Khazanah Nasional to launch first social-impact sukuk

Khazanah Nasional is set to issue Malaysia's first social-impact sukuk. Local agency Ram Ratings said the RM1 billion (US$282 million) Sukuk Ihsan programme, to which it assigned a AAA rating last week, was the first social-impact bond to be rated globally. Proceeds will go towards educational projects. Investors and market observers are eagerly expecting the first issuance off the programme as early as next month, although marketing preparations are still being finalised. Socially responsible investment is catching on slowly in Asia, but issuers in South Korea, India and Taiwan have sold so-called Green bonds and interest from investors is growing.