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Ramadan Karim - Fundraising for UNICEF!

Ramadan Karim!

As you may know, I will participate at the UNICEF Cycling for Children event in Crans-Montana, Switzerland on 10th of June. It is a challenge to support raising funds for the much needed children work of UNICEF.

Ramadan is the month of giving, and who should be more worthy than the children?

Millions of children are facing death right now. More than 1,4 million children in just 4 countries (Nigeria, South-Soudan, Somalia and Yemen) are about to face the worst famine since World War 2. In Syria – after 6 years of devastating war – 2016 has been the year with most child deaths. UNICEF is on the ground in all these countries to help – and we join CYCLING FOR CHILDREN to make a difference.

Please make you donation now, online, simple and spread the word:

https://www.unicef.ch/en/cycling-for-children/action/michael-gassner

If I can cycle 750 m elevation over 20 kilometers - you surely can support and motivate me!!!

Gassner's picture

Bitcoin Mania versus Tulip Mania?

Dear Reader,

regular readers may remember my critic on bitcoin from an Islamic perspective missing intrinsic value. The former blog entry you find here: http://www.islamicfinance.de/?q=node/7840 - almost two years ago.

So far bitcoin just went up higher and higher, with wild fluctuations but nevertheless.

It reminds on how bubbles work, think about the tulip mania in 1637 a nice piece of economic history. A single tulip bulb was traded and bought on credit. Check the Wiki page on it:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip_mania

As bitcoin has even less value than a tulip except for payment purposes, it is the payment functionality, which can lead to destruction. What happens if a new alternative currency is becoming en vogue, which has a better usability and faster transaction time? In my view this is most likely trigger to burst the bubble.

FT Alphaville covers now the difficulties coming up with bitcoin's increasing transaction numbers causing inconvenience in using the digital currency:

https://ftalphaville.ft.com/2017/05/17/2188961/the-currency-of-the-futur...

Call for Papers- Sharing Economy of Islam beyond Islamic Finance, SASE 2017, Lyon, France, 29 June-1st July 2017

UPDATE:
Abstract/Paper Submission
Please note that colleagues should send 1,000 words abstract by FEBRUARY 3, 2017, which should provide a short background, aims of the paper, the methodology and method used, and the findings (or expected findings).

***SASE HAS EXTENDED THE DEADLINE TO 17TH FEBRUARY 2017***

https://www.dur.ac.uk/dcief/events/

Acceptance notifications will be sent by March 1, 2017.

Paper submissions and session proposals must be made through our online submission system; for additional information on how to submit, please follow the link:
https://sase.org/events/conference-submission-and-award-guidelines

Sharing Economy of Islam beyond Islamic Finance:
Re-constructing Collaborative and Disruptive Economy from Islamic Moral Economy Perspective

SASE Conference on ‘What's Next? Disruptive/Collaborative Economy or Business as Usual?’
Universite Claude Bernard, Lyon 1, France
29th June – 1st July 2017
https://sase.org/event/2017-lyon/#mini

Call for Papers:

Many teenagers struggle to understand money matters: OECD

The latest OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) test shows that around one in four students are unable to make financial decisions. Some 48,000 15-year-olds took part in the test, which evaluated teenagers' personal finance skills. OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria said young people often lack the education, training and tools to make informed decisions on financial matters. Beijing had the highest average score, followed by the Flemish Community of Belgium, Canada, the Russian Federation, the Netherlands and Australia. Students who do well in financial literacy are also likely to perform well in the PISA reading and mathematics assessment. The survey also revealed that, on average, 56% of students hold a bank account, but two out of three students do not have the skills to manage an account.

#Oman tightens price on $2bn #sukuk amid rush of orders

Oman's $2bn sukuk sale lured orders for more than three times the issue size. The sultanate set final terms on its seven year sukuk at 235 basis points over the mid-swap rate, from initial guidance of about 270 basis points. Landesbank Berlin Investor Lutz Roehmeyer said there was a good demand and now a rush to get an allocation with accepting even less yield. Alizz islamic bank, Citigroup, Dubai Islamic Bank, Gulf International Bank, HSBC Holdings, JPMorgan Chase and Standard Chartered are managing the deal. The country's last foray into international debt markets was a $5bn three part offering of dollar bonds in March.

#Kuwait's Noor to Weigh Stake Sale of #Pakistan's Meezan Bank

#Kuwait’s Noor Financial Investment is considering the sale of its 49% stake in Pakistan’s largest Islamic lender Meezan Bank. The stake has a market value of about $396 million at the current market price, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Noor Financial hired advisers to assess opportunities, but it has not tasked the consultants with either increasing or decreasing its stake in Meezan Bank. Shares in Noor Financial gained 5.9% by 12:30 p.m. in Safat, Kuwait, the highest since April 16. Meezan advanced 3.6% in Karachi trading to a record high.

