Fitch Ratings

Fitch upgrades Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) rating to stable and affirmed 'A' rating

Fitch Ratings has upgraded Qatar Islamic Bank’s (QIB) outlook to 'stable'. The move reflects Fitch's view that Qatar has successfully managed the fallout from last year's rupture of trade, financial and diplomatic relations. Public sector liquidity injections have stabilised the banking sector and stemmed the outflow of non-domestic funding. The government has demonstrated a strong commitment to its banks and key public sector companies. Earlier this year, Fitch also affirmed QIB’s Long Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'A'. These ratings of QIB reflect its well-established franchise in Qatar, with a market share of about 11% of total banking system assets at end-2017.

#Sukuk issuance growth to remain 'unspectacular' on structural constraints, Fitch says

According to Fitch Ratings, the moderate growth in sukuk issuances in the first quarter underpins continued investor interest, but it also points out to structural constraints. The total volume of sukuk rated by Fitch for the three-month period through to March end, stood at $80 billion (Dh294bn), a 6% rise from the figures recorded at the end of 2017. New sukuk issuance with a maturity of more than 18 months from the Arabian Gulf states, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey and Pakistan came in at $14.9bn for the first quarter of 2018, a modest 1% year-on-year rise. The issuances during the first quarter of 2018 were largely driven by the GCC region, whose funding needs are likely to fall if oil prices stay high. Issuer funding needs and investor appetite for the remainder of the year will be determined by factors including oil prices and tighter global financing conditions.

Fitch issues rating for KFH #Sukuk

Fitch Ratings has assigned Kuwait Finance House’s sukuk programme an expected A+ and F1 rating. KFH Sukuk, the issuer and trustee, is a special purpose vehicle (SPV), incorporated in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), solely to issue certificates (sukuk) under the programme. The trustee has been incorporated solely for the purpose of participating in the transactions contemplated by the transaction documents.

QIIB high ratings by Moody’s, Fitch reflect #Qatar’s economic strength, says Al-Shaibei

QIIB announced that Moody’s and Fitch Ratings have affirmed its ratings at 'A2' and 'A' respectively. Moody’s said that its rating is based on several considerations, one of which is that the bank maintains high levels of liquidity and a strong capital base. Fitch explained that immediate risks from the diplomatic crisis to the bank’s overall standalone credit profile has reduced. The bank’s funding profile has generally stabilised from the back of outflows of nondomestic funding and the Qatari authorities have continued to provide funding support. QIIB's CEO Dr Abdulbasit Ahmad al-Shaibei said this strong rating was a confirmation of the strength of the Qatari economy and its ability to overcome various types of risks. He added that the ratings of Moody’s and Fitch proved that QIIB had a solid financial position, confirmed by its financial results, as in the third quarter of 2017, when the bank achieved a growth of 5.1%.

Mazoon #Sukuk receives Fitch rating

Fitch Ratings has assigned Mazoon Electricity Company's Sukuk an expected rating of 'BBB'. The expected rating is in line with Mazoon Electricity’s Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of 'BBB', which has a negative outlook. Mazoon Assets Company’s is the issuer of the certificates and trustee and is a closed joint stock company in accordance with the laws of the Sultanate. The trustee has been incorporated solely for the purpose of participating in the transactions contemplated by the transaction documents. Earlier, Moody’s Investors Service assigned a Baa2 rating to Mazoon’s Sukuk certificates. The outlook on all ratings is negative.

Fitch: Tougher operating environment challenges #Saudi Islamic banks

According to Fitch Ratings, a tougher operating environment is continuing to challenge Saudi Islamic banks. Sustained low oil prices have taken their toll on economic growth and government spending and this affects certain sectors. Asset-quality metrics are likely to deteriorate from their current strong position due to slower Islamic financing growth. Islamic banks accounted for about 43% of the sector at end-1H16, up from 36.6% in 1H15. There are 12 licensed commercial banks in Saudi Arabia. Four are fully sharia-compliant, with the rest providing a mix of sharia-compliant and conventional banking products. The performance and credit matrices of Islamic and conventional banks are similar in many ways due to the largely Islamic finance nature of the lending market in Saudi Arabia.

#Qatar# Islamic #Bank #offers #certificates of deposit after Q2 outflow – Nasdaq

The Qatar Islamic Bank aims to boost its deposit base by offering certificates of deposit in Qatari riyals and US$, after it was hit by an outflow of money due to sanctions against Qatar by its neighbouring Gulf countries. The bank said this weekend, that it was offering 1 and 2 year CDs in its 2nd series of such papers. Its first series was launched End of 2015. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar beginning of June this year, accusing the country of supporting terrorism. This prompted some firms and individuals from those states to pull money out of the Qatari banks. As a result, deposits in the Qatari banks shrank 1.8 % from the previous month in June. Qatar Islamic Bank was particularly hard hit, with its customer deposits falling to US$26.6 billion at end of June, according to its financial statements.

