Qatar

Fitch Ratings: Coronavirus intensifies pressure on Qatari banks

The spread of the corona virus will pressure Qatari banks' asset quality and funding volatility could recur. As Fitch does not expect any changes in the Qatari authorities' ability to provide timely support all Qatari banks have a Stable outlook. The consequences of the coronavirus and lower hydrocarbon revenues will weaken government capital spending, which will in turn affect the operating environment. Fitch now forecasts Qatar's real GDP growth at minus 2% in 2020, after an estimated 0.6% positive growth in 2019. Qatari banks have adequate capital buffers but an increase in problem loans could erode these buffers quickly.

#Qatar- Masraf Al Rayan subsidiary to establish digital bank in Astana International Financial Centre

Al Rayan Investment is working on the requirements of authorising a new bank with an expected paid-up capital of $10mn and an authorised capital of $20mn. The new bank is intended to be the first full-fledged digital bank in the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC). Adel Mustafawi, Group CEO of Masraf Al Rayan said that Kazakhstan represents a new hub for Islamic finance in Central Asia, which offers considerable potential; while AIFC represents the optimal platform for Al Rayan. AIFC governor Dr Kairat Kelimbetov welcomes the decision of Al Rayan Investment to establish a fintech bank in AIFC. The new digital bank will focus on the development of Islamic banking products and investments facilitated by the application of cutting edge fintech products.

Swiss fintech firms venture deeper into Middle East

Swiss fintech company Instimatch has launched into the Middle East, having won a licence to operate in Qatar, and signed up its first Kuwaiti bank. The company is poised to incorporate Islamic finance-compliant solutions and blockchain into its platform. Qatar's Masraf Al Rayan and Ahli banks are among the 80-plus entities signed up by Instimatch, along with Kuwait's Gulf Bank. Instimatch plans to have Qatar as a springboard for further expansion in the Middle East and later to Africa and Asia. Along with other countries in the region, Qatar recently launched a national fintech strategy to beef up its financial centre with digital innovations.

Shariah-compliant Qatar First Bank buys Seattle office building for $117 mln as it seeks to overturn losses

Qatar First Bank has acquired a property in Seattle, Washington, USA, for $117 million as it seeks to overturn its 2018 loss of 482 million riyals ($132.38 million). The four-building corporate campus property is fully rented by telco T-Mobile and software company Mindtree. QFB in 2019 exited its investments in several assets including Turkey-based English Home, Kuwait Energy, and Future Industries Holding. It said in October its strategy was to monetise its private equity portfolio and reinvest in more secure assets across politically stable jurisdictions. The bank made a loss of 303.64 million riyals for the nine-month period through Sep 30, 2019. QFB held 2.87 billion riyals in assets at the end of September last year.

#Qatar Financial Centre Puts Blanket Ban on Cryptocurrency Businesses

The Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (QFCRA) announced that virtual asset services may not be conducted in or from the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC). The QFC is a business and financial center with its own legal, regulatory, tax and business infrastructure in Qatar that was created in order to attract businesses to the area and promote economic development. The regulator's decision came right after the country adopted new Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing norms. While some countries like Switzerland have opened up to the possibilities of digital assets, others see them as a threat to monetary sovereignty and have adopted a hard line.

QFC and UN Sign MoU to address global humanitarian issues

The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General. The MoU, will see increased collaboration between the QFC and the Special Adviser of the UN Secretary-General and aims to assist with the promotion of humanitarian challenges, raise awareness amongst the greater business community, and increase mobilization of Qatar's private sector on key global humanitarian issues.

Experts say the odds are against gold dinar

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad brought an idea of a gold dinar as an international reserve currency for Muslim countries in preference to the US dollar as the dollar was sometimes unstable. Nazari Ismail, a professor of economics at Universiti Malaya thinks, that the idea is not reliable, as countries as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Pakistan and Indonesia would be not interested in the prime ministers proposal.

Islamic finance body IILM names new CEO

The International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation (IILM) has announced on monday that Dr. Umar Aimhanosi Oseni is their new CEO. (IILM) is an international consortium that issues short-term Shariah-compliant financial instruments to facilitate cross-border liquidity management for institutions that offer Islamic financial services.

