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Islamic Finance Briefing - Category | Market Moves more

Etiqa aims to be insurance, Takaful market leader by 2015

Posted on 18 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Etiqa Insurance and Takaful Bhd, which has increased its gross written premium from RM2.8 billion in 2006 to RM5.4 billion this year, aims to be the market leader for insurance and takaful by 2015. Etiqa, the insurance and takaful arm of Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank), said it is the number one takaful operator in Malaysia with a market share of 49.9 per cent in general takaful and 36.3 per cent in family takaful.
“Etiqa registered an 11 per cent growth year-on-year in profit before tax, soaring to RM660.5 million as a result of improved surplus transfer from the life insurance and family takaful fund and favourable investment performance of all funds,” it said in a statement…………………………………….Full Article: Source

Ethics and finance: Doing the right thing can be profitable

Posted on 18 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Many believe the answer lies in some form of ethical finance with a philosophy that is underpinned by moral tenets or religious beliefs. While Islamic finance scores highest in this area in terms of the number of headlines it secures, other religious groups can find themselves in lockstep with these same views.
Ethical finance encompasses a wide range of issues from sustainability to firearms, exploitation of people and resources to environmental concerns. Investors who require an ethical overlay to their money management want to look after the world they live in and this can mean investing in companies which have business models that are sustainable in an ecological, social, economic and political way…………………………………….Full Article: Source

Successful deployment of iMAL at Maisarah Islamic banking services

Posted on 18 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Path Solutions, the application software and services company, has announced that Maisarah Islamic Banking Services, BankDhofar’s Islamic banking window successfully went live with iMAL Islamic core banking system on Monday 4 March 2013.
Sameh Al Zadjali, Senior Manager - IT, Maisarah commented, “We have worked closely with Path Solutions and have benefited from their experience and market-leading solutions. We are confident that by installing iMAL at the centre of our Islamic banking operations, we will reach our goal of becoming the best Islamic bank in the Sultanate, leader in innovation.”……………………………………Full Article: Source

Islamic microfinance market size touches $1 bln

Posted on 17 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Islamic Microfinance is rapidly gaining acceptance in Muslim and Non- Muslim countries due to its remarkable performance in poverty eradication; because of which, this industry is making quick progress. According to our careful estimate Islamic Microfinance market’s worth has reached $1 billion.
These views were expressed by Muhammad Zubair Mughal, the Chief Executive Officer of AlHuda Centre of Islamic Banking and Economics (CIBE). He said that currently more than 300 Islamic Microfinance institutions are offering their services to 1.6 million clients in almost 32 countries. ……………………………………Full Article: Source

Dubai supremacy challenged by Gulf rivals

Posted on 17 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

When Saad Iqbal left Deutsche Bank AG in Dubai two years ago as European banks scaled back amid the debt crisis, he turned to Riyadh, where a construction boom was making Saudi Arabia a hub for project finance.
Dubai said in January it would create an Islamic finance council to regulate equity and fixed-income products to boost the industry’s role in the economy. Islamic bonds sales in the emirate have jumped almost 50 percent this year…………………………………….Full Article: Source

INCEIF reaffirms network in Indonesia

Posted on 17 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

INCEIF, The Global University of Islamic Finance, has enhanced efforts to develop new contacts and strengthen ties with existing partners in Indonesia, one of its important international markets.
In a statement issued from Jakarta Tuesday, INCEIF said its president and chief executive officer Daud Vicary Abdullah, and Chief Academic Officer Datuk Prof Syed Othman Alhabshi were now in the republic to speak at separate industry events. INCEIF said it would also hold meetings with parties interested in increasing their involvement in Islamic finance as a collaboration…………………………………….Full Article: Source

The booming sukuk industry: A source of worry?

Posted on 16 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Global sukuk issuance is in constant acceleration, especially since the fourth quarter of 2011. More players are entering the market, especially from the GCC, which now claims a bigger slice of the pie at the expense of Malaysia (although the latter still dominates the sukuk market). The amounts raised through sukuk issuance are also becoming more substantial.
This trend is not necessarily a sign of healthy development for the Islamic finance industry, for three reasons………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Islamic banking or banking for Muslims?