#Morocco opens first Islamic bank branch months after approval

The first Islamic bank in Morocco, Umnia Bank, has opened its doors five months after the central bank's approval. The North African country long rejected Islamic banking because of concern about Islamist movements, but its financial markets lack liquidity and investors. Umnia Bank is a joint venture of Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB) and Moroccan lender Credit Immobilier et Hotelier (CIH Bank). Umnia recently opened a total of three agencies, two in Casablanca and one in Rabat. The bank plans to open more branches throughout the country. Morocco is the most advanced of North African neighbours in developing Islamic finance. Tunisia and Algeria are also starting to explore the sector.

Islamic finance is making a case for ‘impact investment’

Islamic finance is increasingly being discovered as a vehicle to support sustainable development goals by a method called "impact investing". For this the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and the Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development launched the "Global Islamic Finance and Impact Investing Platform". A report was also launched which sheds light on the potentials of Islamic finance in impact investment. The basic idea is that ethical values within finance are deeply rooted in Islamic theology and jurisprudence. Ethical and sustainable investment products can tap a wider range of demand if they are made Shariah-compliant to appeal to Muslims. At the same time, non-Muslims may embrace them if they are designed for an ethical purpose. Malaysia was the first to announce guidelines for the issuance of socially responsible sukuk as early as 2014. Meanwhile, Islamic finance companies from the UK, Canada, Hong Kong and GCC countries joined impact investing through Islamic finance.

Amana Bank gets regulatory nod to bring in fresh capital with exception to single shareholder limit

As an exception to the banking sector single shareholder limit, the Central Bank has allowed one of the shareholders of Sri Lanka’s Amana Bank to own up to 30% of the issued shares of the bank. Currently IDB has 120.4 million shares or 9.62% stake in Amana Bank, Sri Lanka’s first non-interest based Islamic bank. In recent times, the Central Bank had allowed several banks to have their key shareholders own even beyond 70% such as in the case of Union Bank and Cargills Bank. But they must gradually bring those stakes down to the regulatory limits over time. Amana Bank is required to meet its minimum regulatory core capital of Rs.7.5 billion by June 30, 2017. Given the performance of the share price and the non-receipt of dividends, shareholders may not show appetite to contribute for any fresh capital calls by the bank.

VEB to build bridge to Islamic world through Abu Dhabi, Iran and Bahrein

The 9th international economic summit is taking place in Tatarstan, Russia. The plenary session was dedicated to the discussion of partnership financing to develop relations between Russia and Organisations of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Islamic Finance World Leader Ashruff Jamal was the moderator of the plenary session. Tatarstan's President Rustam Minnikhanov said Tatarstan was making its first steps in Islamic banking. One year ago Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Evgeny Bushmin claimed the Bank of Russia and legislation were not ready to spread Islamic banking. In answer to that, Sberbank Deputy Chairman Oleg Ganeyev replied many questions are arising while implementing Islamic banking, but it is possible to work even within the acting Russian legislation. Vnesheconombank (VEB) Chairman Sergey Gorkov announced the appearance of VEB bank offices in Abu Dhabi, Iran and Bahrein.

#Oman starts marketing seven-year US dollar #sukuk

The Sultanate of Oman has started marketing a seven-year US dollar benchmark-sized sukuk offering at 270bp area over mid-swaps. Books are open for pricing via Alizz Islamic Bank, Citigroup, Dubai Islamic Bank, Gulf International Bank, HSBC, JP Morgan and Standard Chartered. The sovereign had signalled the possibility of an additional 12-year sukuk in its mandate. Expected issue ratings are Baa1 by Moody's and BBB by Fitch.

BRIEF-Kuwait Finance House denies any decision to merge with Ahli United Bank

Kuwait Finance House denies any decision to merge with Ahli United Bank. Kuwait Finance House is currently studying many other strategic alternatives to enlarge its profitability and marketshare among local and regional banks.

Islamic Development Bank to buy more stock in #Sri Lanka's Amana

The Islamic Development Bank will invest more cash in Sri Lanka's Amana Bank through an investment vehicle. Approval has been recently given for the investment group to go up to 29.9% of the stock by subscribing to a cash call. The investment vehicle IB Growth Fund (Labuan) will buy stock in in an upcoming rights issue. The investment deal was inked on May 18 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Ongoing row among Islami Bank board of directors

Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith said that the board of directors of Islami Bank Bangladesh has been engaged in an internal row. The row is over the appointment of new staff, that Islami Bank Vice-chairman Professor Ahsanul Alam claims were made on paying bribes. Due to the row between him and chairman Arastoo Khan, two groups in the board have also been created with the 21 directors supporting either Arastoo or Ahsanul, and each group calling the other a liar. In a statement released on May 20, nine directors threatened to resign from their posts. Professor Ahsanul Alam has claimed that three directors who are abroad have also opted in support of this statement.

