Noor Islamic Bank looks East

Looking for expansion opportunities, Noor Islamic Bank focuses on South East Asia as a strong growth market. While the development of global lending markets remains uncertain, Asian countries have growing needs in the areas of infrastructure and development combined with solid economic growth. The goal of Noor Islamic Bank is to cooperate with already establishedd financial institutions in countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. This way the gap in funding, which was caused by the shrinkage of the global liquidity pool, shall be bridged.

GCC sees surge in Islamic lending

The GCC countries expect a record year for sukuk issuances in 2012. Already the first half of the year was marked by explosively growing sukuk issuances that reached to US $12.8 billion compared to US$1.9 billion issuead in the same period last year. The sukuk market shall continue growing at the current pace, due to a strong appetite of investors that are demanding Shariah-compliant products.

Islamic trade finance: lost in transaction

The Islamic trade industry neglects trade finance and leaves it to the domination of conventional banks. Direct lending is preferred over trade business. The youth of Islamic banks is pointed out as the mail reason for this kind of banking policy. However, due to a shift in the global trends pattern, an increase of the scope for Islamic banks to expand in trade finance is expected.

BoA ML Report on GUlf Countries: GCC 2020: Time to shift gears

Bank of Amercia/Merrill Lynch released a report about GCC 2020 looking at the core trends of modernising infrastructure, growth and decoupling from oil and that the region should look towards higher value added sectors. "First, and most immediately, we believe heavy investment in petrochemicals will now begin to see improving returns due to their global competitive advantage. Second, we believe a shift will require an ongoing need to invest in regional infrastructure. Third, we see a social and economic need for a growing middle class, supporting the growth of consumer sectors. Our message: own Saudi petchems, own GCC builders and building materials, own Saudi and UAE consumer plays, own Saudi banks."

Good demand prompts DIB to launch sukuk

It seems that Dubai Islamic Bank has issued a $500 million (Dh1.8 billion), five-year sukuk sale after gaining good request.
Helping arrange the Regulation S transaction, after DIB met fixed-income investors in Asia, Middle East and Europe over the past few days, are: Deutsche Bank, DIB, Emirates NBD, HSBC and National Bank of Abu Dhabi.
Fitch Ratings assigned to DIB's $2.5 billion trust certificate issuance program a ‘A 'expected rating.

Muslims on Wall Street: Pragmatic over dogmatic

Despite the fact that they have been around for many years, they are only now being noticed because of a variety of factors.
The difference between then and now is that there are more Muslims in the financial sector and non-Muslim colleagues know more about Islam because of a combination of internet, 24-7 news, 9/11, documentaries, Dubai's accomplishments, Islamic finance and personalities like His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
After New York Times recently interviewed several American Muslims, two ‘conflicts' were elaborated: Muslims working in conventional finance may encounter ‘interest' against their faith, and challenges of abiding by Islamic ‘traditions' in a secular workplace.

DIB repays $750m sukuk from own resources

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has repaid in full a $750 million (Dh2.75 billion) five-year sukuk which matured on March 22 from its own sources, prooving the bank’s financial strength and comfortable liquidity position.
The sukuk was launched in 2007, through a special purpose vehicle, DIB Sukuk Company Limited, located in the Cayman Islands, being the first sukuk to be listed on both the Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX) and the London Stock Exchange.

Amlak debt slashed by Dh4 billion

Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, has disclosed that the government cut off Dubai-based mortgage provider Amlak Finance’s debt by Dh4 billion.
The debt was reduced through delaying debt as well as through the sale of company's land and the restoration and recovery of other land owned by the company, as well as coming up with financial solutions with a number of third-party creditors.

Mideast bond sales soar to record as turmoil fades

Middle East bond sales are departing to a record start this year after political unrest that swept through some nations in 2011 decreased and as concern wanished that Europe’s debt crisis would disturb the request for regional debt.
Regional governments and companies raised $10.1bn in bonds in until now in 2012. A $4bn sukuk sale in Saudi Arabia, the biggest Arab economy, conducted a 55% rise in sales from the year-ago period.
Mohieddine Kronfol, Dubai-based chief investment officer for global sukuk and Middle East and North Africa fixed income at Franklin Templeton Investments, noted that they anticipate issuance to increase in the next 12 to 24 months, particularly with banks having to work harder to secure funding and extend credit to the private sector.

Emirates NBD requests withdrawal of Dubai Bank's ratings

Emirates NBD from Dubai has asked Fitch Ratings and Moody's Investors Service to withdraw their ratings on Dubai Bank PJSC.
After the accomplishment of the takeover of Dubai Bank by Emirates NBD, all capital and medium-term funding claims for Dubai Bank are controlled under the Group umbrella and accordingly credit ratings are no longer required for this entity.

Bank Sohar signs agreement for Islamic banking consultancy

Bank Sohar signed an agreement with Dar al Sharia Legal & Financial Consultancy of Dubai, to help it with all the main aspects of launching its Islamic banking window.
Since then, the bank has been working on introducing authentic, Sharia-based banking solutions to its customers. It seems that it has recognized three areas of utmost importance for ensuring that its Islamic window is a solution that respects the basic tenets of Islam, the sensibilities of Omanis and is within the guidelines of the Central Bank of Oman.

