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Islamic Finance Briefing - Archive | June, 2009

GCC business outlook: Bahrain and Oman

Posted on 24 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From ameinfo.com: Bahrain and Oman have decided not to copy the business models of their neighbour states. Nevertheless, both countries aim to move out of the shadow of Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Qatar.
Both economies are set to grow in 2009 by 2.6% and 3% respectively, according to the IMF……..Full Article: Source

Oman Q1 GDP falls 20pc

Posted on 24 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Tradearabia.com: Oman’s nominal gross domestic product (GDP) fell 20 percent in the first quarter, compared to the same period last year, preliminary data from the Ministry of National Economy showed.

The non-Opec oil exporter’s GDP fell to 4.09 billion rials ($10.62 billion) in the first quarter, compared to 5.1 billion rials in the first quarter of 2008, the data showed……..Full Article: Source

CBB Sukuk Al-Ijara oversubscribed

Posted on 24 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Ameinfo.com: The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) announces that the monthly issue of the short-term Islamic leasing bonds, Sukuk Al-Ijara, has been oversubscribed by 200%.
The Sukuk Al-Ijara are issued by the CBB on behalf of the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain……..Full Article: Source

Despite recession, Saudi banks continue to amass foreign assets

Posted on 24 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Gulfnews.com: Well positioned to weather the global recession, Saudi banks have continued to accumulate foreign assets in recent months.

The banks’ foreign assets reached 168.4 billion riyals in April, marking the biggest increase over the past five years……..Full Article: Source

Qatar Exchange to have new trading system

Posted on 24 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Thepeninsulaqatar.com: The administration of the newly-set up Qatar Exchange, which has replaced the Doha Securities Market (DSM), plans to hold a series of seminars and workshops before switching to the new trading system to create adequate awareness among investors.

But the change will take time as restructuring is expected to take more than a year. This was announced by the CEO of Qatar Exchange, Andre Went, at a news conference here yesterday……..Full Article: Source

New firm looks to make Qatar insurance hub

Posted on 24 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Gulf-times.com: Qatar could soon become a major hub of the global insurance and reinsurance businesses with the establishment of Qatarlyst, a company set up by the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) as an insurance technology provider.
Qatarlyst chairman Abdulrahman Ahmed al-Shaibi said the new venture has ample government backing and would tread on a safe path in the coming years to deliver high quality insurance services in the region……..Full Article: Source

Nasser Al Shaikh relieved of all posts

Posted on 24 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Gulfnews.com: Nasser Al Shaikh has been relieved of all his posts, including his post as assistant to the director of the Ruler’s Court for Foreign Affairs.

The announcement was made by the Media Office of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai……..Full Article: Source

Central Bank of Bahrain approves to register first REIT

Posted on 24 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The Central Bank of Bahrain has announced its approval for registration of the first Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) under Bahrain’s Financial Trusts Law.
The Inovest Real Estate Investment Trust (IREIT) has been authorised and approved by the Central Bank of Bahrain as an Expert Collective Investment Undertaking established as a unit trust and with Two Seas Trust B.S.C.(c) as trustee. It is intended to list IREIT on the Bahrain Stock Exchange……..Full Press Release: Source

Project to pilot Islamic finance in Ningxia

Posted on 24 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Eeo.com.cn: The EO learned that China’s Banking Regulatory Commission had given approval to Bank of Ningxia to undertake an Islamic financial services project.
A source familiar with the matter said according to suggestions from regulatory bodies, the bank would likely set up a special department or create special service windows in its branches capable of providing Islamic financial services……..Full Article: Source

Ireland as a centre for Shari’ah compliant funds

Posted on 24 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Linexlegal.com: There has been a dramatic surge in demand for Shari’ah compliant investment products which offer a broad appeal beyond its traditional Muslim base.
The purpose of this briefing note is to explore the main Shari’ah principles in terms of Islamic finance together with an analysis of the key features and categories of Shari’ah compliant investment funds……..Full Article: Source

Egyptian Takaful company rolls out Eskadenia insurance solutions

Posted on 24 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Insurance-business-review.com: The Eskadenia software to be deployed for Egyptian Takaful, intends to automate the general and life insurance lifecycles, minimise operational cost, speed up work, maintain historical data and ensure a high level of security.

