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Qatari bank lending down 7 %

Qatari bank lending fell 7 % in the first two months of 2009 as credit to the public sector dropped 36 %, central bank data showed, the latest signal Gulf banks are more cautious on new loans.

Investment Dar files complaint agains Commercial Bank of Kuwait

A dispute arose between Investment Dar and Commercial Bank of Kuwait regarding the right to buy back from CBK 19.2 % stake in Boubyan, wich Investment Dar sold last year.

South Africa: Albaraka Bank Achieves R2 Billion Asset Base

Albaraka Bank, SA's only Islamic financial institution, passed the R2bn asset level. This compares with only R400 000 in 1999 when it was formed. CEO Shabir Chohan said that it had taken the bank 15 years to achieve assets of R1bn and then another five years to reach the current level.

Chohan said that although Muslims represented only 2% of the population of SA, he believed there were opportunities for other players in the market that could offer greater convenience and more branches.

Istanbul Declaration Adopted By The First Meeting Of The Development And Cooperation Institutions

Istanbul Declaration Adopted By The First Meeting Of The Development And Cooperation Institutions Of The Member States Of The Organisation Of The Islamic Conference (May 13-14, 2009) Istanbul, Republic Of Turkey

Date: 16/05/2009 - View in: Arabic | French - Print

We, the Heads/Representatives of the Development and Cooperation Institutions (DCIs) of the Member States of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the Heads of Delegations participating in the First Meeting of the Development and Cooperation Institutions of the OIC Member States held in Istanbul, Republic of Turkey on 13-14 May 2009,

Inspired by the OIC Ten-Year Programme of Action, adopted by the Third Extraordinary Islamic Summit held in Makkah Al-Mukarramah in December 2005,

Commending the OIC General Secretariat, the Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC) and the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA) for their initiative of convening the First Meeting of the Development and Cooperation Institutions of the OIC Member States,

PT Berlian Laju Tanker Tbk, Indonesia issues Sukuk

Indonesian shipping firm, PT Berlian Laju Tanker Tbk , in a prospectus published in Bisnis Indonesia newspaper, the firm said it plans to sell 400 billion rupiah of conventional bonds and 100 billion rupiah of ijarah sale-and-leaseback sukuk, which will be offered May 20-25.

It has appointed PT Danatama Makmur and PT Andalan Artha Advisindo Sekuritas as underwriters.

Singapore shall focus on Islamic finance and Green Sector

Economists said two sectors which Singapore should focus on as it gears up for a global economic recovery are Islamic Finance and the green sector.

They said the country should also look to regions like the Middle East and Africa for new opportunities.

Mauritius allows Islamic products and aims to become IFSB member

The Bank of Mauritius intends to develop a structure that will deal with commodity markets.The Bank is confident that this new form of banking will help to strengthen the country’s financial sector by tapping into the Gulf financial markets, said BOM Governor, Rundheersing Bheenick. Our aim is to become a full fledged member of the Islamic Financial Services Board and be in a position to tap into the immense financial potential it offers.

CIMB optimistic about Asian Sukuk

Sukuk sales in Asian currencies may jump in the next 6 months as companies compare borrowing costs and investors become more willing to accept risk in addition to favorable USD versus local currency credit spreads, according to CIMB.

Investment Dar denies bail out talks with Central Bank

NO BAILOUT: Investment Dar has denied media reports that it is in talks with the Central Bank of Kuwait over a bailout.

Creation of the Sharia Finance Committee Senegal

A multidisciplinary study group composed of lawyers, tax experts, businessmen, scientists and clerics have decided to build a national and regional promotion body for Islamic finance in Senegal.

Mr Karim Ahmed Al CISSE, President of the 'Comité national Charia Finance Sénégal' has announced this to have officially received the recognition of this body by the Senegal Ministry of the Interior of Senegal. Mr. Karim Ahmed CISSE, sees the committee's mission asessential to participate in the emergence of a legal and fiscal environment conducive to the development of Islamic finance. It is also a part of capacity building for clerics to allow them to play their role in the Shariah Board.

Shariah-compliant SET index has formal launch

The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) will formally launch its first index tracking shariahcompliant Southeast Asian stocks on Monday, in a bid to attract Muslim investors. The FTSE SET Shariah Index, which has been available since April 23, comprises 55 stocks from the SET Index, representing 44 % of the SET's market capitalisation.

