have greater freedom to either finance the construction of their own houses or to invest in the housing sector, NCB noted………………………………………..Full Article: Source

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