The Life Insurance system will cover group and individual Takaful insurance, whereas the General Insurance system will take care of underwriting for all classes of business……..Full Article: Source

Middle East economic growth will slow to 1.6% in 2009, says World Bank

Posted on 23 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Bi-me.com: Economic growth in the Middle East and North Africa will remain below its average rate of 4.5% until 2011 as lower oil prices and weaker European export markets hurt growth, the World Bank said.

Economic expansion in the region will slow to 1.6% this year from 5.6% last year, the World Bank said in its regional outlook released today……..Full Article: Source

Kuwait’s KIA to auction stake in Boubyan in July

Posted on 23 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Reuters: Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), the Gulf state’s sovereign wealth fund, will offer its stake in Islamic lender Boubyan Bank in a public auction in July, a state-controlled firm said on Monday.

KIA has set a minimum price of 550 fils ($1.91) per share for the auction on July 22, Kuwait Investment Co, a unit of KIA, said in a statement obtained by Reuters on Monday……..Full Article: Source

Nasser al-Shaikh resigns from Dubai Islamic Bank

Posted on 23 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Reuters: Former Dubai Department of Finance director-general Nasser al-Shaikh resigned from three more companies on Monday linked to Dubai’s government, including Dubai Islamic Bank, a day after leaving its affiliate Deyaar.

Officials and statements from Dubai Islamic, National Bonds, and education provider Taaleem confirmed Shaikh’s resignations just a month after he was replaced as head of Dubai’s Department of Finance. Shaikh declined to comment……..Full Article: Source

CIMB-Principal to launch Islamic equity fund

Posted on 23 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Reuters: Malaysian CIMB-Principal Islamic Asset Management will launch its first Islamic global equity fund domiciled in Europe, targeting central banks and insurers, its chief executive said on Monday.

Datuk Noripah Kamso told Reuters the Dublin-domiciled fund would be launched by the end of the year. “We are focusing a lot more on Islamic asset management,” Kamso said……..Full Article: Source

Gulf investors may set up bank in Turkey

Posted on 23 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Hurriyet.com.tr: Investors from the Gulf state of Qatar and neighboring Syria may set up an Islamic bank in Turkey, according to a story in The Peninsula, an English-language daily published in Qatar.

A delegation of Qatari and Syrian investors, led by Sheikh Khalid bin Abdullah bin Thani Al Thani, visited Ankara recently to discuss plans to set up the Islamic bank, called a “participation bank” in Turkey, the newspaper reported over the weekend……..Full Article: Source

Parliament ratified agreement on opening of Islamic Bank in Kazakhstan

Posted on 23 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Gazeta.kz: The deputies of the Senate of Parliament of Kazakhstan at the plenary session today passed the Law on Agreement Ratification between the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Government of the United Arab Emirates on opening of the Islamic Bank in Kazakhstan.

The agreement between the government of Kazakhstan and the government of the United Arab Emirates on opening in Kazakhstan of the Islamic Bank was signed on June 11, 2009 in Astana……..Full Article: Source

Bahrain to bridge deficit with $530.5 mln sukuk

Posted on 23 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Lse.co.uk: Bahrain plans an Islamic bond issue of about $530.5 million in its local currency to cover its budget deficit, the Gulf Arab kingdom’s central bank governor was quoted on Monday as saying.

The planned sovereign Islamic bond would be the first government sukuk to be issued in dinars, and would come at the ‘appropriate time’, Rasheed al-Maraj told the daily Asharq al-Awsat newspaper in an interview……..Full Article: Source

Growth forecast for Bahrain’s mortgage market

Posted on 23 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Arabianbusiness.com: Bahrain’s mortgage market could double to about BD700 million ($1.9 billion) in the next few years, according to a mortgage expert.

R Lakshmanan, CEO of Sakana Holistic Housing Solutions, admitted that the number of mortgage approvals in the first three months of the year had slowed, and could dip further……..Full Article: Source

Takaful Malaysia eyes 10% increase in customer base

Posted on 23 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Thestar.com.my: Syarikat Takaful Malaysia Bhd (STMB) targets a 10% increase in customer base from 400,000 currently for its financial year ending June 30, 2010 with the launch of its latest initiative – Takaful myDesk – with Lembaga Tabung Haji (LTH).

Takaful myDesk is a one-stop centre for customers to carry their takaful transactions for all general and family-related takaful products at various LTH branches……..Full Article: Source

DFM earns investors healthy return in H1

Posted on 23 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Arabianbusiness.com: Islamic insurers look set to have been the best investment among stocks in the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) General Index during the first half of the year.