Prudential Malaysia Records 17 % rie In New Business Sales

Prudential Assurance Malaysia Bhd (PAMB), part of UK-based Prudential Plc, has posted a 17 % growth in new business sales in first quarter 2009 compared to the same period last year. The company's new business annual premium equivalent (APE), which consists of retail life insurance sales and takaful contributions, rose to RM122 million from RM105 million previously.

Mena debt market can grow to $1.6trn

The debt market in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) has the potential to grow to $USD 1.6 trillion p.a. but currently remains in its nascent stage, according to economic experts speaking at an event organised by the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). Debt securities form just 3 % of of the Mena capital markets, while global capital markets have a ratio of 42 %.

Malta appointed working group for Islamic finance

The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) has set up a five-person working group chaired by its director for strategic development, Dr Michael Xuereb, to identify further necessary legal and regulatory changes and related implementation procedures with respect to Sharia Institutions and Sharia Funds.

QInvest buys 44% stake in 130-year old UK Panmure stockbroking firm

QInvest, trumped two other bidders to buy a 44 % stake in Panmure Gordon & Co, investing USD 36.3 mn in the 130-year-old British stockbroking firm. The deal would involve a placing of 67.5 million shares, priced at 34 pence per share a 15 % discount on Wednesday's closing price.

Panmure said the cash injection would enhance its balance sheet and give it the financial strength to grow into new business areas and locations, including the Gulf.

World Bank analysis on Pakistan's informal and formal financial sector

Microcapital sumarized the World Bank report written by Tatiana Nenova, Cecile Thioro Niang and Anjum Ahmad , released May 2009, 187 pages, available at: http://go.worldbank.org/0KKMYAT130 :

This World Bank report measures and describes the current state of formal and informal financial services in Pakistan for underserved populations and enterprises. Currently 14 percent of Pakistanis use savings, credit, insurance, payments and remittance services from the formal financial system. This is compared to India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka where 48 percent, 32 percent and 59 percent respectively have access to formal financial services. In addition about 36 percent of Pakistanis use moneylenders, committees, family and friends. The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), which regulates the banking sector, has grown over the past few years yet it has not met demand. Further details about the market and players in Pakistan are found in Chapter 1.

Joint Africa program of develoment banks

MICROCAPITAL STORY: African Development Bank Group, Agence Française de Développement Group, European Investment Bank, Development Bank of Southern Africa, KfW Bankengruppe, Islamic Development Bank Group, and World Bank Group Launch USD 15bn Joint Action Plan for Africa Including Support for Microfinance Programs.

The Islamic Development Bank Group, through the Islamic Corporation for the Development of Private Sector, will contribute up to USD 250 million over the next five years, including USD 50 million for the development of Islamic banking industry and USD 50 million for SME development.

Saad Group And Related Entities Outlook To Negative On Increased Real Estate Exposure; 'BBB+' Long-Term Rating Affirmed

Press Release

LONDON (Standard & Poor's) May 22, 2009--Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today that it revised to negative from stable its outlook on Saudi Arabia-based Saad Group and related entities, owing to our view of its increased real estate exposure resulting in the reduced liquidity and geographic diversity of its portfolio. At the same time, the 'BBB+/A-2' corporate credit ratings were affirmed.

The outlook revision reflects our view of Saad Group's reduced portfolio liquidity and diversity, with real estate holdings in Saudi Arabia constituting a substantially larger portion of Saad Group's asset base than previously. Due in part to current economic conditions, we are applying more conservative metrics for Saad Group's ratings, by altering our previous treatment of some of Saad Group's assets and liabilities. We also lowered our loan-to-value (LTV) threshold for the rating to 25% from 30%.

Sovereign wealth funds interested in Dubai's conventional bond 2nd tranche

Nasser Al Sheikh, Dubai said that it received interest from sovereign wealth funds for the second tranche of the USD 20 bn bond, which will only be issued if needed.

Islamic Bank of Asia aims to localise Tawarruq transactions

The Islamic Bank of Asia, (IBA) a venture of Singapore’s DBS Group Holdings Ltd., aims to stop using London Metal Exchange transactions.The bank is in talks with Olam International Ltd. to use its trading in commodities such as rice, coffee, cotton and cocoa as the basis for financing.

Vincent Cook is CEO.

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