Posted on 16 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Many Islamic bankers tend to believe that Muslims are using Islamic financial services because such services are offered to them; otherwise (according to them) customers are indifferent between Islamic and conventional products. This thinking may be partially true. It is certainly the case where Islamic banking is either non-existent or is insignificant in magnitude and proportion.
Once Islamic banking gathers a meaningful size (about 10% of the overall banking sector), Muslims choose Islamic banking, even if it happens to be slightly more expensive………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank runs fun finance activities at Global Village

Posted on 16 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), exclusive financial sponsor of Global Village, concluded its participation in Global Village by organising a family-friendly treasure hunt aimed at enhancing financial literacy among the destination’s five million visitors.
Participants of the treasure hunt were tasked to search all 10 ADIB ATMs across Global Village for tips on saving and money management. Participants who answered correctly were entered into a raffle to win a trip for two to Malaysia………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Pakistan’s Islamic bank Meezan keen on setting up branch in India

Posted on 15 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Pakistan’s first and largest Islamic bank, Meezan Bank Ltd, said it was looking for opportunities to set up an Islamic bank in India. “India and Pakistan have cross-cultural similarities and we think there is immense potential for Islamic banking here. We have been discussing this internally and if regulatory hurdles are cleared, we may set up a branch here,” Muhammad Raza, Executive Vice-President and Head-Consumer Banking, Meezan Bank, said.
Raza said his bank was also looking to open branches in Malaysia and the UK, among others………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Shariah Review Bureau partners with Simply Sharia Human Capital

Posted on 15 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Simply Sharia Human Capital (SSHC) is now offering the Islamic Finance Qualification (IFQ) in collaboration with the Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB). “The SRB-SSHC partnership will deliver the internationally recognised and UK-certified IFQ across the Gulf region,” announced a press release.
Yasser Dahlawi said, “Nurturing people with practical applications of Islamic finance and the governing rules of Shari’ah is an important transformation process of the Islamic financing industry. The knowledge and information which people will be acquire from the IFQ programme will allow them to continually serve the Islamic industry with optimal levels of service something which we strongly believe is the pulse of our time.”……………………………………….Full Article: Source

World Takaful conference in Dubai

Posted on 15 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

More than 400 international Islamic insurance industry leaders from the Middle East, South East Asia, Africa and beyond to gather in Dubai at the 8th Annual World Takaful Conference (WTC 2013) for discussions that will tackle the threats to sustainable profitability and discuss a new growth map for moving towards sound underwriting profitability.
More than 400 key players and thought leaders in the global Takaful industry will be gathering on the 15th and 16th of April 2013 in Dusit Thani, Dubai, for the 8th Annual World Takaful Conference (WTC 2013), according to a press release from its organisers. (Press Release)

Italian governor calls for greater understanding of Islamic finance

Posted on 12 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The “opportunity to attract foreign capital to underpin economic progress” makes it “increasingly important” for Italy to equip itself to interact with Islamic financial systems, according to Bank of Italy governor Ignazio Visco.
In his welcoming address to a seminar organized by the Islamic Financial Services Board and hosted by Banca d’Italia on the subject of Islamic finance, Visco repeated a question asked at a recent conference by Amartya Sen: “How is it possible that an activity that is so useful has been viewed as morally so dubious?” Visco said what is most important is to “focus on the link between financial transactions and underlying assets.”……………………………………….Full Article: Source

SME Bank, Islamic Bank to get capital injections

Posted on 12 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The Finance Ministry has approved a capital increase of Bt3 billion each for the stateowned Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bank and Islamic Bank. The recapitalisation is to rehabilitate the two banks’ business and restructure their nonperforming loans, said permanent secratary Areepong Phuchaum Bhoochaoom.
There will be two phases to the move. The first phase will inject Bt550 million into SME Bank and Bt450 million into Islamic Bank this year. Next year, Bt2.45 billion will be injected into SME Bank and Bt2.55 billion into Islamic Bank, he said………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Quick go live of iMAL at Bank Al Muamelat Assahiha

Posted on 12 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Path Solutions announced the successful Go Live of iMAL at Bank Al Muamelat Assahiha (BMS) in Mauritania in a record time of less than two months. The highly scalable infrastructure of Path Solutions ‘ iMAL Islamic banking and investment system along with the advanced project implementation methodology adopted by Path Solutions have enabled deployment time to shorten by one week, thus exceeding BMS’s expectations.
The flexible system structure, design and the customer-centric functionality in iMAL will allow the bank to quickly deploy new Islamic banking products and services to the market and expand into new regions at a rapid pace. (Press Release)

