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Islamic Finance Briefing - Archive | July, 2009

Bahrain sets minimum standards for insurers

Posted on 21 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) has become the first regulator in the Middle East to set a minimum qualification bar for representatives of insurance companies to practice in the Kingdom.

The CBB resolution is aimed at strengthening the regulations for the insurance market in Bahrain and also enhance the public perception of the insurance market…….Full Article: Source

Shariah Index will rate countries’ Islamic law

Posted on 21 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Many countries are Islamic, but some may be more Islamic than others. Now moves are afoot to rate nations according to how closely they adhere to the principles of Islam.

The Shariah Index Project is led by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, a New York-based cleric who heads the Cordoba Initiative, a multinational project to improve relations between Muslim countries and the West…….Full Article: Source

Is Gulf Finance House poised for fresh growth?

Posted on 21 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From After a rather torrid start to 2009 for Bahraini Islamic investment bank Gulf Finance House, the appointment of a new chief executive with a reputation as a turnaround specialist could spark a change of fortunes. But is it really likely to result in a fresh expansion?

Ahmed Fahour has been unveiled as GFH’s new chief executive today and is due to move out to Bahrain from Australia next month…….Full Article: Source

Emirates Development Bank to support small business

Posted on 21 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From The Emirates Development Bank (EDB), a merged lender approved by the Cabinet last month, will begin operations next year with a focus on providing funding to the industrial sector and small businesses owned by Emiratis.

The bank will also help finance the construction of 40,000 houses in the capital under the Sheikh Zayed Housing programme, said Younis al Khoori, the under secretary at the Finance Ministry…….Full Article: Source

Kuwait’s KFH Q2 profit dive on provisions

Posted on 21 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Reuters: Kuwait Finance House, the Gulf’s second largest Islamic lender, posted a 61 percent fall in second-quarter net profit on provisions as the global financial crisis hit banks across the country.

Net income in the first half of the year was 72 million dinars ($250 million), or 32 fils per share, KFH said in a statement without giving comparative figures. There are 1,000 fils in a dinar…….Full Article: Source

Al Jazeera Islamic goes live with iMAL

Posted on 21 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Path Solutions announced that Al Jazeera Islamic Co, one of the leading Qatar-based firms specialised in the provision of Islamic consumer financial products to retail consumers and SMEs, has gone live with iMAL Enterprise Banking Solution.

According to Khursheed Hassan, CEO Al Jazeera Islamic Co, this implementation represents not only the relevance of iMAL to the local market, but also its ability to cater for Al Jazeera growth plans…….Full Article: Source

GMFA says it is “cash rich and ready to spur growth”

Posted on 21 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Global Mena Financial Assets Limited (GMFA), a private equity investment company listed on the London Stock Exchange and managed by the private equity arm of Global Investment House in Kuwait has announced a $167 million cash liquidity pool and claims it is comfortably positioned to benefit from high profile acquisition opportunities in the region.

The company said it holds investments in eight companies (two listed and six unlisted), with a total estimated market value of $257.3 million as of the end of last month…….Full Article: Source

RAK Capital’s upcoming Sukuk issue assigned ‘A’ rating

Posted on 21 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said today that it had assigned its ‘A’ credit rating to the upcoming sukuk being issued under the $2 billion certificates (sukuk al-ijara) issuance program from RAK Capital.

As per the original rating of the program in May 2008, we expect all issuances of certificates under this program to be rated ‘A’…….Full Article: Source

Savesh Sarup new head of Retail Banking Group at Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank

Posted on 21 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has appointed Sarvesh Sarup as Head of its Retail Banking Group. Sarvesh has taken on the role of overseeing all the retail global banking activities and resources in addition to retail operations at all branches.
Sarvesh is tasked with implementing the bank’s retail expansion plans…….Full Article: Source

Middle East insurance: Takaful Q & A

Posted on 21 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From How does Takaful differ from conventional insurance? Has the takaful industry been affected by the global recession? What are the threats to the Takaful industry?
Can Takaful Operators purchase conventional reinsurance?……Full Article (Subscription Required): Source

Indonesian Islamic banking outlook to 2013

Posted on 21 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

With the global financial crisis raising doubts over the world´s conventional financial system, the banking industry in Indonesia stands to benefit from the global downturn and expects to continue rapid growth in the coming years.
The financial crisis is having no negative impact on the development of Islamic banking in the country…….Full Press Release: Source

Islamic Finance and SRI have weathered the global economic crisis

Posted on 21 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Islamic Finance and Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) are receiving considerable attention in the financial press. Islamic Finance is a banking system and investment approach that adheres to the principles of Islamic law (sharia).

