Jordan

#Jordanians show high interest in Islamic #bonds — CBJ

The Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ) the second sukuk issuance on behalf of the National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) at a total value of JD75 million, 4.1% returns and a five-year maturity period. The bank reported that demand on the sukuk was 2.73 times the value of the issue, having received orders for JD205 million-worth bonds. The CBJ said the high turnout underlines the increasing demand on the financing tools compatible with the Islamic Law, which have been lacking in the local market during past decades. The bank said the success of this issuance was a result of the continuous coordination of the Finance Ministry, the CBJ, NEPCO, the Jordan Securities Commission and the Central Sharia Oversight Commission.

CBJ to release Islamic #sukuk worth JD34m

The Central Bank of #Jordan (CBJ) announced it will release the first sovereign issue of Islamic sukuk to fund the government's special purpose vehicle projects. The CBJ said the value of the new issue is JD34 million for a five-year term, to be issued on October 17, 2016 and due on October 17, 2021. The CBJ expected these sukuks' revenues to stand at 3%, with paying revenues, after adding a percentage of the sukuk value, via 10 equal payments on April 17 and October 17 of each year. The issuance is released in cooperation between the government, Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector. The CBJ is the issuance manager, while the Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank is the secretary of the issuance.

Better Understanding the Demand for Islamic #Microfinance

To close the severe gaps in financial inclusion in the Middle East and North Africa, more and more governments are starting to develop national financial inclusion strategies driven by evidence-based studies. So far, demand studies on Islamic finance have produced mixed results. To examine the distinction between preference and actual choice, CGAP, Yale University and Tamweelcom took a novel approach to the study of demand for Islamic and conventional loans in Jordan. According to the experiment, more people opt for the Islamic microloan than the conventional one when offered both (17% versus 2%). Sharia certification appears to have no significant impact on loan take-up at all. The study found that in Jordan people who are more religious are willing to pay a higher price for an Islamic microloan.

JIC chief promotes Kingdom's Islamic banking, halal food

Jordan Investment Commission (JIC) President Thabet Al Wir highlighted the Jordanian experiments in Islamic banking and halal food as a gate for cooperation with Germany to support the Kingdom's investment and economic environment. At a meeting with a German delegation representing the Federation of German Industries (BDI) and the German Federal Ministry of Finance, Wir described the Jordanian expertise in Islamic banking as top at the regional and international levels. The Kingdom is also among the first countries to accredit the Islamic banking system, he said. The presence of many Muslim communities in Germany provides a chance for the country to benefit from the Islamic system in its banking sector, the JIC president added.

Islamic Development Bank provides $200,000 to finance capacity building project

Jordan's Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Imad Fakhoury and President of the Islamic Development Bank Ahmad Mohammad Ali have singed a $200,000 grant agreement under which the bank will finance capacity building project for societies. The agreement aims to improve the quality of life in rural areas to curb poverty, increase economic growth and integrate the poor in the local community. The total cost of the project stands at $350,000, $200,000 of which will be covered by the Islamic Development Bank while the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) will contribute $100,000 and the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development $50,000. Fakhoury stressed the need to support the plan to enable Jordan to deal with the issue of hosting Syrian refugees.

Royal Jordanian closes an oversubscribed US$ 275 million loan facility

The Royal Jordanian Airlines announced the successful closure of its US$ 275,000,000 dual conventional and Islamic secured syndicated facility. The syndicate comprised of seven banks based in Jordan, UAE and Qatar; they are Mashreq, Arab Bank plc, Al Khalij Commercial Bank (Al Khaliji) Q.S.C, Dubai Islamic Bank, and The Commercial Bank/Qatar acting as Mandated Lead Arrangers, Arab Jordan Investment Bank as Lead Arranger and Bank al-Etihad as Arranger. Mashreq Bank acted as the sole book-runner for the loan. The facility carries a tenor of 5 years and the proceeds of the facility will be primarily utilized to consolidate and refinance RJ's existing debt and further support the company's on-going strategic growth and turnaround plans on the short- and medium-run.

IIRA reaffirms Shari’ah quality rating of Jordan Islamic Bank

Islamic International Rating Agency (IIRA) has reaffirmed its Shari’ah Quality Rating of AA (SQR) assigned to Jordan Islamic Bank (JIB). Rating derives strength from JIB’s evident commitment to Shari’ah compliance, which stems at the helm of the institution and is cultivated across management cadres. It is in majority owned by Albaraka Banking Group (ABG). The rating is also supported by Jordan’s effective regulatory Shari’ah governance standards, which with recent revisions are closely aligned with best practice. The bank has been proactive in adopting the revisions in central bank guidelines, and their full implementation is targeted to be achieved within the ongoing year.