India: KSIDC partners with Islamic fund

Posted on 12 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) has partnered with Cheraman Financial Services Limited, a Kochi-based Islamic fund. KSIDC has 11 per cent share in the Rs. 250 crore fund which is a shariah-based entity aimed at funding selected sectors.
Cheraman is the new avatar of the Al Baraka fund proposed by KSIDC two years ago. The Al Baraka initiative was intended to mobilise funds from Muslim expatriates, mainly from the Gulf countries, and utilise it for industrial development projects in the State. It is also understood to be the first of its kind in the country………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Woodbridge University’s effective MBA program in Islamic banking draws more than 1,500 new students

Posted on 12 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

In response to the exponential growth of Islamic Banking as a field, Woodbridge University has introduced a specialized degree for the benefit of students interested in pursuing it professionally. Woodbridge University’s MBA program in Islamic Banking satisfies this purpose efficiently by covering every aspect related to the subject matter and incorporating all dynamics of the field.
The need of today is to be responsive and capable to undertake newfound and unfamiliar challenges. Woodbridge University adequately accomplishes that through its MBA program. Additionally, it helps pave the way for professional development, thereby bringing aspiring professionals closer to their goals. (Press Release)

Qatar set to become key global hub for Shariah-compliant products

Posted on 11 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Qatar is set to become a “key international distribution hub” for Shariah-compliant products as the Islamic finance market continues to emerge, a new report has shown. While infrastructure projects will feed new alternative fund structures and boost public-private partnerships, Qatar also has a long-term interest in developing as a centre for Islamic finance, said Qatar Financial Centre Authority in its first ‘Mena Asset Management Barometer’.
Currently, almost 50% of the funds located in the country are Shariah-compliant vehicles, marking it out — along with Saudi Arabia — as one of the region’s most important fund centres for Islamic finance………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Turkey to allow deeper use of Islamic bonds

Posted on 11 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Turkey is working on new regulations to allow wider use of Islamic bonds, a closely watched move which could see sukuk issues employed by the government and corporations for project finance and infrastructure development.
Turkish institutions and the Treasury currently only issue the ijara type of sukuk, which is among the most widely used internationally; the new regulations would approve the use of istisna, murabaha, mudaraba, musharaka and wakala bonds………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Sharjah Islamic Bank Sukuk exceeds expectations 6 fold reaching $3.24bln

Posted on 11 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Sharjah Islamic Bank P.J.S.C (SIB - rated BBB+ by Standard and Poor’s and BBB+ by Fitch) on Tuesday 9 April priced a highly successful $500m 5-year Sukuk, which is due April 2018 under its newly established $1,500,000,000 Sukuk programme. Al Hilal Bank, HSBC, Liquidity Management House and Standard Chartered Bank acted as Joint Lead Managers and Joint Bookrunners, with Dubai Islamic Bank and Qatar Islamic Bank acting as co-managers. The transaction was priced at a profit rate of 2.95%.
As the first senior FI Sukuk from the region in 2013, SIB was able to take advantage of the positive market backdrop and the strong pent-up demand for quality issuers among Islamic investors, establishing a new benchmark rate for future issuances off their programme. The orderbook was over 6 times subscribed ($3.24bn) representing one of the most robust FI orderbooks from the region. (Press Release)

Iran plans ‘Islamic Google Earth’

Posted on 11 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Minister claims that Basir – Iran’s version of the 3D mapping service – will be ready for use ‘within next four months’. The Iranian authorities have long accused Google Earth of being a tool for western spy agencies, but now they have taken their attacks on the 3D mapping service one step further – by planning the launch of an “Islamic” competitor.
Iran’s minister for information and communications technology, Mohammad Hassan Nami, announced this week that his country was developing what he described as an “Islamic Google Earth” to be called Basir (spectator in Farsi) which will be ready for use “within the next four months”………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Singapore: Shariah products slowly growing popular

Posted on 10 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Investment products that adhere to syariah or Islamic principles are slowly growing in popularity in Singapore. Franklin Templeton has launched another three syariah-compliant funds, as the asset manager recognises the growth of Islamic finance. The three funds are the Franklin Templeton Global Sukuk Fund, Templeton Shariah Global Equity Fund and Templeton Shariah Asian Growth Fund, and will be made available to retail investors.
A syariah-compliant product is one that operates in accordance with the religious beliefs of Islam. For example, syariah-compliant funds are not allowed to invest in businesses associated with activities barred by Islam, such as gambling or alcohol………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Moody’s: Qatar’s banking system outlook remains stable

