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Standard & Poor’s Publishes Islamic Finance Outlook 2009

The new yearbook includes Standard & Poor’s latest analysis and rating methodologies on almost 40 rated Islamic debt issues and issuers, and an overview of its suite of global benchmark and investable Sharia indices.

While total global sukuk issuance more than halved to $14.9 billion in 2008 from $34 billion in the previous year, Standard & Poor’s believes the outlook for Islamic finance remains strong. Sharia-compliant assets now total about $700 billion after growth exceeding 10% annually during the past decade.

Full 70+ pages report for free download at:

http://www.gcc.standardandpoors.com/islamic_finance/Islamic%20Finance%20Outlook%202009%20(12).pdf

Concept of Sharia-Compliant Hotels explained

Paul Rosenberg and Hala Matar Choufany are giving in a contribution to 4hoteliers a set of criteria for Sharia compliant hotels, distinguishing it from merely alcohol free, "dry" hotels:

In order for a hotel to be fully Sharia-compliant, it is extremely important that most of the facilities (such as floors, spa, gym and guest and function rooms) be separate for males and females. This is especially significant at the development stage when designing floor plans of the hotel. Beds and toilets should not be placed in the direction of Mecca.

Neither alcohol nor pork should be served in any of the food and beverage outlets at the hotel and there should be no minibar in the rooms.

See full article for more details as below.

Middle East covers more than half of the Islamic Finance market

Research conducted by Shariah-Fortune screened around 810 companies in 50 countries worldwide offering Shariah compliant financial services. The Middle East covers more than half (around 56 %) of the Islamic Finance market. Around 450 companies are located in this region. Leading countries are the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Asian companies compound to a market share of about 20 %. In particular. Malaysia is one of the key players, not only in Asia, but also globally.

114 companies have been screened in Europe, which accounts for around 14 % of the global market share. On top position in Europe is the UK, boosted by the FSA´s regulatory initiatives. Compared to its global importance North America takes only a small part in the listing for Islamic Finance. Around 44 companies (ca. 5 %) are located in the USA and Canada.

First Islamic window in Mauritius by HSBC

HSBC launches its Amanah Islamic banking services in Mauritius, being the first Islamic window provider. The new services is primarily for international business clients in the offshore sector. Local clients may follow later.

Sandeep Uppal is the CEO of HSBC in Mauritius.

FT Special on Islamic finance

FT has today a 4 page special on Islamic finance. The link below leads to its pdf version (size 10 MB), discussing standardisation issues, credit crunch and other topics.

AAOIFI seeks mandate to vet products according to their Sharia Standards

The Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) will seek a mandate from its trustees to examine the degree of sharia financial products' compliance with its 40 standards, its secretary-general, Mohamad Nedal Alchaar, said according to Liau Y-Sing from Reuters.

Lack of common standards makes it difficult to sell products across borders, while possibly enhancing innovation.

Arthur D. Little: Shariah-Compliant Banking is an Increasingly Attractive Option for Western Players

A new report released today by management consultancy Arthur D. Little entitled “Islamic Finance Comes of Age” has identified a surge in activity around Islamic finance as a promising opportunity for the global financial services industry as it emerges from the current recession. With Islamic finance assets currently standing at USD 800 bn, Arthur D. Little expects this figure to surge to as much as USD 4 trillion in the next six years, representing a major opportunity for Western financial institutions looking to develop new partnerships and global markets.

The report can be downloaded after free registration at: http://www.adlittle.com/islamic_finance

Chase bank in Kenya has launched Shariah compliant products

Chase bank in Kenya has launched Shariah compliant products writes Mwaniki Wahome in the Daily Nation.

Known as Imam Banking, products are tailored for corporate, small-and-medium enterprises, as well as individuals. The accounts will include current accounts, savings accounts and fixed period investments. Together with Genghis Capital Limited and Winton Investment Services Sharia compliant investment banking and wealth managements products are planned. Further the management studies to introduce Takaful.

Zafrullah Khan is the MD of Chase.

E&Y sees takaful contributions grow to USD 7.7 bn by 2012

Ernst & Young released a report saying that the takaful market may reach USD 7.7 bn contributions by 2012, compared to USD 2.5 bn in 2006 and USD 3.4 bn in 2007.

Source: 

http://www.business24-7.ae/articles/2009/4/pages/globaltakafulmarketmayhit$77billionin2012report.aspx

Follow IslamicFinance.de with Twitter

IslamicFinance.de installed on 18 April a new service to keep you updated with Islamic finance news by sending its content to a Twitter account allowing to follow news even by mobile phone, Wikipedia the online encyclopedia explains Twitter as follows:

"Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users' updates known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length which are displayed on the user's profile page and delivered to other users who have subscribed to them (known as followers). [...] Users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter website, Short Message Service (SMS) or external applications. The service is free to use over the Internet, but using SMS may incur phone service provider fees." Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter

Please feel free to use just another free service related to IslamicFinance.de by following the news via Twitter:

Go to: http://twitter.com/IslamFinance

GFH aims to raise USD 600 mn for energy projects in Libya and Kazakhstan

Bahrain-based Gulf Finance House is seeking to raise USD 600 mn for energy projects in Libya and Kazakhstan this year.