At Sunday’s close, Dar Takaful and Takaful Emarat Insurance were up 137.4 percent and 91.2 percent, respectively, since the beginning of the year……..Full Article: Source

BAB to promote Islamic banks

Posted on 23 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Gulf-daily-news.com: The Bahrain Association of Banks (BAB) is to have a national pavilion for the first time at this year’s World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) in the kingdom.

The pavilion, supported by the Economic Development Board, will host a selection of member banks, showcasing the strength and depth of Islamic financial institutions in Bahrain……..Full Article: Source

First-ever Islamic finance social responsibility survey launched

Posted on 23 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Bi-me.com: Two leading Islamic finance industry service providers, DinarStandard and Dar Al Istithmar, today announced that they have begun gathering data for a first-of-its-kind corporate social responsibility (CSR) survey of Islamic finance Institutions.

The objective of the survey is to benchmark Islamic finance Institutions on their social responsibility efforts. …….Full Article: Source

Ajman Bank forms new strategic alliance with Chamber of Commerce

Posted on 23 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Ameinfo.com: Ajman Bank, the Emirate’s first Islamic commercial bank yesterday signed an agreement with Ajman Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The signing signifies the beginning of a long-term collaboration between the two parties, which will form the foundation of an institutional framework through which ideas, strategies and services can be exchanged, intended to foster sustainable development within the business community in Ajman…….Full Article: Source

Dubai Islamic Bank says no Saudi exposure

Posted on 23 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Tradearabia.com: Dubai Islamic Bank has no exposure to two troubled Saudi conglomerates, a spokesman said on Monday.

“Dubai Islamic Bank has confirmed that it has no exposure to either party,” a spokesman for the bank said when asked about its business with Saad Group and Ahmad Hamad Al Gosaibi Group & Brothers……..Full Article: Source

Emirates NBD sees pressure on earnings

Posted on 23 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Gulfnews.com: Emirates NBD, the Gulf region’s biggest bank by assets, sees earnings under pressure from non-performing loans during the economic crisis, the group’s chief financial officer said on Monday.

“As we go through the year, we will see the materialisation of non-performing loans,” chief financial officer Sanjay Uppal said……..Full Article: Source

EDC launches the ‘Islamic Financial Services Mission’ First leg to take place in Australia

Posted on 23 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Albawaba.com: Dubai Export Development Corporation (EDC), in association with the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade), has started the ‘Islamic Financial Services Mission’, a government initiative of introducing Islamic financial products and services from the UAE to Australia in line with the current changes and trends happening in the financial systems across various countries worldwide.

Islamic banking, one of the recent segments in global financial services with the first bank being established in 1975, has grown remarkably fast and today accounts for over US$700 billion assets provided by more than 300 financial institutions across 75 countries……..Full Article: Source

GCC signs free trade accord with EFTA

Posted on 23 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Arabnews.com: The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and four European states, which are members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), signed a free trade agreement (FTA) in Norway yesterday.
On behalf of the GCC, Abdul Rahman Al-Attiyah, GCC secretary general, signed the FTA, while the ministers of trade and economy from Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein signed the accord on behalf of EFTA……..Full Article: Source

Emaar Properties partners with Standard Chartered Bank to offer two easy home finance options

Posted on 23 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Ameinfo.com: Emaar Properties has partnered with Standard Chartered Bank to extend two easy home finance packages for all its projects in Dubai that will be delivered in the next nine months.
Standard Chartered Bank will offer two mortgage products - the Asset Back Lending (ABL) Product and Standard Mortgage Product (SMP)……..Full Article: Source

VTB Capital to move into Islamic finance

Posted on 23 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Cpifinancial.net: VTB, the second largest Russian financial institution, has launched its operations in the Gulf and wider MENA region with the opening of its office in Dubai.

Licensed by the DIFC in May 2009, VTB Capital said that the Dubai office is the main hub for the planned expansion of its investment business across the region, in line with the bank’s international growth strategy targeting “key markets in MENA, Europe and the Far East……..Full Article: Source

ICD, Investors Club ink accession agreement

Posted on 23 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Tradearabia.com: The Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), the investment arm of the government of Dubai, has signed a membership accession with the Long-Term Investors Club.