Posted on 10 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The outlook for Qatars banking system remains stable, unchanged since 2010, says Moodys Investors Service in a new report. The outlook reflects Qatar’s benign economic environment and the rating agency’s expectation that Qatari banks will maintain strong financial metrics, including low levels of non-performing loans (NPLs), robust earnings and sound capitalisation.
However, Moody’s says that these positive factors are counterbalanced by (1) an undiversified economy heavily reliant on the oil and gas sector; (2) the system’s relatively high dependence on short-term foreign funding; and (3) a still-developing corporate-governance and risk-management culture………………………………………..Full Article: Source

IILM sukuk aims at creating cross-border liquidity instrument

Posted on 09 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

After much speculation and expectation about a debut sukuk launch last April 6, the announcement in Doha by the Governing Council of the International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation (IILM) that it was merely launching a sukuk program has turned out to be somewhat of an anti-climax. The expectation is now that the IILM will eventually issue its debut sukuk in the third quarter of 2013 – a $500 million issuance.
Bankers have long past expressed their disappointment in the seeming inability of the IILM to get its act going since its establishment in October 2010 – that of issuing AAA-rated papers in a cross-border market to generate short-term liquidity management for the global Islamic finance industry………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Singapore defends expiry of Islamic finance tax breaks

Posted on 09 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

In his welcome remarks at the Islamic Finance News Singapore Roadshow, Ng Nam Sin, Assistant Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), pointed out that, despite the expiry of certain tax incentives, Singapore is still looking to develop the city’s Islamic finance capabilities by ensuring it a level playing field with conventional financial products.
To ensure that level playing field between Islamic finance and conventional financial products, he said that Singapore “has recognized the unique characteristics of the former in both regulatory and tax treatments. We have ensured the neutrality of the rules insofar as Islamic financing is similar to conventional financing in economic substance and risks. Where the structures are unique, we have and will continue to work closely with industry stakeholders to ensure that level playing field is preserved.”……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Qatar Islamic Bank ratings affirmed

Posted on 09 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Capital Intelligence, the international credit rating agency, announced that it has affirmed Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB)’s Financial Strength Rating (FSR) of ‘A’, which reflects the Bank’s strong Islamic banking franchise, evidenced by substantial growth in financings and customer deposits, a strong net financial income differential, and the Bank’s good capitalisation.
The FSR remains constrained by pressure on financing and investment asset quality, concentration risks, and weak performance on investments. Although at the current level the Bank’s weaker credit metrics would normally elicit a downward adjustment in the FSR, CI is of the opinion that new management has begun to place the bank on a better trajectory. (Press Release)

Khaleeji Commercial Bank signs MoU with Ebrahim Abdulaal Group

Posted on 09 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Khaleeji Commercial Bank (KHCB) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Major Business Venture Developers Ebrahim Abdulaal Group (EAG) towards enabling finance for the purchase of properties developed at their Marina Reef Real Estate Development project.
The MOU was signed by Deputy General Manager - Commercial Banking of KHCB Mr. Fuad Taqi and Chairman of EAG Mr. Ebrahim Ali Abdulaal. Through this financing scheme, customers can avail finance solutions to purchase property at Marina Reef, which is a luxurious freehold development, located on the Reef Island, a man-made island built in the heart of Al Manama within the proximity of City Centre as well as the Seef shopping area………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Islamic finance and its Asean dynamics

Posted on 08 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Islamic Finance has developed into a $1tn global business with the dynamics to reach far more in the near future. The epicentres of this industry are in the Middle East and Asean, with sizeable cash flow between the two regions. Though contributing only a fraction of the world’s total banking assets, Islamic financial products’ resilience to global crises has given the industry credibility in its use as an alternative to conventional banking.
Thus, the potential for a further collaboration between the two centres for Islamic banking is huge, especially between financial hubs such as Qatar and Malaysia………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Malaysia slated to be global hub for Shariah finance