Most notably this includes the sharing of profit and loss, prohibition against investing in certain types of businesses and charging a fee for lending money. In the last decade Islamic Finance has exceeded 10% annual growth…….Full Press Release: Source

DIFC Authority releases updated version of ‘Guide to Islamic Finance’

Posted on 21 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From The Dubai International Financial Centre Authority today announced the release of the updated version of its ‘Guide to Islamic Finance in or from the DIFC’.

Apart from incorporating the new landmarks in the evolution of its model Islamic insurance regulatory framework and operating practises, the latest publication also takes into account the changing overall scenario as a result of the ongoing financial crisis that is gripping the world…….Full Article: Source

IDB plans several options to raise financing

Posted on 20 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From As demand increases for financing in member countries impacted by the aftermath of the global financial crisis, the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) is considering several options to raise financing as part of its resource mobilization strategy.
According to Mohammed Tariq, head of treasury at the IDB, the “zero risk Weighting assigned to the IDB under Basel II and EU Parliament directives and the AAA ratings by all three principal international credit rating agencies, means that the IDB is well-placed to attract strong investor demand for its credit.”……….Full Article: Source

IDB pumps cash into its global operations

Posted on 20 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Dr. Waleed Al Wohaib, CEO of the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) headed a delegation of officials from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group at the 2nd Global Review of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Aid for Trade initiative held in Geneva on July 6-7, 2009.
It was rrganized to evaluate progress made since the First Global Review in 2007 with the key objectives of moving from commitment to implementation, mainstreaming trade in national and regional development strategies, sustaining trade flows during the global economic downturn, and assessing the effectiveness of Aid for Trade………..Full Article: Source

Fahour to head global Islamic bank

Posted on 20 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Former National Australia Bank senior executive Ahmed Fahour is aiming to build the world’s first Islamic global investment bank following his appointment to Middle Eastern bank Gulf Finance House.

The Lebanese-born Australian will take charge of the Bahrain-based bank next month, looking to offer oil-rich Gulf states with investment opportunities ranging from infrastructure and specialist investment products that comply with Islamic rules………..Full Article: Source

Islamic finance needs to expedite the development of a systemic liquidity infrastructure

Posted on 20 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Liquidity management and the lack of a global Islamic interbank money market are perhaps two of the biggest challenges for the future development of the global Islamic finance industry. These challenges apply both in Muslim and non-Muslim markets.

While regulators, industry organizations and market players have repeatedly stressed the urgent need for a global Islamic interbank market and a liquidity management scheme, the sector has not moved much forward in this respect, instead relying on tried and tested and potentially contentious commodity Murabaha contracts placed through the London Metal Exchange (LME)………..Full Article: Source

Sukuk defaults expose vulnerability of Islamic finance

Posted on 20 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From First defaults of Sukuk are set to expose the vulnerabilities of Islamic finance, with most investors expected to have no better legal redress than conventional bondholders as underlying assets have not been truly transferred to them.

The current financial and economic crisis is a first for the $1 trillion Islamic finance industry, which over the past few years has been spoilt by cheap oil money, and legal provisions and protection clauses in Sukuk worth billions of dollars are being tested for the first time………..Full Article: Source

Abu Dhabi’s Dolphin to sell $750mln bond

Posted on 20 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Abu Dhabi’s Dolphin Energy will raise at least $750 million through a Eurobond it will launch at the end of an global road show on Wednesday, said a fund management source.

‘The bond will help replace some of the bank loan debt that the company has,’ said the fund manager, who attended a meeting about the potential issue on Friday………..Full Article: Source

The future of Gulf capital markets

Posted on 20 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From The sheer scale, swiftness and trauma of the global tsunami has exposed the deep flaws in the banking systems, money markets, risk metrics regulatory regimes and governance protocols in the GCC.