The signing ceremony was held on the sidelines of the Paris Conference for Long-Term Value & Economic Stability, which took place today (June 22) in the French capital……..Full Article: Source

Shuaa views $409mln dispute as legal matter

Posted on 23 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Gulfnews.com: Dubai-based investment bank Shuaa Capital said yesterday regulators should refrain from intervening in a $409 million (Dh1.5 billion) bond conversion dispute it has with Dubai Banking Group as it was a “legal” matter.

In a letter to the United Arab Emirates bourse watchdog Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority (ESCA) posted on the Dubai bourse website, Shuaa pointed to several questions which “required very careful consideration” and had to be addressed as “matters of law and public policy”……..Full Article: Source

Emirates Islamic Bank makes credit card payments easier

Posted on 23 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Ameinfo.com: Emirates Islamic Bank, one of the leading Islamic institutions in the region, has launched another convenient service for its customers i.e. that of making credit card payments.
Two of the UAE’s largest and most prominent money exchange companies, Al Ansari and UAE Exchange have joined hands with Emirates Islamic Bank to provide customers with further venues to make their EIB credit card payments……..Full Article: Source

UAE may fund green energy agency

Posted on 23 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Gulf-daily-news.com: The UAE is ready to spend $136 million to fund the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) if its bid to host the agency’s headquarters is successful, a senior official said yesterday.

The UAE wants to place itself at the forefront of developments that may shape the future energy industry and hosting IRENA was part of that plan, Sultan Al Jaber, chief executive of Abu Dhabi’s state-owned green energy initiative Masdar, said……..Full Article: Source

RAK investor buys 60pc of Premier League club

Posted on 23 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Tradearabia.com: A member of a ruling family in the United Arab Emirates has bought a majority stake in an English Premier League soccer club, the official WAM news agency reported on Sunday.

WAM did not name the club but said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saqr Al-Qassimi has bought 60 percent of it, adding that details would be announced in a few days……..Full Article: Source

Nicolas Sarkozy says Islamic veils are not welcome in France

Posted on 23 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Guardian: Nicolas Sarkozy today took a hard line in France’s latest row over Islamic dress, saying full veils and face coverings were a sign of women’s debasement and “not welcome” on French soil.

More than 50 MPs, mostly from the president’s centre-right UMP party, last week backed calls for a parliamentary inquiry to debate whether Muslim women who wear full-body religious veils with only their eyes visible posed a threat to the republic’s secular values and gender equality……..Full Article: Source

Islamic funds outperform peers

Posted on 22 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Business24-7.ae: GCC-focused Islamic funds have registered average returns of 16.8 per cent year-to-date (YTD), outperforming their conventional peers, which have managed just 14.2 per cent.

Out of the 40 GCC-focused funds analysed by this paper, 20 were Islamic funds while an equal number were conventional. The average YTD returns of all funds analysed stood at 15.5 per cent………Full Article: Source

Saudi developer Jabal Omar plans big sukuk issue

Posted on 22 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Tradearabia.com: Jabal Omar Development Company said its shareholders have allowed it to issue Islamic bonds after the Saudi developer faced problems in raising a multi-billion dollar financing for its sole project.

Jabal made the announcement on the Saudi stock exchange website on Saturday after a shareholders’ assembly on Wednesday. It did not elaborate………Full Article: Source

VTB to launch Russia’s 1st Sukuk in 4Q

Posted on 22 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Zawya Dow Jones: Russia will get its first corporate sukuk, or Islamic bond this year, in an effort to attract oil-rich Gulf investors to the country, according to the arranging bank.

“We’ve been mandated on the sukuk and we’re targeting this autumn,” Yuri Soloviev, president and global chief executive officer of Russia’s VTB Capital told Zawya Dow Jones in an interview in Dubai Sunday. “There’s a huge pool of liquidity in the Gulf waiting for a Shariah-compliant investment opportunity in Russia.” ……..Full Article (Subscription Required): Source

Doctors of law needed to take Islamic finance forward

Posted on 22 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Business24-7.ae: With the global financial crisis exposing the limitations of traditional banking systems, there is now a big push in the banking sector worldwide to incorporate Islamic banking, the total assets of which are expected to reach $2 trillion (Dh7.34trn) in 2015, according to experts.

