Saudi banks to benefit from strong sukuk market growth

According to a new special report published by Moody's Investors Service, the Saudi sukuk market will continue to grow over the next 12-18 months. Strong sukuk issuance has continued in 2013, with SR 11.6 billion already issued during Q1, leading the rating agency to expect that 2013 sukuk issuance will surpass 2012 levels. With limited investment options available, IFIs tend to maintain higher levels of very low-yielding cash and Islamic interbank placements. A larger sukuk market would facilitate liquidity management through a pool of higher-yielding Shariah-compliant securities and offer a profitability boost to local IFIs. Moody's says that the record issuance is being driven by strong investor demand; increased financing opportunities to fund the country's large-scale infrastructure projects; and a developing yield curve following the sovereign-guaranteed benchmark sukuk issuance by the General Authority of Civil Aviation in early 2012.