Fitch: Deposits in #Morocco Islamic Banks to Grow up to 10 %

According to Fitch Ratings, Islamic banking products in Morocco could expand their deposit bases by 5 to 10%. Fitch notes that the ability to grow the deposit base is positive for Morocco’s economic development because deposits represent about 70% of banking sector funding. The experts also noted that banking penetration is already high in Morocco, with 70% of adults holding a bank account. Therefore, participation banking is unlikely to take a significant market share from the well-established conventional banks. Growth rates in the Moroccan banking sector have been volatile in recent years, reflecting unsteady economic trends. Deposit growth has outstripped loan growth, but credit demand is set to accelerate. The ability to offer participation banking services could broaden the pool of potential depositors in the country, mitigating the competitive pressure.

Fitch: Slower #UAE Islamic Bank growth will weaken asset quality

According to Fitch Ratings, a slowdown in Islamic financing growth in the UAE will reveal a deterioration in banks' asset quality as portfolios season more quickly. This will start to become evident as banks report their 2016 results. Financing growth slowed in 2016 and a continuing slowdown in 2017 is expected. Demand for Islamic financing in the UAE has grown rapidly with increasing customer awareness and wider adoption of Shari'ah products, especially among retail customers. Growth of Islamic bank financing in 2016 was expected to have been significantly lower than in 2015, although still higher than that of conventional bank lending. Newer Islamic banks with smaller franchises are likely to be affected first by the slowdown. Those that have been established for longer are likely to be affected later, and to a lesser degree, given their stronger franchises.

#GCC #VAT a test for Islamic Finance- Fitch

According to Fitch Ratings, the plan to introduce Value Added Tax (VAT) in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states could be a key test for the region's Islamic finance industry. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain approved the implementation of VAT in the GCC, however, local implementation laws must still be agreed in each country. This paves the way for the introduction of an expected 5% VAT rate as early as the beginning of 2018. Without tax neutrality or equality rules, the introduction of VAT would put Islamic finance transactions at a disadvantage to conventional transactions. A VAT charge adds to the instalment payments in a murabaha, while a conventional transaction would not have VAT for the sale of the asset added to the interest payments. Numerous countries with VAT have provided for some form of tax neutrality or equality for Islamic finance transactions, including Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey and Pakistan.

Fitch: #Malaysia's #takaful continues to enjoy higher growth than conventional peers

According to Fitch Ratings, Malaysia's takaful sector continues to enjoy higher growth than the conventional sector. This growth is driven by a low base, stable domestic consumption and increasing consumer awareness. The rating agency said that regulatory pressure would drive sector consolidation in the short term. As takaful operators realign their strategic focus and gradually retain more risks, Fitch expects some bottom-line volatility in the short term. For the first half of 2016 (1H2016), family takaful grew by 9.8%, while general takaful grew by 5.8%. This compared to 8.2% growth in conventional life and 2.6% in general insurance.

#Sukuk issuance in 2017 to remain robust-Fitch

Fitch Ratings said it expects sukuk issuance in 2017 to continue at the same pace like last year. Sukuk issuance in core markets rose by 26% in 2016 and maintained its share of capital markets funding despite large conventional bond issues by Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Qatar. New sukuk issuance with a maturity over 18 months from the core markets of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey and Pakistan rose to $40 billion in 2016 from about $32 billion a year earlier. In 2016 10 key markets issued sovereign sukuk and other sovereigns in the GCC region have indicated they could issue sukuk, or a mix, in the future. Sovereigns and supranationals are likely to remain the dominant issuers, but bank issuance may also rise in some markets, driven by issuance to meet regulatory capital requirements.

#Malaysia’s Islamic financing keeps growth momentum despite moderating economy — Fitch

According to Fitch Ratings, Malaysia’s Islamic financing has maintained its double-digit growth in spite of the country’s moderating economy, with a 12.1% annual growth in the first half of 2016 (1H16). Although the growth was lower compared to last year, it still pushed Islamic loan share to 27.9% in the Malaysian banking system loan sector, versus 27% a year ago, as the sector’s expansion outperformed that of conventional banks over the past five years. Sukuk issuance also exceeded conventional bonds, with total market capitalisation rising to 62.2% by end-June 2016. Investment accounts expanded to RM36.2 billion by June this year from RM4.3 billion in July 2015, while Islamic deposits remained flat. Malaysia still leads the global Islamic finance industry in terms of regularisation, standardisation and sukuk issuance, accounting for over half of the issuances worldwide in 1H16.