Jafza in talks over $2bn debt

It appears that Dubai's Jebel Ali Free Zone is discussing with banks how to repay its Dh7.5 billion ($2bn) Islamic bond until November, with most of the liability set to be given up by using a syndicated loan and a new sukuk. The banks that are taken into consideration are: Dubai Islamic Bank, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Standard Chartered.
Although no details have been set up, the majority of the sum will be capitulated into new facilities, with a small amount coming from internal cash reserves.

Only Noor Islamic targeted for US sanctions

It seems that Dubai’s Noor Islamic Bank is the only institution in the United Arab Emirates that has been targeted by the US for dealings with Iran. Moreover, it appears that the bank had been a primary conduit for returning foreign-currency oil receipts to Iran, until it agreed in December to end dealings with Iranian entities that have been sanctioned by the US and the European Union, including Iran’s banks Saderat and Melli.
Meanwhile, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, the emirate’s largest bank by assets, noted it is reducing banking activities with Iran because of mounting international sanctions against the country.

Dubai’s Noor Islamic Bank says it halted business with Iranian banks in December

Dubai Islamic bank with ties to the emirate’s ruling family stopped doing business with Iranian banks in December, shortly before the United States approved new sanctions targeting the country’s financial system.
The decision by Noor Islamic Bank cuts off another of Iran’s links to the international banking system. Noor appears to have acted indirectly in response to Washington’s efforts to compress the screws on Tehran.
The Iranian economy is under increasing pressure from a growing series of U.S. and European sanctions pointed at stopping its disputed nuclear program. Washington and its allies fear Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons.

Troubled developer Nakheel to start selling again on Dubai’s palm island

Dubai developer Nakheel wants to begin the selling of properties in its Palm Jumeirah project next month. These will be the first properties to be sold on the development since the property crash of 2008.
The Palm Residence project will test request for property in a market where prices have dropped more than 65% since their peak in the middle of 2008.
Most of the Palm project will be financed by off plan sales, meaning sales agreed before construction begins, a method that was common before the property slump and that has been criticised for being responsible for flipping and the price boom that led to the property crash.

Takaful Emarat set to unveil Islamic fund

Takaful Emarat will reveal the first investment fund conceived and developed in-house, which the company sees as a milestone in its fourth year of operations. All the necessary approvals have been gained, including the crucial one from the company's Sharia board.
The open-ended fund has a multi-year tenure and will be managed by Riyadh Capital.
This is a crucial year for the Islamic insurer, being a joint venture between Al Buhaira National Insurance Co and Austria's Uniqa Group.

NASDAQ Dubai and DFSA hold bond and Sukuk listing forum for bankers and lawyers

Dubai Financial Services Authority highlighted the advantages of listing conventional bonds and Sukuk on the region's international exchange, at a forum attended by leading investment banks and law firms.
After the transfer of NASDAQ Dubai's Official List of Securities to the DFSA in October 2011, the event that took place at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) gave away details of the new listing and admission framework, giving issuers the ability to list debt in a streamlined manner under an aggressive timetable, comparable to listing regimes on other international exchanges.
NASDAQ Dubai is the only exchange in the Middle East that has direct access to Euroclear, an International CSD, supplying an easy transaction process with the NASDAQ Dubai CSD for international and regional investors.

Mideast insurers face investment risk

Investment risk will still be the major rating constraint for Middle East insurers in the next 12 to 18 months. The statement came from Moody's Investor Services.
Moody's highlightes that the key driver behind this constraint on insurers' ratings is that those insurers' appetites for real estate exposure will probably remain strong despite the downturn in certain GCC property markets, and the elevated credit risk associated with real estate in the region.
Analysts anticipate insurers to keep up their relatively high exposure to real estate and equities.

Gulf Issuers Turn to Sukuk as European Funding Tightens

Difficult funding in Europe is making Middle East issuers to tap the still-liquid Islamic finance markets for funds.
Dubai-based Emirates Islamic Bank issued a $500 million, five-year Islamic bond with a yield of 4.718%, while Abu Dhabi-based First Gulf Bank sold a $500 million, five-year sukuk with a yield of 4.046%.
Moreover, Saudi Arabia's General Authority of Civil Aviation stated it plans to launch a government-guaranteed sukuk to pay for a new terminal at Jeddah airport, and Dubai-based Islamic mortgage company Tamweel announced a five-year, $300 million sukuk.
Majid Al Futtaim recently started a $1 billion Islamic bond program, while Doha Bank, Bahrain's Al Baraka Banking Group, Emirates Telecommunications Co. of the United Arab Emirates and Abu Dhabi National Energy Co., among others, could all be looking to issue Islamic debt this year.

Tamweel launches $300m 5-year sukuk

Dubai's Tamweel has launched a $300 million five-year sukuk.
The transaction is guaranteed by majority shareholder Dubai Islamic Bank and comes after a series of roadshows which took place before year-end. No pricing guidance was presented in the document.

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