Zain, Islamic International Arab Bank to support startups

Zain Jordan has signed a MoU with the Islamic International Arab Bank on supporting entrepreneurs and startups. Under the agreement, the Islamic International Arab Bank will provide support for Zain Jordan's Innovation Campus members in various areas of collaboration, in addition to exploring development opportunities in creativity and entrepreneurship. Zain Jordan CEO Ahmad Hanandeh said that Zain supports startups in facing challenges and equips them with the latest technological tools.

Jordan to issue $211M sukuk to finance National Electric Power Company

Jordan’s Ministry of Finance has prepared a plan of estimated issuance of government bonds for the year 2016 which puts net domestic borrowing for the current year at some JOD 896 million. Separately, the MoF has also revealed plans to issue Sukuk worth JOD 150 million to provide finance for the National Electric Power Company. Secretary-General of the Finance Ministry, Ezeddin Kanakriyeh, said the Sukuk would be tendered in two equal separate issuances. This indicative plan will be updated periodically in accordance with the requirements and developments in the light of the cash flow management plan prepared by the Ministry, which takes into consideration the value of the expected cash revenues and expenses through the implementation of the 2016 budget.

CI: Jordan Islamic Bank’s ratings affirmed on ‘Stable’ outlook

Capital Intelligence (CI) has affirmed Jordan Islamic Bank’s (JIB) Long- and Short-Term Foreign Currency Ratings (FCRs) at ‘BB-’ and ‘B’, respectively. JIB’s FCRs are constrained by Jordan's sovereign ratings (‘BB-’/’B’/ ‘Stable’), reflecting JIB’s base of operations in Jordan and its exposure to the Jordanian sovereign in the form of balances at the Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ). The Support Level of ‘3’ is affirmed, on the basis of the high likelihood of support from the CBJ in case of need, and from the parent Al-Baraka Banking Group in Bahrain. The Outlook for JIB’s FCRs remains ‘Stable’, in line with the Outlook for Jordan’s Sovereign FCRs. The Bank’s Financial Strength Rating (FSR) is maintained at ‘BBB-’, on a ‘Stable’ Outlook.

UPDATE 1-MOVES-Standard Chartered appoints CEO for Islamic banking business

Standard Chartered has appointed Rehan Shaikh as chief executive of its global Islamic banking business, it said in a statement on Wednesday.
Shaikh moves to Standard Chartered Saadiq from Dubai Islamic Bank, where he was senior vice president and business head, private sector and transaction banking. He previously worked for StanChart in Pakistan from 1998 to 2007, the statement said.
He takes over from Sohail Akbar, who was interim chief executive of the Islamic banking operation after the departure of Afaq Khan earlier this year.
StanChart remains committed to the business despite a period of hiatus across other parts of the bank as global chief executive Bill Winters moves to restore profitability. It announced plans this month to reduce costs by $2.9 billion by 2018 and cut 15,000 jobs.
"Islamic finance is an integral part of the business at Standard Chartered and we continue to see growing demand from clients in many of our markets," said Sunil Kaushal, the bank's regional chief executive for Africa and the Middle East.

As Syria refugee aid falters, new approach considered: Massive investment in Mideast hosts

Bold new ideas for helping Syrian refugees and their overburdened Middle Eastern host countries are gaining traction among international donors, shocked into action by this year's migration of hundreds of thousands of desperate Syrians to Europe.
Rather than struggling to gather humanitarian aid for refugees, the plans center around investing billions of dollars, much of it to be raised on financial markets. The money would go for development in countries such as Jordan and Lebanon to improve lives for both their own populations and refugees.
More controversial is a demand by some in the aid community that, in return for such a "Mideast Marshall Plan," Jordan and Lebanon must allow Syrian refugees to work, integrating them more into society. The host countries, however, point to high domestic unemployment in arguing they cannot put large numbers of refugees to work legally.
"We need to be ambitious," the regional chief of the World Bank, Ferid Belhaj, told The Associated Press. "Development is the key."

