Morocco hopes for Islamic finance rules by end-2014

Draft Islamic banking and insurance regulations have been prepared in Morocco and could be passed by parliament before the end of next year. Morocco has been seeking to develop Islamic finance for about two years, partly as a way to attract Gulf money and fund the huge budget deficit. The government originally planned to issue its first sovereign Islamic bond this year but that plan appears to have been delayed. The Islamic finance laws could clear the way for Morocco to see its first conventional bank with an Islamic window, as well as sukuk issuance by private firms. Two or three private firms could tap the market fairly quickly after the laws are passed.