Posted on 08 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The global Islamic banking and finance industry is on a strong growth path with worldwide assets in Shariah compliance growing four times from 0.5 per cent to two per cent of the world economy after the financial crisis. Malaysia today is the world’s third largest market for Islamic banking, takaful and sukuk. The country’s Islamic capital market tripled in size to a value of RM1.05 over the past decade.
In comparison, other large Muslim countries are still at an early stage of growth. According to intelligence group Inside Investors, global share of Islamic banking assets in Malaysia was expected to increase from eight per cent in 2009 to 13 per cent in 2020, and the global share of takaful contribution was expected to increase from 11 per cent to 20 per cent in 2020………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Ajman Bank launches new home finance offer at 2.99 pct

Posted on 08 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Ajman Bank has announced a new Home Finance offer with a profit rate starting from 2.99 per cent. The move is, said the bank, part of its commitment to support the growth of the real estate sector and, following the signing of an MOU with Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme in August 2012, is also aimed to address the housing needs of customers and families in the UAE to acquire their homes at affordable rates.
Ajman Bank’s new Shari’ah compliant offer is available to both UAE Nationals and Residents, with finance amounts up to AED 5 million. The scheme provides up to 90 per cent of the property cost for UAE Nationals and up to 85 per cent for Expatriates. Repayment periods can be extended up to 25 years under flexible conditions………………………………………..Full Article: Source

DIB rise to highest since 2011 as bank repays loan: Dubai mover

Posted on 08 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC (DIB) climbed to the highest level in almost two years as the biggest Shariah- compliant lender in the United Arab Emirates paid a government loan it got in 2008 before it was due.
The shares jumped 4.1 percent to 2.27 dirhams, the highest close since April 2011. About 25 million shares were traded, or almost five times the three-month daily average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The benchmark DFM General Index lost 0.3 percent………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Oman: Islamic banks need comprehensive marketing approach

Posted on 08 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Marketing of banking services is highly sponsored by banks and financial institutions CEOs, to maximise their processes, types, figures and subsequently their profits. That in addition to their exerted efforts to attract new clients, thus during last decades, all banks established independent marketing departments and divisions.
These new functions serve different type of customers, and mainly set the plans, programmes, procedures and strategies that enable banks to achieve their objectives and targets………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Warba Bank achieves 33pct growth in corporate banking business during the second half of 2012

Posted on 08 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Warba Bank announced the achieving of positive results in terms of the financing activities of its Corporate Banking Group. This achievement stems from the strength of the bank’s operations and its diversified sources of income, as the bank continues to service vital market sectors inside and outside Kuwait.
During the past period, the bank focused on financing certain sectors; most notably amongst them are the retail, industry, real estate and petrochemicals sectors. Warba Bank ’s corporate financing portfolio increased by 33% during the Second Half of 2012. This was achieved by building a solid professional customer base; as well as easy, fast and efficient processing of transactions………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Oman: Takaful to create competition in insurance market: Report

Posted on 08 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

With continued growth forecast for Oman’s insurance market, A M Best Co believes the new takaful licensing regulation will generate additional competition in an already crowded market. Over the long term, A M Best, a credit-rating organisation dedicated to the insurance industry, expects that underwriting profitability challenges in Oman could lead some insurers to exit the market, while larger insurers will maintain their leading positions.
In a report entitled ‘Oman’s Market Offers Opportunities; Fierce Competition Remains,’ A M Best says the pending introduction of takaful licensing regulation by the Capital Market Authority is likely to create further interest from new entrants………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Saudi Arabia sells share in Islamic finance body

Posted on 05 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Saudi Arabia’s central bank has sold its shareholding in the International Islamic Liquidity Management Corp (IILM), an unexpected blow to a body which aims to create a liquid cross-border market for Islamic financial instruments.
The decision was announced by the Kuala Lumpur-headquartered IILM late on Wednesday, in a statement which did not give a reason. IILM officials declined to comment, while officials from the Saudi central bank, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (Sama), could not be reached for comment on Thursday, a holiday in their country………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Proponents, opponents of Islamic govt bonds debate at Egypt’s AUC

Posted on 05 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

A debate on Wednesday hosted by the American University in Cairo on the Egyptian government’s issuance of Islamic bonds – or sukuk – pitted supporters of controversial draft legislation permitting sukuk against its opponents.
The law was approved by the Shura Council (the upper house of Egypt’s parliament, currently endowed with legislative powers) in what was meant to be a decisive vote on 19 March. The step was taken, however, without the endorsement of Al-Azhar, Egypt’s highest Islamic authority, in an alleged violation of the country’s new constitution. The law, therefore, remains until now in a legal limbo………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Saudi bond market taking off with innovative deals