Even though media and official cheerleaders predictably insisted that the Gulf was “immune” from the woes of Wall Street’s credit meltdown, the region was not spared a nightmare of corporate defaults, property and stock exchange crashes, bank funding crises, money market nervous breakdowns, economic recession, sovereign debt time bombs, regional contagion, a consumer credit shock and an exodus of both flight capital and expat populations………..Full Article: Source

Doha Insurance eyes Mideast risk

Posted on 20 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Doha Insurance is looking at writing risks across the region as Qatar’s third largest insurer scouts for opportunities in markets with growth potential.
Doha Insurance general manager Bassam Hussein said opportunities to quote and write risks in energy, engineering and marine portfolios still exist across the Middle East though the premium rates have dropped because of the global recession………..Full Article: Source

Gulf bourses: consolidate or cooperate

Posted on 20 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Jeff Singer, the head of NASDAQ Dubai, likes to compare the region’s stock exchanges with mid-19th century railway companies in North America’s frontier lands.
“Go back to the 1870s, when the railroad boom was in full swing. Different railroads were laying track literally 100 metres from each other………..Full Article: Source

Qatar economy stable despite recessionary pressure: Study

Posted on 20 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From As the Qatari economy continues to remain stable despite the recessionary pressure mounting worldwide, business optimism improves further amid increasing expectation of a global economic recovery, stated a key study.

The downward pressure on selling prices will subside while the hydrocarbon sector will remain uncertain on recent oil price rally, as was revealed in the D&B Business Optimism Index (BOI) for Qatar for the Q3 2009 made by Dun & Bradstreet South Asia Middle East (D&B) in association with the Qatar Financial Centre Authority (QFCA)………..Full Article: Source

Saudi financial firms strive to overcome the turmoil

Posted on 20 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Saudi companies have been less affected by the global financial crisis compared to their counterparts across the Gulf region, safeguarded by a remarkably strong and resilient Saudi economy, with steady growth rates driven by the conservative monetary policy which subsequently has helped companies maintain a solid financial standing.
In addition, a large number of Saudi companies, especially those in the banking and investment sectors, operate under the Sharia’a principals, which have effectively shielded them from the negative effects of the global financial downturn and have helped them maintain the needed capital and the right personnel………..Full Article: Source

Saudi Arabia to step up economic cooperation with Malaysia

Posted on 20 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Malaysia’s recent economic liberation measures have boosted Saudi Arabia’s interest to enhance bilateral economic cooperation, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He said King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al Saud had expressed the possibility of Saudi Arabia participating actively in Malaysia in the Islamic banking sector, and expand participation in the Islamic services and product manufacturing sectors, and raise its equity in the country as well………..Full Article: Source

Plunging bank profits drag Gulf markets down

Posted on 20 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Saudi bank and petrochemical stocks tumbled on Sunday following sharp declines in second quarter profits, dragging Saudi Arabia’s index to its largest one-day fall for two weeks.

Most other Gulf Arab markets retreated as earnings from Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) soured sentiment across the region. SABIC fell 8.4 percent, its biggest single-day loss for 13 weeks, after posting a 76 percent drop in second-quarter profit………..Full Article: Source

Maybank Islamic deposit launched

Posted on 20 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Maybank Singapore is launching its first retail Islamic term deposit - paying a return four times more than conventional fixed deposits.

For a limited period, the Term Deposit-i will pay 0.6 per cent, one per cent and 1.4 per cent for tenures of three, six and 12 months respectively………..Full Article: Source

Bahrain Islamic Bank wins the Best Islamic Bank in Bahrain Award

Posted on 20 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From In recognition of its innovative Islamic solutions and quality of services to its customers, Bahrain Islamic Bank has won the Best Islamic Bank in Bahrain Award 2009 from the US Magazine Global Finance.
BIsB’s win of this major award comes in view of the deliberations of the Award’s panel of judges consisting of a number of editors and specialists in Islamic banking and finance………..Full Article: Source

The Investment Dar to file a judicial claim against the Central Bank of Kuwait

Posted on 20 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From In a statement released by Yusuf Al Harbash, legal consultant to The Investment Dar, regarding the finalisation of the company’s financial statements for 2008, a press release says thus:

“Due particularly to the global economic crisis, many auditors delayed the completion of the financial statements of several investment companies for the financial year ending December 2008 so as to make sure that the assets of these companies were evaluated fully and accurately………..Full Article: Source

Top Saudi bank NCB Q2 profit tumbles 37pct

Posted on 20 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From National Commercial Bank (NCB), Saudi Arabia’s largest bank by assets, reported second-quarter profit of 1.19 billion riyals ($317.3 million) on Sunday, down 37 percent from a year earlier.

