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Islamic Finance Briefing 17.Jan 2011

Posted on 17 January 2011 by Laxman |  Email|Print

From Bloomberg: The U.K., Europe’s largest market for Shariah-compliant financial products and services, canceled what would’ve been the first sale of sovereign Islamic bonds by a Western federal government as issues fell 15 percent in 2010.
“The U.K. government has decided not to issue sovereign sukuk because it is judged not to provide value for money,” a spokesman for the U.K. Treasury in London, said in an e-mailed response to questions Jan. 13. “It will keep the situation under review.”………………………………………Full Article: Source

Posted on 17 January 2011 by Laxman |  Email|Print

From Emirates247: As the market for sukuk kicks off, experts are once again betting on the UAE’s potential to become the centre of sukuk issuances in the world. But to become one, a mount of obstacles need to be removed first.
Currently, Malaysia still dominates the sukuk market. Sukuk issuance in Malaysia makes up nearly three-fourths of the entire sukuk market in the first nine months of 2010……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Posted on 17 January 2011 by Laxman |  Email|Print

From Reuters: Japan will alter regulations to give foreign investors tax breaks on sharia bond dividends, the latest country to pursue Islamic finance to woo investors demanding sharia-compliant assets. Islamic bond dividends received by foreign investors may be declared tax-free as early as end-2011.
As neighboring countries had already changed or been changing tax systems to exclude Islamic bonds from taxation, “Japan also has understood the necessity of enhancing the attractiveness as an investment destination,” a Japanese FSA official said……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Posted on 17 January 2011 by Laxman |  Email|Print

From Bloomberg: Kazakhstan’s government expects to pass legislation within the next two months that would enable companies to sell Islamic bonds, said Deputy Prime Minister Aset Issekeshev.
The first corporate sukuk may be sold in dollars globally, Issekeshev said. The country has delayed plans to offer sovereign Islamic debt because the government doesn’t need the funds, he said……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Posted on 17 January 2011 by Laxman |  Email|Print

From Bloomberg: Indonesia’s dollar Islamic bonds fell for a second week, after a record decline last quarter, as concern inflation will quicken outstripped optimism the nation will win an investment-grade rating.
The yield on Indonesia’s 8.8 percent sukuk due in April 2014 has climbed 68 basis points to 3.33 percent since reaching an all-time low of 2.65 percent on Oct. 14, according to prices from the Royal Bank of Scotland Group……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Posted on 17 January 2011 by Laxman |  Email|Print

From Thenational.ae: Gulf General Investment Company (GGICO) is to delay its US$300 million (Dh1.1 billion) bond sale by up to three months because the cost of issuing debt is too high, says an executive at the company.
“We’ve spoken to our bankers and they have said it is not the right timing,” said Ashish Oommen, a finance manager at GGICO. “International investors are still not on board and it’s too expensive to tap into the market now.”………………………………………Full Article: Source

Posted on 17 January 2011 by Laxman |  Email|Print

From Cpifinancial.net: MARC has downgraded its Sukuk ratings on Offshore Works Capital’s (OWC) MYR 200 million ($65.3 million) Sukuk Musyarakah and MYR 150 million ($49 million) Musyarakah Commercial Papers/Medium Term Notes Programme (MCP/MMTN) to A+IS and MARC-2IS /A+IS from AA-IS and MARC-1IS/AA-IS respectively.
The rating action resolves the MARC Watch Negative status of OWC’s rated obligations, which was initiated on November 12, 2010. The outlook on the ratings is stable……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Posted on 17 January 2011 by Laxman |  Email|Print

From Gulfnews.com: Some of the goodwill associated with micro-finance has recently vanished in Andhra Pradesh, India, as a combination of interfering politicians, profiteering firms, and people’s lack of education created a subprime market environment, according to a story in the New York Times.
No, Islamic micro-finance is not the answer today. The micro-finance crisis in Andhra Pradesh should be a wake-up call for Islamic finance to examine an “innovative” inclusionary approach to enfranchising the masses at the “bottom of the pyramid.”………………………………………Full Article: Source

Posted on 17 January 2011 by Laxman |  Email|Print

From Gulfnews.com: Asian Islamic financial institutions are attracting more women executives and scholars to fill a shortage of talent, setting a precedent for companies in the Middle East. Malaysia’s Sharia Advisory Council appointed a second woman scholar to its 11-member board in November.
Indonesia has six women on its panel of 35 experts, Ma’ruf Amin, chairman of the country’s National Sharia Council, said in an interview December 30. Malaysia’s central bank and the securities commission are both headed by women, while Liza Mohd Noor is chief executive officer at RAM Rating Services Bhd., which provides ratings for Islamic bonds……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Posted on 17 January 2011 by Laxman |  Email|Print

From Thenational.ae: Kazakhstan is aiming to become a Central Asian hub for Islamic finance, with plans to launch its first corporate sukuk this year and a new Sharia-compliant bank. “By attracting [foreign direct investment], a more effective role should be played by Islamic finance mechanisms,” said Asset Issekeshev, the deputy prime minister and minister of trade and industry.
“The Kazakh government these days works very actively towards the practical introduction of Islamic finance tools within the country,” Mr Issekeshev said……………………………………….Full Article: Source

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From Dailystar.com.lb: The biggest challenge to Islamic finance growth in Lebanon is political stability, said a Global Islamic Finance Leader. “Political instability has a negative impact on the growth of Islamic finance and it certainly doesn’t help the situation because no one would wants to invest money in a risky environment,” said Deloitte Global Islamic Finance leader Daud Vicary Abdullah
Abdullah believes that the banking sector should not react or get involved in any political disputes……………………………………….Full Article: Source

