BLME sees Gulf sukuk issuance picking up, longer tenors

Bank of London and The Middle East (BLME) expects Islamic bond issuance to pick up in the Gulf next year as companies refinance maturing debt in a strong economic climate. Scheduled sukuk maturities in Gulf Arab countries next year are expected to trigger a flurry of fresh issues. Many of the new sukuk will be larger than the instruments they replaced. Because of rising economic confidence in the Gulf, tenors of newly issued sukuk will likely become longer, with some moving out towards seven years from the five-year tenors which have dominated in recent years. BLME's assets under management include a $65 million sukuk fund rated A by Moody's Investors Service. Its balance sheet grew to 1.04 billion pounds ($1.7 billion) at the end of last year.