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Islamic factoring tipped as game-changer for Turkish exports

At the moment there are six Islamic banks operating in Turkey, with Kuveyt Turk, Turkiye Finans and Albaraka Turk holding around three quarters of their market share. Harun Çelik, the Islamic Trade Finance Corporation’s (ITFC) regional head for Turkey, says that agriculture is one of the sectors where Islamic banks have big growth potential. Out of almost Tl120bn (US$18.5bn) of agricultural finance in Turkey, the six Islamic banks are only getting 1% of that. That’s where he sees growth potential. Perhaps the greatest nascent opportunity lies with small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs). One useful emerging tool for SMEs could be factoring. A form of supply chain finance, factoring typically involves a supplier selling its invoices to a third party at a discount. For the supplier it means quicker access to working capital, while the third party makes its profit once the invoices are paid.

Gulf bonds prove resilience amid virus-induced adversity

Gulf bonds are emerging resilient after yet another crisis. In the last few weeks the pandemic-induced investor worries soared and oil prices plummeted, but analysts still see them ending the year strong. According to capital markets expert Anita Yadav, total new bond issuances in 2020 will likely surpass the record $101 billion raised in 2019. So far this year, the GCC bond markets have comparatively stayed resilient, having in recent weeks only sold off 60% of emerging market debt and roughly 50% of high-yield debt. Year-to-date GCC issuers have priced more than $47 billion of USD denominated bonds in international markets, nearly matching the $47.8 billion raised during the same period last year.

Saudi Arabia raises $1.48bln in local #sukuk -statement

Saudi Arabia has raised 5.55 billion riyals in sukuk. The first tranche of the sukuk issue has a size of 1.3 billion riyals, and a total tranche size of 2.523 billion riyals, maturing in 2027. The second tranche has a size of 4.25 billion riyals, and a total tranche size of 8.238 billion riyals, maturing in 2035.

UK court's intervention is worst-case scenario, says NMC Health chairman

According to hospital operator NMC Health and its Executive Chairman Faisal Belhoul, getting placed in administration by a UK court order would be the "worst-case scenario" for the company’s future. The threat of coming under administration is a live one after Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank had filed a request with a UK court for NMC to be placed under a joint administration. ADCB – which has an exposure of Dh3.6 billion to NMC and affiliates - filed its request in a UK court because NMC Health is listed on London Stock Exchange. According to Belhoul, international institutional investors are keen to take an exposure in NMC despite its current predicament.

Gulf Islamic Investments’ Acquisition of Class A New York Office Building

Gulf Islamic Investments (GII) has announced the acquisition of 140 & 150 Grand Street Plaza, an office building in White Plains, Westchester County, New York, USA on behalf of its investors. Located just 30 minutes away from Manhattan, the Class A office building seats within the urban center of White Plains. The Property is strategically located within one block of the Federal, Supreme, District and County courthouses making it the preferred destination for government-affiliated and law-related tenants. GII is a UAE-based financial services company regulated by the Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority (ESCA). GII was advised by a cross border Orrick team led by Düsseldorf-based M&A and private equity partner Oliver Duys.

Ramadan during coronavirus may seem disheartening but it's the ideal time for reflection

It is going to be a very different Ramadan this year due to the Covid-19 global pandemic and the social isolation laws. Ramadan in 2020 means no communal gatherings in mosques for "tarawih" night prayers, no large "iftar" dinners with family and friends at sunset to break the day’s fast, and restrictions on celebrating Eid, the biggest social holiday for Muslims signalling the end of Ramadan. Self-discipline when it comes to physical acts of worship is a part of the heritage of Islam. However, the true essence of Ramadan has been diluted through the generations. The focus of Ramadan can move away from food preparation and "eating at sunset", to self-improvement and self-discipline.

Bahrain Islamic Bank launches Tejoori Instant Finance

Bahrain Islamic Bank (BisB) launched the Tejoori Instant Finance service allowing customers to obtain instant finance within 5 minutes. According to BisB Chief Retail Banking, Dalal Al Qais, customers can get instant finance on amounts ranging between BD 200 and BD 2,000, which will be credited to their Saving or Current Account in less than 5 minutes. Customers will be required to pay upfront fees that vary between BD30 and BD70, depending on the required amount. They can choose a minimum tenor of three months up to a maximum tenor of 12 months to repay the amount with no profits. The monthly instalment will be deducted directly from the customer’s Tejoori account.