Mali and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) have signed a grant agreement of 789 million CFA francs

Mali and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) have signed a grant agreement of 789 million CFA francs (about USD 1.578 million) aimed at supporting the revival of agriculture. The grant complements two funding agreements recently approved by IDB's Board of Executive Directors to support agricultural production on water control.

New license: Tunisia's first domestic Islamic finance bank

Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali's son-in-law recently won a license to begin operating an Islamic bank, which would be Tunisia's first domestic Islamic finance bank.

Oliver Wyman says Islamic finance industry to grow to USD 1.6 trillion by 2012

Assets of the global Islamic finance industry are estimated to grow to around USD 1.6 trillion by 2012, a report by consultancy Oliver Wyman said. Growth opportunities lie in underpenetrated markets with large Muslim populations in the Middle East, Pakistan and South East Asia. Islamic wholesale banking needs to diversify from real estate finance to include advanced treasury services, innovative asset management, balance sheet management and securitisation management.

Request form: http://www.oliverwyman.com/ow/request.htm?name=The%20Next%20Chapter%20in...

Islamic Development Bank plans Sukuk

Saudi-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) plans to issue USD 5 bn Sukuk, over the next five years to finance its programmes.

IDB's president Mr Ali said he expected 2009 issue would be priced higher and that the new sukuk would increase the IDB’s 2009 financing programme by 15 %.

Global finance structures must be revamped, says UN expert panel

International finance structures must be drastically overhauled in the face of the current global economic crisis, a panel of experts convened by the United Nations General Assembly chaired by Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize for Economics said.

The expert panel made a number of suggestions to support developing nations and creating an international infrastruture for the global markets led by the United Nations.

The panel included Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Governor of the Central Bank of Malaysia.

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Sustainability, Islamic Finance and Managing Risk While Seizing Opportunities

I just published an article with the Dow Jones Islamic Market Indexes Newsletter, giving an overview about the lines of arguments regarding performance and ethical screens, be it Islamic or Sustainability and what empiricial findings have been published.

It is claimed by critics that the reduction of the universe through ethical screens shall reduce the performance, likewise corporate social responsiblity comes against a cost. Similar counterarguments have been raised regarding Islamic screening criteria.

Bank Sarasin published a study doing own research with partners and reviewing published empirical analyses in the literature. It shows that there is no negative impact on performance. My review of empirical analyses in regard to Islamic finance concluded the same and all publications let conclude that ethical screens add value by way of risk management. An example is the debt limitation of the Sharia tolerance criteria.

Ethical screens may therefore improve the investment decision process and more research shall determine, which factors add value to the portfolio and therefore form part of a professional process.

Two Islamic banks in Kenya founded, but first year of operations not yet profitable

James Makau reported in Business Daily on 31 March that the Gulf African Bank and First Community Bank became the first fully fledged Islamic banks in Kenya but both had to record losses in their first year of operations as operating expenses and heavy set-up costs took a heavy toll on earnings.

Gulf African Bank recorded a loss of Sh281 million last year while First Community Bank (FCB) posted a loss of Sh307 million within the same period despite both players recording increases in net income during the year.

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Address The Growing Takaful Market

Press Release

LONDON, March 30, 2009 -- In a report published today, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services explains the way that its rating approach has been adapted to meet the growth of takaful insurance.

The article, "Standard & Poor's Approach To Rating Takaful And Retakaful (Islamic Re/Insurance) Companies," says that the last five years have seen takaful (Islamic insurance) grow from a niche product servicing relatively limited demand to become a mainstream risk management offering.

"In particular, we have seen rapid growth in the Arab world and an expansion across Europe. A further market development has been the growth of retakaful as a Sharia-compliant version of reinsurance," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Kevin Willis.

Standard & Poor's has rated a number of Islamic insurers and reinsurers and so is able to comment on the way that the rating criteria have been adapted to address the specifics of this product.

S&P: Nigerian Outlook Revised To Negative As Falling Oil Receipts Test Government's Institutional Capacity; Ratings Affirmed

Press Release

LONDON (Standard & Poor's) March 27, 2009--Standard & Poor's Ratings Services today said it had revised its outlook on the Federal Republic of Nigeria to negative from stable. At the same time, the 'BB-' foreign currency and 'BB' local currency long-term sovereign credit ratings were affirmed. The 'B' foreign and local currency short-term ratings and the 'ngAA+' national scale ratings were also affirmed. The Transfer & Convertibility Assessment on Nigeria remains 'BB-'.

"The institutional policy response to the global economic downturn and the consequent sharp fall in the price of oil, on which Nigeria is overwhelmingly reliant, motivated our revision of the ratings outlook," Standard & Poor's credit analyst Ben Faulks said. "We believe the adverse terms of trade shock will hurt Nigeria's credit profile both on the fiscal and external side."

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