State-owned NCB, which is slated for privatisation, made a net profit of about 2.24 billion riyals in the six months to June 30, it said in a statement. That is 39 percent lower than the same period in 2008………..Full Article: Source

ABK reports better net profit in Q2

Posted on 20 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait (ABK) expects to post a better profit in 2009 than last year despite a dive in the second quarter mainly on provisions and a fall in investments.

ABK has an exposure of less than $30 million to troubled Saudi Arabian conglomerate Saad Group and will go ahead with plans to raise its capital by 25 percent later this year, Deputy Chief General Manager Abdulla Alsumait told Reuters………..Full Article: Source

Trowers & Hamlins advise Islamic investment bank in Bahraini retail construction project

Posted on 20 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Trowers & Hamlins, the International law firm, has advised Capinnova Investment Bank, the Bahrain-based Islamic investment bank, on a $20million investment in a brand new retail construction project in Bahrain.
Capinnova Investment Bank is the Shari’a compliant arm of BBK (formerly known as Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait) and their investment has been structured according to Islamic principles, on the basis of istisna’a (construction finance) and an ijara forward lease………..Full Article: Source

Future Bank HQ deal signed

Posted on 20 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From The piling work contract for the construction of 20-storey Future Bank headquarters in Seef district has been awarded to a leading Bahraini firm.
Future Bank’s client representative Al Dahiya Construction and Real Estate awarded the contract to Keller Grundbau Bahrain………..Full Article: Source

Competitors boost Islamic finance industry - KFH

Posted on 20 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From CEO of Kuwait Finance House (KFH) Mohammed Al-Omar welcomed Saturday the new competitors among Islamic banks and their traditional counterparts, and praised their role in boosting service levels and in the development of the banking industry in general.
In a press release, Al-Omar said that the establishment or acquisition of a bank served Islamic finance and reflected KFH’s success, while adding a new dimension to the Kuwaiti economy………..Full Article: Source

Sukuk defaults expose Islamic finance soft spot

Posted on 17 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From First defaults of sukuk are set to expose the vulnerabilities of Islamic finance, with most investors expected to have no better legal redress than conventional bondholders as underlying assets have not been truly transferred to them.

The current financial and economic crisis is a first for the US$1 trillion (RM3.5 trillion) Islamic finance industry, which over the past few years has been spoilt by cheap oil money, and legal provisions and protection clauses in sukuk worth billions of dollars are being tested for the first time………Full Article: Source

Prospects brighten for Southeast Asian sukuk market in ‘09

Posted on 17 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From The outlook for Southeast Asia’s Islamic bond market this year is slightly brighter than seen three months ago, helped by funding for government stimulus and hopes for a global economic recovery, a Reuters poll shows.

The region, led by top market Malaysia, is forecast to see at least $5 billion of issuance this year, according to the poll which included bankers and rating agencies, up from the $4 billion estimated in a similar poll in April………Full Article: Source

Islamic banking has crossed the line

Posted on 17 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat-In theory, Islamic banking is based upon the concept of making financial profit by taking risks through financial speculation, financial partnerships and other financial transactions that are permissible under Islamic law whilst at the same time avoiding incurring debt that represents a high risk both to the individual and to the market in general.

Such debts leads to wealth being amassed by the privileged few who are capable of offering sufficient guarantees of financial solvency whereas the overwhelming majority of middle class professionals and small and medium enterprises cannot afford to incur such debts and are therefore unable to finance their own projects and achieve the desired growth and development………Full Article: Source

Islamic finance stands strong in hard times

Posted on 17 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From While Islamic banks have not been immune to the effects of the global financial crisis, they are less exposed. It has been a tumultuous year for conventional banking, where an over-exposure to debt has contributed to recessions in the world’s largest and hitherto most stable economies.

The Islamic finance industry is also feeling the pinch, but the long-term prospects are not bad, particularly if it uses this opportunity to promote what distinguishes it from conventional banking, namely that interest rates (riba) and speculation are prohibited……….Full Article: Source

Qatari bank trebles provisions

Posted on 17 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From The Commercial Bank of Qatar, the country’s largest private bank, saw provisions on bad loans and investments almost treble in the first half of the year as consumer debt defaults spread to the country with the highest GDP per capita in the Gulf.

