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Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre hosts #webinar on Sukuk market

The Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC), in collaboration with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Refinitiv hosted the fourth session of the GIES Virtual Series webinar that examined the opportunities and challenges in the sukuk market. Moderator Tahir Mahmood, Head of Business Development at Nasdaq Dubai, discussed the emerging trends in the sukuk market and examined various outlooks for the sector. During the session, panellists agreed that the sukuk market has done well over the past year. The fifth session of the GIES Virtual Series, titled ‘The New Age of Digital Retail in light of the Pandemic', is scheduled for Tuesday, 13 October at 11am (UAE time).

#Qatar- Masraf Al Rayan's $750mn #sukuk generates overwhelming demand from global investors

Masraf Al Rayan has announced the issuance of $750mn Sukuk with a term of five years under the bank's existing $2bn sukuk programme. The issuance was 4.4 times oversubscribed to the tune of nearly $3.3bn. The overwhelming demand from investors has allowed the bank to increase the issue size from an initial $500mn to $750mn. The issuance was priced at a spread of 185 basis points over the five-year mid swap carrying a fixed profit rate of 2.21% per annum. Al Rayan Investment, Crédit Agricole CIB, HSBC, Mizuho, MUFG, QNB Capital, Société Générale and Standard Chartered Bank acted as joint lead managers and bookrunners on this transaction.

College of Islamic Studies at HBKU and Qatar FinTech Hub Sign MoU

The College of Islamic Studies (CIS) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Qatar FinTech Hub (QFTH). Through the agreement, CIS and QFTH will engage and contribute actively to the development of the financial technology (FinTech) industry in Qatar. QFTH represents a range of stakeholders in the industry from early-stage firms to large financial services companies and relevant service providers, who stand to benefit from CIS' insights and research. The Fintech Hackathon, which was launched in June 2020, is one of the pioneering areas of collaboration between CIS and QFTH.

S&P Global expects #sukuk issuance to touch $100bn in 2020

Sukuk issuance volume is expected to total around $100bn for 2020, about 40% lower than in 2019. The issuance volume fell 27% in the first six months of this year. S&P Global Ratings noted the number of defaults among sukuk issuers with low credit quality will likely increase, which will serve to test the robustness of legal documents for sukuk. Also, some sukuk may be issued to tackle social issues as economies recover, rather than solely to serve investors' financial interests.

#UAE- Al Hilal Bank sells Al Hilal Takaful to Siraj Holdings

Al Hilal Bank has completed the sale of Al Hilal Takaful to Siraj Holding. The divestment was driven by Al Hilal Bank's strategic decision to focus on delivering high-quality retail banking services, primarily through digital channels. Al Hilal Bank was acquired by ADCB in May 2019, following the merger between ADCB and Union National Bank (UNB). Full integration of the three banks was completed in early April 2020.

Shariah-compliant #gold trading platform to launch in #UK

A digital gold-trading platform compliant with Islamic finance norms is about to get launched in the UK. Minted is a start-up domiciled in London that aims at making gold trading simple, secure and affordable. Minted launched the beta version of its platform in early May and plans to introduce a full-fledged version in mid-June and a mobile app by the end of July. With a total of £1mn in seed funding, of which it already received half from a venture capital investor, Minted plans to expand to Germany and France and, later on, to Turkey, the US, South Asia and Africa.

UAE- Islamic finance can heal Covid pain

Islamic finance can play an important role in navigating the economic turbulence brought by the Covid-19 crisis on individual and corporate levels. It is believed that the four Islamic finance instruments of Qard Hassana, social sukuk, waqf and zakat in particular can help core Islamic countries, banks and corporates navigate the current tough situation. The Covid-19 crisis has significantly slowed the core Islamic finance economies. According to Mohamed Damak, primary credit analyst at S & P Global Ratings, social instruments could be used directly by the Islamic finance industry to support households by compensating them for lost income, and by providing access to basic services, such as education and health care.