Islamic Development Bank to help #Pakistan fight coronavirus

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Thursday offered financial support to Pakistan amid the lockdown due to coronavirus pandemic. In a video call, IsDB President Dr Bandar MH Hajjar assured Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar of the bank’s support for Pakistan. Hajjar informed that the IsDB Group has approved the $2.3 billion package for the IsDB member countries to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar appreciated the special priority given to Pakistan. The minister also underlined the needs of the member countries and applauded Bank’s response.

Norton Rose Fulbright acts for HSBC on unique USD 1 billion Islamic financing

International law firm Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) has been called on to advise HSBC and Tokyo-headquartered Mizuho Bank, on an Islamic financing facility worth USD 1 billion. The cross-border financing, which had to be compliant with Shariah law, is the first of its kind to align to the new requirements set by the United Arab Emirates Central Bank. The finance facility’s creation necessitated a deep understanding of the new rules surrounding commodity murabaha financing structures, which called on NRF’s Dubai-based banking team, representing the initial arrangers, book-runners and coordinators.

Islamic Development Bank prepares $2.3b package for member countries

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group has approved a $2.3 billion package for its member countries to mitigate and recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. IsDB President Dr Bandar M H Hajjar said that this will be achieved through a holistic approach aimed to accommodate priorities beyond the immediate and emergency response. Dr Hajjar assured the bank’s full support for the people and the government of Pakistan to mitigate the negative impacts of Covid-19. Pakistan's Minister for Economic Affairs Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar informed that International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) has been directed to immediately finalise $500 million for import of oil and an amount of $150 million has been allocated to alleviate the pandemic impact.

Middle East investors target $5.3bn London commercial property spend in 2020

According to Knight Frank, Middle East investors are set to increase commercial real estate investment in London this year. Investors from the region are forecast to spend £4.1 billion ($5.3 billion) in the UK capital this year, up by £100 million compared to 2019. China remains by far the biggest potential investor in London, with £12.7 billion of capital ready to buy assets in 2020, followed by Singapore. Knight Frank’s annual London Report reveals that in 2019 London investment activity fell 15% to £13.9 billion, down from £16.8 billion in 2018, as Brexit uncertainty and a shortage of available assets constrained the number of deals.

RAM Ratings: #Takaful industry’s strong capitalisation sufficient to withstand headwinds

RAM Ratings Services has maintained its "stable" outlook on the Malaysian takaful industry for 2020 despite the economic slowdown. Its Financial Institution Ratings co-head Sophia Lee said the industry’s strong capitalisation is sufficient to withstand headwinds. In 2019, the family takaful’s new business contributions grew 25% to RM6.2 billion, an additional 13% from 2018, mainly driven by the MySalam initiative, the national health protection scheme. Excluding MySalam, growth was still commendable at an estimated 16%, anchored by credit-related takaful products and the employee benefits. Similarly, the general takaful industry expanded by a strong 20% in 2019, led primarily by the motor business.

#Indonesia’s national Islamic economy committee budget slashed, plans suspended as gov't focuses on COVID-19

Indonesia’s National Sharia Economy and Finance Committee (KNEKS) will suspend non-urgent programs this year after its budget was slashed by a third as the government allocates resources to fight COVID-19. The committee will conduct a series of webinars focused on the impact of COVID-19 on the Islamic economy. KNEKS will also engage Indonesians to participate more in Islamic social finance by promoting Shariah-compliant fintechs such as LinkAja Syariah. Indonesia’s government has set aside 405.1 trillion rupiah ($24.65 billion) out of the state budget as a support and stimulus package to help the economy. It has re-allocated and re-focused 95.5 trillion rupiah from ministries and other government institutions as part of efforts to fund the package.