Posted on 05 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

After years in which the growth of Saudi Arabia’s bond market lagged its economy, the market is taking off as local companies rush to issue debt — though low returns are keeping foreign investors on the sidelines. Traditionally, Saudi companies and other entities have relied on bank loans and retained earnings to finance their expansion. For debt market traders, that has made Saudi Arabia a case of unfulfilled potential.
In recent months, that pattern has started to change as companies become more familiar with bonds, a wide range of investors demand them, and banks bump up against the limits of how much they can lend to individual companies………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Oman’s Islamic banks get extension on overseas holdings

Posted on 05 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Oman’s central bank has granted Islamic banks a one-year relaxation of rules on the amount of foreign assets which they can hold, to give time for Islamic financial instruments to be developed domestically. Oman’s first full-fledged Islamic banks, Bank Nizwa and Al Izz Islamic Bank, were established late last year and are now starting to operate as the country introduces Islamic finance.
Under rules announced by the central bank in December, the two banks can hold no more than 40 percent of their net worth in the form of foreign currency-denominated assets………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Halal: It’s not just what you eat

Posted on 05 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

It is a multitrillion-dollar sector. But halal is not just about food - as a conference displaying Malaysia’s lead in the area illustrates, it is rapidly evolving into consumer goods, pharmaceuticals and Islamic finance, with interest also from the Arabian Gulf.
The Petronas Towers stand proud above Kuala Lumpur, a city that has been transformed over the past 20 years from the quiet capital of Malaysia into a bustling regional hub, and one of the key proponents of the burgeoning halal industry. It is host to World Halal Week, a global convention that brings together buyers, manufacturers and industry experts all growing the US$2.1 trillion (Dh7.7tn) global halal market………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Research partnership takes on Islamic finance

Posted on 04 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

A research partnership has been formed to create case studies for business school programs, spelling out the commercial implications of Islamic finance. Deloitte’s Islamic Finance Knowledge Centre (IFKC), a think tank based in Bahrain, is partnering with INCEIF, the Global University of Islamic Finance in Malaysia, and the University of Reading’s Henley Business School in England, says IFKC Director Hatim El Tahir.
Islamic finance refers to banking activity that follows the principles of Islamic religious law, or sharia, which prohibits practices that are common in the rest of the world, including charging interest for loans………………………………………..Full Article: Source

MAS says it is committed to developing Islamic financial services in Singapore

Posted on 04 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Singapore’s central bank said it remains committed to developing Islamic financial services in Singapore. Commenting about the lapse of two tax incentives for Islamic finance recently, Assistant Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Ng Nam Sin, said this was “no reflection of MAS’ continuing commitment to develop Islamic financial services in Singapore.”
“Like all our tax incentives, they have a fixed tenure and in this case, of five years. It is useful to note that Islamic finance activities will continue to be incentivized alongside conventional finance activities under our other existing schemes,” said Mr Ng………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Aramco venture raises $2 bln

Posted on 04 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Sadara Chemical Company, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Dow Chemical, raised 7.5 billion riyals ($2bn) from the sale of an Islamic bond to fund a large petrochemical complex in the east of the kingdom.
The sukuk, which has a lifespan of 16 years, was priced at 95 basis points over the six-month Saudi interbank offered rate (Saibor), a statement from Sadara said. The sale is part of a $12.5bn debt to fund the construction of the project, which will produce more than three million tonnes of petrochemicals each year when completed in 2016………………………………………..Full Article: Source

EIDA, Takaful sign MoU

Posted on 04 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Emirates Identity Authority and “Abu Dhabi Local Departments Takaful Fund” signed a strategic partnership agreement to adopt the “Smart” ID card and activate it as a main and permanent source of data for the people benefiting from the services provided by the fund, in order to improve processes and facilitate procedures and develop customer services, by utilizing the data and information provided by the authority for identity authentication and individuals’ identity verifications purposes.
This agreement comes out of the keenness by both parties to support and reinforce the strategic partnership relations already effectively established between the two, contributing to fulfilling the needs of the Emirate community and reflecting positively on economic and social levels, and achieving public interest………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Islamic finance forum to discuss Shariah growth opps