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From Arabnews.com: At a time when the global Islamic finance industry is debating whether Shariah advisory should be regulated and scholars restricted to advising only a small number of institutions, Malaysia almost in passing adopted on Jan. 1 a new Shariah Governance Framework (SGF) for Islamic financial institutions (IFIs) that supersedes the Guidelines on the Governance of Shariah Committees of IFIs introduced by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), the central bank, in 2004.
According to the Malaysian central bank, the primary objective of the SGF is to enhance “the role of the board, the Shariah committee and the management in relation to Shariah matters, including enhancing the relevant key organs having the responsibility to execute the Shariah compliance and research functions aimed at the attainment of a Shariah-based operating environment.”………………………………………Full Article: Source

Posted on 17 January 2011 by Laxman |  Email|Print

From Reuters: Kazakhstan has no immediate plans to issue new licences to conventional foreign banks but may approve a second Islamic bank this year, the country’s deputy prime minister said on Sunday.
“The second Islamic bank could be opened this year,” Aset Issekeshev told Reuters in Abu Dhabi. He declined to give details……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Posted on 17 January 2011 by Laxman |  Email|Print

From Dailytimes.com.pk: There is evidence of close correlation between financial sector development and growth. Countries whose financial systems offer a variety of services—including banking and insurance— tend to grow faster.
Banks, whether Islamic or traditional, play fundamental economic role as financial intermediaries and as facilitators of payments (King and Levine, 1993). They also help stimulate saving and allocate resources efficiently……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Posted on 17 January 2011 by Laxman |  Email|Print

From Brecorder.com: Qatar Islamic Bank is hunting for acquisition targets in Indonesia to strengthen its presence in Asia and tap demand for sharia banking products in the world’s most populous Muslim nation, the head of its Malaysian unit said on January 12.
Qatar Islamic is studying several potential candidates in Indonesia that have been identified by Asian Finance Bank, which is 62 percent-owned by the Gulf lender……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Posted on 17 January 2011 by Laxman |  Email|Print

From Suite101.com: The UK has got the Islamic Banking business cornered and the banks there are huge, unique and exact. The small bank or corner “Quick Loan Shop,” has been swallowed up by the giants. Now when considering which bank is the best, you must take several things into consideration.
I could tell you which bank is the award winner for the last three to four years, but many Muslims and others seeking a no interest loan are not looking to be a number on a piece of paper. They are looking for customer service and polite, friendly service……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Posted on 17 January 2011 by Laxman |  Email|Print

From Tradearabia.com: Saudi bank SABB posted a surge in its fourth-quarter net profit to 397 million riyals ($106 million) on Sunday, beating analyst forecasts.
SABB, 40 percent owned by HSBC Holdings, made profit of 26 million riyals in the fourth quarter of the previous year, it said in a stock exchange statement……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Posted on 17 January 2011 by Laxman |  Email|Print

From Gulfnews.com: The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), Asia’s oldest bourse, launched its first Sharia-compliant stock index in December in a move that could boost offerings of exchange traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds to tap into India’s fast-expanding economy.
Islamic finance in India, home to the world’s second-largest Muslim population after Indonesia, is still in its infancy and the new benchmark should help channel socially-conscious investor savings of more than $1 trillion in the coming years, including from the cash-rich Gulf……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Posted on 17 January 2011 by Laxman |  Email|Print

From Tradearabia.com: NBK Capital’s Kuwait Equity Fund has been ranked as the best performing fund out of 38 funds of equities listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange.
The fund achieved a 42.5 per cent return for the year and maintained its status as the best performing fund for the fourth quarter in a row, according to figures posted on Zawya……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Posted on 17 January 2011 by Laxman |  Email|Print

From Tradearabia.com: Kazakhstan aims to strengthen partnerships and attract investments from the Middle East in key areas of its economy at the 7th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) to be held from June 7 to 9 in capital Astana.
Kazakhstan is the ninth largest country in the world with a GDP of $182 billion and population of 16 million. It is rich in minerals, in particular uranium, of which the country is the world’s leading exporter……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Posted on 17 January 2011 by Laxman |  Email|Print

From Suite101.com: Islamic home loans have now joined the list of mortgage alternatives as a viable way to purchase a home. An Islamic loan is a zero interest loan plan. There are many types of plans that can be used to purchase a home and most banks offering Islamic loans will have their own version of this Sharia no interest loan.
Years ago the only types of mortgage alternatives was the “old fashion” land contract. The land contract was a simplified version of the now famous seller financing deal. The land contract went out of use when some sellers and buyers were sued by the banks for breach of contract. In other words the sellers were selling the homes without proper authorization……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Posted on 17 January 2011 by Laxman |  Email|Print

Path Solutions, the leading banking software provider focusing on the Islamic banking segment, today announced the winning of four new projects in West Africa; Banque Islamique du Senegal, Banque Islamique de Mauritanie, Banque Islamique de Guinee and Banque Islamique du Niger pour le Commerce et l’Investissement.
The four banks owned and managed by Dakar-based Tamweel Africa SA have decided to align their core banking systems and have selected Path Solutions’ iMAL Islamic banking & investment system. This outstanding deal opens up for Path Solutions new horizons in West Africa and builds a much stronger presence for iMAL in the African continent……………………………………….Full Press Release: Source

Posted on 17 January 2011 by Laxman |  Email|Print

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), the world’s leading and largest professional body of management accountants, has selected Pearson VUE to deliver assessment for its Certificate in Islamic Finance via computer-based testing.
The certificate, a self-study distance-learning qualification, is the first offered by a professional chartered management accounting institute to focus on the rapidly growing Islamic finance sector……………………………………….Full Press Release: Source

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