Central Asia pushes Islamic finance in preparation of post-Covid era

Islamic banking in Central Asia, namely in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is developing fast and is on the best way to become integrated into the global Islamic finance industry. One sign for this are the currently ongoing preparations for the CIS Islamic Banking and Finance Forum 2020 to be held from August 13 to 15 this year in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The event will focus on a broad variety of Islamic banking themes, including financial inclusion and poverty alleviation, takaful, sukuk and Islamic microfinance, the introduction of Islamic finance and operations in the region and their potential, regulation, auditing and Islamic finance contracts, Islamic fintech, the role of Islamic Finance in reaching the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals, as well as general investment opportunities in the CIS member states.

Moody's expects $180bn #sukuk issuance this year

According to Moody's Investor Service, sukuk issuance will stabilise after growing for four consecutive years, supported by the deficit financing needs of some GCC sovereigns, amid weaker oil prices and higher sukuk refinancing. Moody's expects sukuk issuance of around $180bn in 2020, after a 36% rise in 2019 to $179bn. Global sovereign sukuk issuance increased by 31% to $119bn in 2019, from $91bn in 2018. Moody's noted that downside risks are rising in the short term because of the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak, as prolonged market disruption could dissuade issuers from coming to market. Green sukuk will benefit from robust growth in institutional investor demand for environmental, social and governance (ESG) products, given the natural crossover of sustainable investing and Islamic finance.

Net profit of Emirates Islamic increases by 15 percent

In 2019, Emirates Islamic net income grew by 15% to stand at AED1.061 billion. Total profit rose by 8% to AED2.7 billion, and financing and investing receivables were at AED37.5 billion, climbed by 4% from end 2018. Customer deposits reached AED45.3 billion, which is a rise of 9% from end of 2018; recent and saving accounts balances show 63% of total customer deposits, as Emirates Islamic reported. Chairman Hesham Abdulla Al Qassim said the bank delivered strong results for the year, with net profit of AED1.061 billion, the highest ever in the bank's history.

#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.

#Bangladesh's Islamic finance industry keeps booming with no slowdown in sight

The central bank of Bangladesh approved applications from two domestic banks, Standard Bank and NRB Global Bank, to become fully Islamic banks. The two banks so far only operated Islamic windows but sought to convert to fully-fledged Shariah-compliant banks to enlarge their scope of product offerings. NRB Global Bank said it plans to change its name to Global Islami Bank to underscore its new role. The move brings the number of fully-fledged Islamic banks in Bangladesh to ten, with the others being Al-Arafah Islami Bank, Islami Bank Bangladesh, Exim Bank, Social Islami Bank, Shahjalal Islami Bank, Union Bank, First Security Islami Bank and ICB Islamic Bank. Analysts note that the industry has still high potential for further expansion as Bangladesh enjoys a vibrant economy with GDP per capita having more than tripled over the past decade.

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.

Qatar- Malaysia builds framework for digital Islamic banks

Malaysia's central bank Bank Negara Malaysia is pushing the financial sector to join the digital banking revolution. It is preparing the issuance of the country's first five digital banking licences. Digital banks also named virtual banks, neobanks or challenger banks predominantly deliver banking services through digital channels such as Internet portals and smartphone apps with minimal, if any, brick-and-mortar presence. Among the largest standalone digital banks globally are currently N26 from Germany, Monzo, Starling and Revolut from the UK, Chime from the US, Tangerine from Canada, Nubank from Brazil, Neat from Hong Kong and WeBank from China. In the Islamic financial industry examples are insha, a co-operation of Turkey's Albaraka Turk Participation Bank with German solarisBank, and some others such as Boubyan Bank. Adding to this, Qatar Islamic Bank as part of its digital transformation has developed a fully digital financing services arm. Malaysia could potentially join with digital Islamic banking services in case Maybank and CIMB receive digital banking licences.