However, Islamic banking is not without its challenges, the most prominent of which is to find adequately qualified Islamic scholars for the Shariah governance boards of Islamic banks and financial institutions………Full Article: Source

Scholars call for Shariah board under Central Bank

Posted on 22 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Business24-7.ae: A central Shariah board under the Central Bank should be created to replace the current practice of each Islamic financial institution having its own board, to oversee Islamic finance and banking activity in the country, Islamic scholars said.

Until such time a central board is created, measures must be undertaken to ensure that the salaries of Shariah board members do not come from their individual retaining banks, but from a central pool………Full Article: Source

Saudi Electricity to raise $1.87bln through sukuk sale

Posted on 22 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Fom Gulfnews.com: Saudi Electricity Co, the state- controlled power producer, may raise as much as $1.87 billion (Dh6.86 billion) in the largest sale of Islamic bonds this year as the market for Sharia-compliant debt shows signs of revival.

The producer got regulatory approval from the Capital Market Authority to sell the five-year Islamic bonds, also known as sukuk, from June 13 to June 28………Full Article: Source

Mortgages in Bahrain may top $1.9bln

Posted on 22 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Fom Gulf-daily-news.com: The mortgage market in Bahrain and across the GCC slowed down in the first three months of this year and could slow further. But in the longer term the market in Bahrain could double to around BD700 million ($1.9 billion) in the next few years.

That was the view expressed by Sakana Holistic Housing Solutions chief executive officer R Lakshmanan at the opening session of a two-day GCC Mortgage Master Class organised by the Bahrain-based mortgage provider at the Diplomat Radisson SAS Hotel, Residence and Spa………Full Article: Source

EIU survey finds best business climate in Qatar

Posted on 22 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Thepeninsulaqatar.com: Qatar ranked first in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region in terms of having a constructive business environment, according to a survey.

The recent survey released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), shows Qatar having the best business environment, while Iran ranked last………Full Article: Source

QInvest: Opportunity knocks

Posted on 22 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Arabianbusiness.com: Shahzad Shahbaz, CEO of QInvest, is pinning the investment bank’s future growth ambitions on the launch of four funds to snap up distressed assets and capitalise on the downturn.

As once cautious investors return tentatively to global stock markets, among those first in the queue will be Shahzad Shahbaz, CEO of QInvest, Qatar’s largest investment bank………Full Article: Source

Global’s debt management structure bothers investors

Posted on 22 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Gulfnews.com: Global Investment House, one of the best-known investment banks in the Middle East, has drawn millions of dollars of financing from an investment company subsidiary through murabaha, an Islamic debt structure.
But investors have raised concerns over how the financing has been managed………Full Article: Source

Malaysia launches murabaha liquidity tool

Posted on 22 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Thepeninsulaqatar.com: Malaysia’s central bank launched yesterday a murabaha instrument to manage liquidity in Islamic financial markets.
The central bank said the murabaha notes, certificates of indebtedness arising from a deferred mark-up sale of assets, would increase efficiency and flexibility in managing liquidity in the financial system by diversifying the sharia concept used in our Islamic monetary instrument………Full Article: Source

Banks lending more to property buyers in UAE

Posted on 22 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Propertywire.com: Mortgage lending in Dubai appears to be increasing amid growing confidence in the real estate sector that better liquidity will see a recovery by the end of the year.

Noor Islamic Bank reported that its mortgage business is 40 to 50% up on the start of the year. Dubai Islamic Bank has announced it would offer 90% financing on properties in the United Arab Emirates………Full Article: Source

Noor benefits from Dubai bailout cash

Posted on 22 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Maktoob.com: Noor Islamic Bank, a Dubai-based sharia-compliant lender that’s part-owned by the government, has received a portion of the emirate’s $10 billion economic bailout bond in the form of deposits, the company’s chief executive told news agency Zawya Dow Jones.

“We received part of the Dubai $10 billion bond in deposits,” Hussain al-Qemzi said in an interview Sunday. “We also received deposits from the Mnistry of Finance.”……..Full Article: Source

VTB Capital launches gulf investment banking business

Posted on 22 June 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Ameinfo.com: VTB Capital, Russia’s international investment banking leader owned by VTB Group, the second largest Russian financial institution announces the launch of its operations in the Gulf and wider MENA region with the opening of its office in Dubai.
Licensed by the DIFC in May 2009, VTB Capital’s Dubai office is the main hub for the planned expansion of its investment business across the region, in line with the bank’s international growth strategy targeting key markets in MENA, Europe and the Far East………Full Article: Source

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