Islamic Bank May Support Green Sukuk for Renewables Projects

The Islamic Development Bank indicated that it may issue green sukuk bonds compliant with religious law and increase lending for climate-related projects with an announcement at the United Nations global warming conference in Paris at the end of the year.
“Estimates for the 2030 agenda indicate that we need to move from billions to trillions of dollars of support annually for sustainable development,” Savas Alpay, chief economist of the IDB, said in a phone interview. “Traditional sources of development finance will not be enough. We must also look at non-traditional sources. We will be using Islamic finance to bring new resources to the table.”
Khazanah Nasional Bhd, Malaysia’s state-owned sovereign wealth fund, issued green sukuk last November after introducing guidelines for socially responsible debt in August 2014. It was the second entity after the London-based International Financial Facility for Immunization announce plans to sell ethical-based sukuk.
Green Sukuk

How a Middle Eastern City Could Reuse Its Abandoned Buildings

The early aughts were a dusty time in Amman, Jordan. Fueled both by optimistic real estate developers hoping to replicate the economic success of Dubai, and by an influx of Iraqi refugees across all levels of the economic spectrum, property prices and construction spiked. After 2008's financial crisis, though, much of that construction halted. Last year, Studio-X's Amman lab—the Jordanian outpost of Columbia University's worldwide network of architecture and urban planning research labs—set out to catalogue these abandoned buildings. Their developers are still waiting for enough money to complete them.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Jordan’s Queen Noor, King Hussein Foundation Launch Sharia-Compliant Microfinance Institution Ethmar

Queen Noor of Jordan, the founder and chairperson of the King Hussein Foundation (KHF), recently announced the launch of Ethmar, a microfinance institution (MFI) that is compliant with Shariah. Queen Noor expressed the vision of Ethmar becoming an innovative model for economic empowerment similar to the other pioneering programs launched by the King Hussein Foundation. As of 2015, the foundation operates programs including the Jubilee Institute; the Information and Research Center; the National Center for Culture and Performing Arts and the National Music Conservatory.

IIRA reaffirms ratings of Jordan Islamic Bank for 2015

Ratings assigned to Jordan Islamic Bank derive strength from the institution’s strong franchise as the largest retail Islamic bank operating in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The bank’s financial risk profile is also healthy, with strong and improving asset quality indicators, sufficient profitability position, and sizable liquid reserves. Leverage indicators of the institution are at a comfortable level. Jordan’s macroeconomic environment, however, remains challenging against the backdrop of regional instability. The bank has been proactive in incorporating changes in the code of corporate governance for Islamic banks issued by the Central Bank of Jordan.

Jordan-based Al Baraka bank returns ‘‘suspicious’’ Libyan transfer ‘‘funding terrorism’’

The Tripoli-based Libyan Audit Bureau has confirmed that Jordan based Al Baraka bank has returned a transfer from Libya for being ‘‘suspicious’’ and for ‘‘funding terrorism’’. The transfer originating from the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) were intended to cover Libyan student scholarships in Jordan. The Audit Bureau revealed that it had, in cooperation with the Ministry of Higher Education and the CBL, opened an independent bank account for the Cultural Attaché at its Amman embassy specifically for scholarship funds. However, the Audit Bureau admitted that the Libyan embassy broke procedures and regulations and an agreement by using the funds on other spending rather than for student scholarships.

Jordan's first Islamic microfinance institution officially launched

HM Queen Noor Al Hussein officially launched Ethmar, Jordan’s first Shari’ah-compliant microfinance institution on 8 August. Ethmar is an affiliate of the King Hussein Foundation, which promotes social equity and economic empowerment in Jordan. Jordan News Agency Petra reported Ethmar Chairman Faris Sharaf as saying three Shari’ah-compliant products would be launched in collaboration with public and private organizations in the country.

Jordan Expected to Issue Debut Sukuk

Jordan said last month it was going to issue its first ever sovereign sukuk soon. The long anticipated issuance is expected to rake in some JD400 million to finance real estate projects. The sovereign issuance is expected to be a dinar-dominated offering. Though Jordan passed the Islamic Finance Sukuk Law in 2012, allowing both public and private entities to issue sukuk, it was only in April that the government vetted the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector to support the country’s maiden security bonds issuance. Only one corporate sukuk had been issued in the Kingdom before: a seven-year JD85 million security launched by Al Rahji Cement in 2011.

Jordan plans first foray into Islamic bonds

Jordan will soon launch its first sovereign issue of Islamic bonds to finance real estate projects, Finance Minister Umayya Toukan said. Toukan did not give details on the size of the planned Islamic Sharia-compliant issuance, but informed sources indicated that the sovereign sukuk could raise around JD400 million. The source said the government may enter the Islamic financial market in the coming few weeks, adding that Islamic banks in Jordan enjoy liquidity in excess of JD1.4 billion. In April of this year, the government chose the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector to support the country's debut for the planned domestic sukuk offering. The sukuk issuance will be a dinar-dominated offering.

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