Stronger GCC appetite set to spur uptick in #sukuk issuance in 2020

A stronger appetite for sukuk issuance in some GCC countries is among the key factors that promise to spark an uptick in the market. S&P Global Ratings estimates a total sukuk issuance of between $160 billion and $170 billion this year, representing 5% growth on the $162 billion seen in 2019. The total estimated issuances include $40 billion-$45 billion of foreign currency sukuks. The expected upswing in sukuk issuances will be underpinned by high levels of liquidity in Indonesia, Turkey's efforts to tap all available financing sources, and the good performance in Malaysia. The green sukuk market will continue to expand, aided by opportunities related to energy mix diversification in the GCC/Malaysia and investor diversification. As GCC countries begin their transition toward less carbon-intensive economies, green projects are set to flourish. Some of these projects will likely be funded via the sukuk market.

The IFSB Database Completes Five Years Data for Islamic Banking Systems in 21 Countries, including the United Kingdom for the First Time

The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) published country-level data on financial soundness and growth of the Islamic banking systems for Q1 of 2018 from 21 IFSB member jurisdictions. This report includes the data from four newly joined countries, namely: Qatar, Palestine, Lebanon, and the first time for the United Kingdom. With the inclusion of new countries’ data, the total assets of the Islamic banking industry grew by 8.0% from USD 1,573 billion in 2017Q1 to USD 1,699 billion in 2018Q1. Financing by Islamic banks grew by 6.7% and reached USD 1,033 billion in 2018Q1 from USD 968 billion in 2017Q1. The number of full-fledged Islamic banks and Islamic windows of conventional banks in 21 IFSB member participating countries stood at 188 and 85 in 2018Q1 as compared to 184 and 84 in 2017Q1 respectively.

#Saudi- Finance Minister heads the Kingdom's delegation to the 43rd Islamic Development Bank board of governors Annual Meeting in Tunis

Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan will head the Kingdom's delegation to the 43rd Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Islamic Development Bank between April 4-5 in Tunis. The Saudi delegation will include Dr. Ahmad Al-Khulaifi, Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), Dr. Hamad Al-Bazie, Vice Minister of Finance, Eng. Yousef Al-Bassam, Vice President and Managing Director of the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD). The IDB annual meeting's agenda will comprise of discussion sessions about the 2017 IDB activities report, IDB's institutions annual report and the establishment of the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD). The ISFD aims to alleviate poverty, develop capacity, and eradicate illiteracy, diseases and epidemics in member countries via funding various productive, social and service projects and programs.

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) Signs Memorandum of Understanding with JANA to Test New Banking Model

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with JANA Bena'a Productive Families of Saudi Arabia in order to test a new banking model named Biniog Sathi. The MOU was singed by Khaled Al-Aboodi, the CEO of ICD and Mohammed Al Khamis, Chairman of JANA Bena'a Productive Families. The new banking model will resolve the problem of credit default in the banking industry with the help of Zakat and Sadaqa. JANA Bena'a Productive Families Centre provides interest free loans to support women in starting their own businesses.

Trustbank Amanah, the first Islamic Bank in #Suriname and region, to play an important role in the development of entrepreneurship and economic growth

Islamic banking has made its entry in Suriname with the approval of the Central Bank of Suriname for Islamic products and services in the banking sector. The official opening of Trustbank Amanah, the first Islamic Bank in Suriname, took place on Thursday 7th of December 2017. Trustbank Amanah aims to develop, support and encourage Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in accordance with Islamic Finance principles. After the official launch of Trustbank Amanah, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism and the Association for Surinamese Business (VSB) to stimulate, support and develop local SMEs.

Qatar- Islamic finance making inroads into the #US

Islamic finance is increasingly making inroads into the US in a variety of forms, but widely out of the radar of the broader public. In the recent past, there has been a rise in the number of Islamic financial service providers. There are now about three dozen official Islamic finance providers in the US. Among the top institutions offering Islamic financial services in the country in terms of asset size are Lariba American Finance House and the associated Bank of Whittier in Los Angeles, as well as University Islamic Financial in Michigan. In terms of skills training, Harvard University has an Harvard Islamic Finance Program and the Franco-American Alliance for Islamic Finance is organising Islamic finance seminars this summer. On the consumer side, Islamic finance in the US is mostly prevalent in the real estate market.

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