Posted on 04 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The Amanie Australian Islamic Finance Forum will be held at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Melbourne on 16 April. Amanie Advisors Australia has recently become one of the first specialist Shariah advisory bodies to be granted an AFSL licence this country. Far from being a niche segment of the market, Islamic investment principles are fast becoming increasing commonplace within large investment structures.
There were thought to be around $1 trillion worth of Shariah compliant assets available worldwide, as at April 2012 and the likes of Malaysia, Indonesia, Qatar, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates’ governments continue to issue investment grade Shariah bonds………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Islamic fund to target asset leasing

Posted on 03 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

A fund raised from Islamic investors by a global Islamic finance adviser will target co-investments in asset leasing in the infrastructure, aircraft and property sectors in Australia. The Australian head of Amanie Advisors,Mark Darras, says the independent Islamic finance advisory house has worked on raising the fund and structuring deals for the past six to eight months.
He won’t reveal the size of the fund or the investors and issuers involved, as details are still being worked on, but says the first investment will fund aircraft leasing……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Tunisia seeks U.S. guarantee for bonds

Posted on 03 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Tunisia will seek a U.S. guarantee for its bonds for the second consecutive year and will sell Islamic debt in June as the North African nation mobilizes funds to shield the economy from Europe’s crisis and domestic turmoil. The government may sell $500 million of U.S.-backed notes in the second half, Finance Minister Elyes Fakhfakh said in an interview with Bloomberg.
The yield on $485 million of similarly-guaranteed debt due July 2019 fell 21 basis points this year to 1.48 percent yesterday, compared with 5.34 percent on Tunisia’s euro- denominated notes due June 2020. The average yield on Middle Eastern sovereign debt was little changed last week at 4.37 percent………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Dubai Chamber calls for exporting Dubai’s expertise in Islamic finance to emerging markets

Posted on 03 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

A recent Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry study calls for exporting Dubai’s expertise in Islamic financial services to the untapped markets outside the GCC including Turkey, the Levant and South East Asia where the large Muslim population provides a good base for growth, especially in light of the sector’s expected strong growth in the coming years.
The study points out that Dubai banks are potentially well positioned to harness organic growth in these markets where Islamic products can appeal to the predominantly Muslim indigenous population. However, to compete with conventional international institutions, Dubai’s Islamic finance sector must scale and breach the critical mass required to make products feasible. For example, takaful contracts that imitate life-insurance rely on long-term Islamic bonds, which in turn rely on viable secondary markets and wide-scale adoption. (Press Release)

Pinoys eye $2.3-trillion halal market

Posted on 03 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Filipino businessmen in the food and apparel industries are eyeing the $2.3-trillion halal market to cater to high-spending Muslim families and health-conscious consumers. Two of the country’s largest retail companies—Robinsons Supermarket and Rustan’s Super Center—and retailers from the Greenhills Shopping Center in Metro Manila’s San Juan City are among some 500 foreign companies gathered here for the 10th Malaysia International Halal Showcase (Mihas) that seeks to expand product coverage to the halal market.
Halal-certified products vary from food and beverage, toiletries and cosmetics, drugs and food supplements to Islamic finance and logistics………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Tunisia expects IMF deal in May, sukuk issue in July

Posted on 02 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Tunisia expects to sign a $1.7 billion loan deal with the International Monetary Fund next month after a delay due to the crisis that followed the killing of an opposition politician in February, the finance minister was quoted as saying on Monday.
A report on Al-Arabiya television quoted Elyess Fakhfakh as saying the precautionary loan agreement would be reached “by May”.Al-Arabiya also quoted Fakhfakh as saying Tunisia planned to issue its first sovereign sukuk, or Islamic bond, in July to raise $700 million………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Two firms get initial nod for floating sukuk

Posted on 02 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Oman’s market watchdog Capital Market Authority (CMA) has granted “in principal” approvals to two companies for issuing Islamic debt instrument or sukuk.
Tilal Development Company (TDC) earlier said that it is planning to float a OMR50 million-sukuk issue, which is seen by this year. Al Madina Financial and Investment Services is the lead arrangers of sukuk issue for TDC, which will use the proceeds of the issue for funding the expansion of its complex at Bausher………………………………………..Full Article: Source

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