Fitch Rates Kuveyt Turk's #Sukuk 'BBB(EXP)'

Fitch Ratings has assigned Kuveyt Turk's proposed US dollar-denominated sukuk certificates an expected 'BBB(EXP)' rating. The expected rating is in line with Kuveyt Turk's Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of 'BBB', which has a Negative Outlook. The issuer is KT Kira Sertifikalari Varlik Kiralama (KKSVK), which is wholly owned by Kuveyt Turk. The documentation includes a negative pledge provision that is binding on Kuveyt Turk, as well as financial reporting obligations, covenants, Kuveyt Turk event (including cross default) and change of control clause. Certain aspects of the transaction will be governed by English law while others will be governed by Turkish law.

Fitch affirms GFH rating with revised outlook to positive

Fitch Ratings has affirmed GFH Financial Group’s (GFH) Short-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at "B" and revised its outlook upward from stable to Positive with a Long-term IDR at "B-". The positive outlook reflects the steps GFH’s management have taken to strengthen its balance sheet by paying down debt, reshaping the business model with focus on income-generating investments, and consequent improvement of profitability. GFH said it believes that this upward revision of the outlook is the result of its new strategy and in developing new recurring steams of income through income yielding investments.

Fitch Rates #Bahrain's Upcoming USD #Sukuk and Bonds 'BB+(EXP)'

Fitch Ratings has assigned Bahrain's proposed US dollar-denominated sovereign global sukuk trust certificates, to be issued by CBB International Sukuk Company 5 (CBB5), an expected 'BB+(EXP)' rating. Fitch has also assigned Bahrain's proposed US dollar-denominated bonds an expected 'BB+(EXP)' rating. The expected ratings are in line with Bahrain's Long-Term Foreign Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR), which was downgraded to 'BB+' with a Stable Outlook in June 2016. Certain aspects of the sukuk transaction will be governed by English law while others will be governed by laws of Bahrain. Fitch's rating on the certificates reflects the agency's belief that the Bahraini government would stand behind its obligations.

#Saudi banks’ liquidity comfortable in spite of outflows, says Fitch

According to a recent Fitch Ratings report, major Saudi banks continue to report liquidity coverage ratios (LCRs) above 100% despite a 30% outflow of government-related deposits. The banks’ ability to withstand such a shock demonstrates that their liquidity positions are resilient. The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) released $5.3 billion (20 billion Saudi riyals) of government-related deposits into the banking sector yesterday. According to Fitch Ratings, Saudi banks will continue to adopt careful liquidity management strategies in order to protect their LCRs from falling below current levels.

Fitch Affirms JANY #Sukuk Company Limited's Senior Debt at 'A'

Fitch Ratings has affirmed the rating of The Goldman Sachs Group's JANY Sukuk Company guaranteed trust certificate issuance programme at 'A'. The equalization of the certificate programme's rating is due to the Sukuk's structure. Upon a trust dissolution event, J. Aron will be obliged under the Murabaha Agreement to acquire, or arrange for a third-party purchaser to acquire JANY's beneficial interest in the commodities in the Wakala portfolio. Goldman will unconditionally and irrevocably guarantee the payment obligations of J. Aron under the Murabaha contract. The Sukuk program does not benefit from a cross-default provision within the guarantee documents.

Fitch: Index move boosts #sukuk; frameworks & standards still key

According to Fitch Ratings the inclusion of sukuk in major bond indexes would be a significant boost for the product, but initiatives to harmonise standards and improve transparency remain key to its long-term development. Reuters reported that JP Morgan would include eight sovereign and corporate sukuk in various bond indexes from 31 October. This may encourage issuers to supply index-eligible sukuk and support secondary market liquidity. However, Fitch Ratings believes the sukuk market's growth rate will be determined by two factors. Firstly, product-specific initiatives around regulation of sukuk issuance, which have been noteable in some jurisdictions, but have not always been harmonised across jurisdictions. Secondly, the broader attempts to deepen the investor base and improve transparency in the relevant capital markets. Sukuk issuance from key markets in 1H16 rose 11% from a year earlier to USD21.74bn, representing 30% of total issuance. Overall, Fitch expects this year's sukuk issuance to at least match 2015 issuance of around USD32bn.

Fitch Updates Criteria for Rating #Sukuk

Fitch Ratings has updated its criteria for rating Sukuk, which replace the existing criteria published on 18 August 2015. Fitch's analytical assumption is that the structure of the sukuk and the underlying transaction provides for full recourse to the originator and the sukuk rating is driven solely by the originator's rating. It remains uncertain whether certificate holders will be able to enforce their contractual rights in local courts. Ratings assigned to sukuk do not imply any confirmation that the sukuk are sharia-compliant.

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