Covid-19: World faces 'biblical' famines from pandemic, warns UN food agency chief

The head of the UN food agency warned that besides the coronavirus pandemic the world is on the brink of a hunger pandemic that could lead to multiple famines of biblical proportions within a few months if immediate action isn't taken. World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley said that WFP is providing food to nearly 100 million people on any given day. According to WFP, the 10 countries with the worst food crises in 2019 were Yemen, Congo, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syria, Sudan, Nigeria and Haiti. Beasley raised the prospect of a hunger pandemic because there is also a real danger that more people could potentially die from the economic impact of Covid-19 than from the virus itself. Lockdowns and economic recession are expected to lead to major income losses for the working poor.

EXCLUSIVE: Gulf Family Offices And European Distressed Assets - An Analysis

The Financial Times published an article about Gulf sovereign wealth funds which are mobilising to buy assets whose valuations have been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Sadly, distressed assets will no doubt soon be flooding the market looking for rescue investors. Yet there may be problems for bankers and asset managers taking potential deals to the sovereign wealth funds. The oil price is at a 20-year low as coronavirus depresses demand, and Gulf countries may need to support their domestic economies. Secondly, sovereign wealth funds have high visibility and there is strong competition for their attention. Much less is known about family offices. The Single Family Offices Database from Highworth is an online resource which provides detailed profiles of over 900 single family offices globally, including a number of sovereign family offices in Gulf countries.

Arabic Collections Online

Arabic Collections Online (ACO) is a publicly available digital library of public domain Arabic language content. ACO currently provides digital access to 13,224 volumes across 7,842 subjects drawn from rich Arabic collections of distinguished research libraries. As reported recently, Arabic Collections Online usage jumped 700% in March due to closures of libraries around the world.

Temenos helps Yemeni bank to digitalise operations

Yemen’s Al Kuraimi Islamic Bank (KIB) is replacing its legacy IT systems with a single cloud-native, cloud-agnostic digital banking platform from Temenos. Temenos Infinity will support the delivery of hyper-personalised, omnichannel customer experiences and allow KIB to provide faster, seamless customer service. Temenos Transact will optimise KIB’s operations and enable the delivery of enhanced digital products with shorter timescales for delivery. Established in 2010, KIB has 1.2 million customers and is aiming to reach 5 million by 2023. Its goals include making financial services easily accessible across Yemen, supporting socioeconomic development, and raising the national standard of living.

NMC board, management should be held accountable: Al Ghurair

According to Abdulaziz Al Ghurair, chairman of the UAE Banks Federation, the board and management of NMC Healthcare should be held accountable for the financial irregularities. It is estimated that more than 80 local, regional and international banks have exposure to healthcare firm. The UAE banks last week announced nearly Dh10 billion exposure to NMC Healthcare. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank has the highest exposure to NMC at Dh3 billion. Dubai Islamic Bank and its subsidiary Noor Bank announced Dh2 billion exposure while Emirates NBD and Emirates Islamic Bank disclosed Dh747.34 million exposure. NMC recently revised its debt position to $6.6 billion, well above earlier estimates. London's High Court last week placed hospital operator NMC Health into administration, on the application of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.

A new normal will require Islamic fintech to address financial inclusion

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unexpected catalyst for digitalisation and this global crisis now may well be a boon to businesses promoting digital financial inclusivity. Approximately 40% of startups will not survive if the COVID-19 crisis continues after May 2020, according to a recent news report. Malaysia is now a nucleus for Islamic digital economic activity comprising of digital products and services catering to the Islamic crowd. The country has developed world-class regulation, driving new initiatives to accredit halal certifiers worldwide, granting the first Islamic fintech crowdfunding license and launching a new certification scheme for Muslim friendly hospitality. Islamic Fintech and Islamic Digital Economy encourage financial inclusivity by increasing awareness and providing access to SMEs through digital financial instruments.

World Health Organization thanks Saudi Arabia for contributing $500 million to combat Coronavirus

The Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr. Tedros Adhanom thanked Saudi Arabia for donating 500 million dollars to support the international efforts in combating and preventing the spread of novel Coronavirus (Covid-19). Saudi Arabia will allocate 150 million dollars to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation, 150 million dollars to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations and 200 million dollars to the other international and regional health organizations and programs. The novel Coronavirus has killed more than 150,000 people worldwide and infected over 2.2 million people in 193 countries and territories.

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