The company reported its results as banks across the region come under increasing scrutiny because of rising loan defaults from customers unable to repay debt incurred during the boom years………Full Article: Source

Commercial Bank of Dubai net profits increase by 14% in Q2-2009

Posted on 17 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Commercial Bank of Dubai said that its operating profit in the first six months of 2009 rose 3.2% to Dhs599m compared to Dhs580m in the same period of 2008.
Net profit for the first half of 2009 amounted to Dhs502m as compared to Dhs566m a year earlier………Full Article: Source

Maybank Singapore to launch first Islamic term deposit for retail clients

Posted on 17 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Bernama: Maybank Singapore will launch the first Islamic Term Deposit (Term Deposit-i) targeted at retail clients tomorrow, making it the first bank here to offer the Islamic banking product to that market segment.

As the first mover in the market, Term Deposit-i will pay profits upfront, the bank announced today, bucking the local trend of Islamic term deposits for high networth customers………Full Article: Source

Bahrain Islamic Bank faces loss on bad loans

Posted on 17 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Bahrain Islamic Bank swung to a net loss in the second quarter as it booked provisions against bad loans after the high-profile defaults of two major Saudi companies, the bank said yesterday.

The bank’s net loss in the quarter ended June 30 was BD3.83 million (Dh37.31m, $10.16m) according to Reuters calculations, compared with a net profit of BD15.77m in the year-earlier quarter………Full Article: Source

Outlook upgrade boost for NBB

Posted on 17 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From TAIB Bank research has upgraded its outlook on National Bank of Bahrain (NBB) from underweight to neutral.

In a research note the analysts said: “Amidst a challenging macroeconomic environment, NBB witnessed marginal improvement in its financials in the first half of 2009………Full Article: Source

UAE cenbank assesses Saudi exposure

Posted on 17 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From The central bank for the United Arab Emirates was meeting commercial banks on Thursday to assess potential problems due to lending to two troubled Saudi family conglomerates, bankers said.

‘The meeting is on the invitation of the central bank, mainly to review exposure of UAE banks to the Saad/Algosaibi groups,’ an Abu Dhabi-based banker, who is attending the meeting, told Reuters………Full Article: Source

Aman’s Q2 profit jumps 158pc

Posted on 17 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Dubai Islamic Insurance and Reinsurance Company (Aman) said it has made Dh19.9 million ($5.40 million) profit in the second quarter of 2009, a rise of 158 per cent compared with the same period of 2008.

Premium income exceeded Dh200 million at the end of June………Full Article: Source

Qatar Islamic Bank profit falls

Posted on 17 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Qatar Islamic Bank, the country’s biggest lender complying with Islamic banking rules, said first-half profit dropped 5% from a year earlier without giving a reason for the decline.

Profit for the period ended June 30 was 812.6mn riyals ($223mn) compared with 853.5mn riyals a year earlier, according to a statement on the Doha bourse yesterday. Earnings per share fell to 3.98 riyals from 4.49………Full Article: Source

UAE Islamic finance mission visits Australia

Posted on 16 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From The first Islamic financial services mission of the UAE to Australia ended successfully and the Dubai Export Development Corporation (EDC) is expecting new business opportunities for the Islamic finance sector as a result of the trade mission.

The delegates sought to encourage changes in Australia’s federal taxation which will allow Islamic financial products to be treated at par with conventional financial products…….Full Article: Source

UAE may buy part of Dubai bond offer

Posted on 16 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From The United Arab Emirates central bank may buy into the second tranche of Dubai’s $20 billion bond programme after buying the first tranche earlier this year, its governor was quoted as saying.

Sultan Nasser Al-Suweidi also said the UAE economy may contract in 2009, according to news agency Bloomberg…….Full Article: Source

Allen & Overy advises on the largest sukuk issue of 2009

Posted on 16 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Allen & Overy LLP and its affiliated office in Riyadh, Abdulaziz AlGasim Law Firm, have advised Saudi Electricity Company Saudi Electricity Company ( SEC SEC ) on the issuance of a SAR7 billion (USD1.87 billion) sukuk, the largest sukuk issue globally to date in 2009 and the first public issuance of 2009 in Saudi Arabia.
This is the largest sukuk issue globally this year, and it is unsurprising that it has come from Saudi Arabia…….Full Article: Source

GCC corporate profits to decline in Q2 2009

Posted on 16 July 2009 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Gulf corporate profits are expected to recede in the second quarter of 2009 and real estate, banks and petrochemicals will be the main victims.

For the whole year, listed firms in three Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states – the UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain – will record positive growth in their earnings…….Full Article: Source

July 2009
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