#Qatar reaches out to Shariah market in #Malaysia, #Turkey

Qatar has taken the lead in reaching out to Malaysia and Turkey through which the country aims to be the dominant player in the global Shariah financial landscape. Under the proposed plan, Turkey would cover Islamic finance needs in Europe, Qatar would serve the greater Middle East and North Africa and Malaysia will continue to serve the Asian markets. The London Stock Exchange is currently a global venue for the issuance of sukuk, while Hong Kong and Luxembourg have also made inroads but Qatar believes the market should be led by Muslim countries. Qatar Financial Center (QFC) Authority CEO Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida has a vision to cover the entire globe’s Islamic financial transactions between three financial centres, Doha, Istanbul and Malaysia, therefore he sees a need to share platforms and technology.

#Qatar to host 14th World Islamic Economic Forum next year

The State of Qatar will host the 14th session of the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) in October next year. The agreement was signed by Nasser Mohammed Al-Mohannadi, Director of the Financial and Administrative Affairs Department at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and by Syed Abu Bakr Al-Mahdar, Managing Director of the World Islamic Economic Forum Foundation (WIEF). The Forum aims to enhance the economic well-being of Islamic peoples and communities in different countries and build new business partnerships between Muslim and non-Muslim societies around the world. The 14th session of the World Islamic Economic Forum will witness the organization of a number of bilateral meetings and complementary programs, in addition to organizing an accompanying exhibition, where participants can promote their brands and provide their products and services to visitors.

#Qatari banks raise over $1 billion in privately placed bonds – sources

Qatar National Bank and Qatar Islamic Bank have raised a combined $1.3 billion in privately placed bonds. QNB‘s chief executive Ali Ahmed al-Kuwari told Reuters this week that the bank‘s U.S. dollar liquidity was excellent and that it had no immediate funding need. The bank, which is 50% owned by sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority reported a 3.5% rise in third-quarter net profit. Qatar Islamic Bank has reported a rise in net profit in the second quarter of this year. It is expected to announce its third-quarter results next week.

#Turkey, #Malaysia, #Qatar can pioneer in Islamic finance

Ready to be taken to the next level, the burgeoning sector of Islamic finance is ready to take root in new regions through Turkey, Malaysia and Qatar. According to Yousuf Al-Jaida, CEO of the Qatar Financial Centre, Malaysia could act as a gateway for Islamic finance into Asia, with Turkey into Europe and Qatar the Middle East and Africa. He stressed that Malaysia was ready with its legal framework to facilitate the sector, while Qatar and Turkey need to step up and do more for the sector. Al-Jaida said these three countries could form a large platform to share experience, technology and knowledge. He is optimistic and sees a bright future, as Islamic finance is now growing at an even quicker pace than conventional finance.

Symposium on Islamic Art to open at VCUarts #Qatar

The 8th Biennial Hamad bin Khalifa Symposium on Islamic Art takes place at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar) on November 10 and 11. The Symposium takes place every two years and this year's theme is, 'The Seas and the Mobility of Islamic Art. Panel discussions will take place on subjects such as Islamic Art in 11th-14th century Chinese port cities, Muslim-centred design, and architecture in the 20th and 21st centuries. The Symposium will include an exhibition at the University's Gallery titled 'The Sea is the Limit'. The exhibition will bring together works by international artists who are addressing the issues of refugees, borders, migration and national identity.

Qatar Financial Center Expands Number of Licensed Fintech Activities, Releases New Rules and Guidance

The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) has expanded the number Fintech-related activities that will be awarded licenses and the agency plans to extend support to an increasing number of financial services firms through the QFC platform, according to a release.