#Nigeria May Become IsDB Regional Hub for Africa

Nigeria may become the regional operational hub of the 43-year old Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) in Africa. IsDB is considering a proposal to expand its existing country gateway office in Abuja to serve as a key regional office. The office will coordinate the operations of the Bank in its West and Central African member-countries. According to the Ministry of Finance, the Abuja gateway office will serve Nigeria, Gabon, Niger, Mozambique, Burkina Faso, the Republic of Cameroon, Uganda, Senegal, Djibouti and Guinea Bisaau, among others. IsDB President Bandar Mohammed Hajjar said the Bank would enhance the development impact of its projects through comprehensive development solutions that integrate services and products in its member-countries.

Wifak Bank, une 3e banque islamique tunisienne

Le lancement officiel des activités de Wifak International Bank s’est tenue dans le hall du nouveau centre d’affaires au nord de Tunis. Wifak Bank a eu son agrément de la Banque centrale de Tunisie (BCT), le 8 octobre 2014. Selon M. Mellousse, Wifak Bank va, dans une première étape, mener ses activités à travers 9 agences réparties dans diverses régions du pays. La nouvelle banque proposera à ses clients un bouquet de services et produits bancaires modernes et innovants conformes aux dispositions de la finance islamique. Il convient de noter que les 3 banques islamiques tunisiennes ambitionnent d’atteindre, d’ici 2022, 15% des actifs bancaires contre 7% actuellement. La concurrence entre les banques islamiques et classiques est donc sérieusement lancée.

#Oman To Sell $2 billion In Islamic #Bonds To Close Oil Crisis Budget Deficit

Low oil revenues are prompting the government of Oman to sell $2 billion in Islamic bonds to raise funds for the national budget. The hole in Oman’s national budget will measure 12% of gross domestic product (GDP) this year, though forecasts predict the shortfall will decrease in coming years. Oman is also considering forging public-private partnerships to balance the cost burdens of nationalized industries. The country announced earlier that it would sell stakes in state-owned oil and gas downstream companies, but no concrete action has been taken. S&P Global Ratings lowered the monarchy’s credit rating from BBB- to BB+. As a response, finance minister Darwish Al Balushi said that Oman was confident of its economy and the country's reserves were still in a comfortable position.

Dana Gas receives partial payment of $50m from #Egypt

Dana Gas has received an initial payment of $50 million (Dh184 million) from the Egyptian government as partial payment of its outstanding receivables. This payment represents 18% of Dana Gas Egypt’s total overdue receivables of $283 billion (Dh1.038 billion) as of the end of first quarter 2017. Dana Gas, which pumps most of its gas at fields in Egypt and Iraq, is seeking to recover payments from both countries for overdue bills. The company was owed $1 billion from Egypt and the self-governed Kurdish region in northern Iraq. CEO Patrick Allman-Ward had previously said that the company will not make any new investments in Egypt due to delay in receiving payments. In the first quarter 2017, Dana Gas reported gross revenues of $118 million and net profit of $11 million. Overall group production was 69,900 barrels of oil equivalent per day, 16% higher compared to first quarter of 2016.

ICD and KIMB signed a MoU to cooperate in Islamic #Microfinance

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and Al Kuraimi Islamic Microfinance Bank (KIMB) have entered into a Joint Strategic Collaboration to implement Islamic Microfinance Institutions. The memorandum was signed by the CEO of ICD, Mr Khaled Al Aboodi and the CEO of KIMB, Mr. Yousuf Al Kuraimi. The collaboration will focus on the implementation of Islamic Microfinance Institutions and Banks. KIMB will make equity investments conditioned upon ICD and its affiliates co-investing alongside. Special focus is on the provision of required technical and advisory services by ICD for the global expansion and diversification of KIMB’s current operations beyond Yemen.

ICD Signs MOU with the City Bank Limited to Strengthen Collaboration

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with City Bank Bangladesh in order to strengthen their collaboration. The signing ceremony was held at the 42nd Annual Meeting of the IDB Group in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The MOU was signed by the CEO of ICD, Mr Khaled Al Aboodi and Mr Sheikh Mohammed Maroof, Deputy Managing Director and Mr Mohammad Mahbubur Rahman, Chief Financial Officer of City Bank. The collaboration will encompass the areas of Term Finance, Public Private Partnership transactions, Lines of Finance and other areas. The signing ceremony was also attended by Mr Farid Masmoudi, Director of ICD, Mr Mahbub Jamil, Head of Structured Finance of City Bank and other high officials of both institutions.

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