Islamic finance contracts estimated to reach $2.5trn

The Qatar International Center for Conciliation and Arbitration (QICCA) has participated in the 7th East Africa International Arbitration Conference (EAIAC) held on 29 - 30 August 2019 in Nairobi. As QICCA’s Board Member, Sheikh Thani bin Ali bin Saud Al Thani attended the event and delivered a research paper on Islamic finance. During the sessions of the conference, Sheikh Thani informed attendees on the expertise of Qatar in Islamic finance as well as Malaysia’s experiment, in addition to experiments of non-Islamic countries such as Singapore. The conference which was held under the theme "Government Contracting and Investment Disputes: Lessons for States and Investors" saw a participation of more than 250 attendees from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and Ghana. QICCA General Counsel Minas Khatchadourian said that the world’s Sovereign Wealth Investments will reach $15trillion by 2020, which represents 25% of the total value of assets that are managed over the world.

Source: 

https://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/08/09/2019/Islamic-finance-contracts-estimated-to-reach-$2.5trn

QFC joins Islamic Financial Services Board

The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) has been admitted to the international standard-setting organisation, Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB), as an Associate Member. As an Associate Member, the QFC can participate in the IFSB General Assembly, receive technical assistance from the IFSB and participate in Working Groups, Task Force and closed-door discussions. The Secretary-General of the IFSB, Dr. Bello Lawal Danbatta welcomed QFC and reaffirmed the board's committment to promoting resilience and the stability of Islamic financial services.

HBKU’s College of Islamic Studies calls for research papers

The College of Islamic Studies at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) has announced a Call for Papers for its International Conference on Islamic Finance and Circular Economy. The conference is jointly organised with the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Authority and will take place from December 3-5 in Doha. During the three-day conference, attendees will examine the emergence of a circular economic paradigm in recent years, exploring the means, processes and incentives to learn from nature and to minimise waste. Scholars are invited to submit their papers on topics such as: Circular Economy: An Islamic Perspective; Circular Economy: Concepts, Models - Challenges and Opportunities; Circular Economy and Islamic Finance; Circular Economy: Urban Innovative Actions and Design; and Transition to Circular Economy: Case Studies. Both Arabic and English manuscripts will be accepted.

#Qatar- QIIB stays focused on digitalisation, utilising #fintech: CEO

Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB) remains focused on digitalisation and utilising financial technology. Bank CEO Dr Abdulbasit Ahmad al-Shaibei sees fintech as the future of banking. QIIB cannot afford to miss out, so it is looking closely at the blockchain technology and ways to partner with fintech companies. The bank is investing significantly in the IT infrastructure and considers Cyber security a top priority. Al-Shaibei plans the opening of new branches at commercial malls across the nation as a natural response to the urban development and customer needs. QIIB is a major stakeholder in Umnia Bank in Morocco, where it has not rolled out all banking products, it is currently going through the regulatory procedures. Umnia Bank is a joint venture among QIIB, Credit immobilier et hotelier and the Moroccan Deposit and Management Fund.

Islamic Finance Centre opens in #Kazakhstan

Qatar's Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, and Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) have opened an Islamic Finance Centre (IFC) in Kazakhstan. The opening ceremony was attended by HBKU president Dr Ahmad M Hasnah, along with the rector of Al-Farabi University, Dr Galym Mutanov, and AIFC board vice chairman Yernur Rysmagambetov. The IFC is equipped with the most advanced technological tools offering training programmes with the aim of becoming a research hub and educational cluster in Islamic finance. HBKU's College of Islamic Studies (CIS) will support this centre and the two institutions will be working on student exchange programmes, joint conferences, and mutual research projects.

QIB launches #Takaful product for low-income workers

Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) announced the launch of its affordable Takaful product for low-income workers called "Family Sheild - WPS". This low cost Takaful product can also be purchased by companies who want to give additional protection to their employees. The plan can be purchased by contributing QR10 per month or QR120 per annum and provides a cover of QR50,000 for death and QR100,000 in case of death due to accident. D. Anand, General Manager of Personal Banking Group at QIB, said the Family Shield WPS Takaful plan was designed for expatriate workers and can be easily purchased instanty over the counter without any medical tests. He added that QIB was well aware of the worker’s concern for their family’s well being in case of unseen events and wanted to provide them with an affordable and useful Takaful solution.

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