Asia

Kenanga Cap Islamic partners Bay for digitised factoring solution

Kenanga Capital Islamic (KCI) has collaborated with a financing company Bay Group Holdings to enhance digitisation in the local factoring market. The collaboration will introduce a maiden local solution to the local factoring market through merging private and public sectors under a platform to tap into an underserved market, which is expected to grow fivefold from its current RM20 billion value. The partnership with Bay is expected to advance KCI’s position in the factoring market, reduce its overall operational costs as well as improve its efficiencies. Registered and regulated by the Securities Commission of Malaysia in 2016, Bay provides innovative digital solutions through its supply chain management platform and Bay P2P financing platform.

#Malaysia launches #Sukuk Prihatin, maiden digital Islamic bond

The Malaysian government has launched the RM500 million Sukuk Prihatin which aims to raise funds from the public and corporates who wish to help contribute towards the Covid-19 Fund. Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the fund would be used to modernise telecommunications network in the rural area to help students get access to education through digital channels. It is also to provide further assistance to the micro, small and medium enterprises, as well as the healthcare sector's research on infectious diseases. The minimum subscription for the first investment is RM500 with an interest of 2% per annum for a tenure of two years. After the tenure ends, subscribers or investors can opt to fully donate the interest to Covid-19 Fund and will be given a tax relief depending on the size of the donation.

APIB aims to cooperate with domestic financial institutions to promote Islamic finance industry

Asia Pacific Investment Bank (APIB) aims to cooperate with domestic financial institutions to promote the internationalisation of the Islamic finance industry. APIB CEO Chris Wang is confident that APIB could be the bridge that connects Malaysia and China. In light of the US-China trade war and the Covid-19 pandemic, the government is facing a critical challenge in leveraging the country’s position. Wang said APIB could help the government achieve the goal by making the country’s Islamic finance industry more dynamic. APIB is an offshore Islamic investment bank, established in January 2015 with the approval of the Labuan Financial Services Authority, headquartered in Labuan and its main operating office based in Kuala Lumpur, with representative offices in Shanghai and Nanjing, China.

#Indonesia’s #sukuk issuance to rise to $27b to finance COVID-19 battle: Moody’s

Credit rating agency Moody’s Investors Service expects Indonesia’s sukuk issuance to increase to US$27 billion this year from $16 billion last year. Lead analyst Thaddeus Best said on Tuesday that he expected Indonesia’s sukuk issuance to increase by about 68.75% as the government unveiled a Rp 695.2 trillion (US$47.3 billion) stimulus package to fight the pandemic. To help fund the package, the government is planning to raise Rp 900.4 trillion in the second half of this year to cover for a widening budget deficit of 6.34% of gross domestic product (GDP) this year. The option-adjusted spread of Indonesia’s US dollar-denominated government sukuk had fallen to almost 150 basis points (bps) as of July compared to its highest spread of 400 bps in March.

Corporate #sukuk to grow slow in 2020

According to Malaysian Rating Corp (MARC) chief ratings officer Rajan Paramesran, domestic corporate sukuk are in a better position than during the global financial crisis or the Asian financial crisis. Going into the current crisis, corporate sukuk had relatively stable cashflow metrics. He added that government-supported transport projects, state-backed water infrastructure projects and solar power plant projects have recently been and will be key sources for sukuk issuances. Rajan said the catalyst for the growth in the Islamic debt market continues to be government incentive on susuk issuances such as tax reduction. Based on MARC’s data, corporate sukuk issuance by the end of July 2020 amounted to RM34.3 billion, which is the lowest to date over the last 10 years and dampened by the Covid-19 pandemic. In a separate report, Moody’s said Malaysian Islamic banks are expected to remain resilient amid the Covid-19 outbreak, underpinned by heavy concentration on retail financing.

VP seeks greater digital literacy among Islamic economic actors

Vice President Ma'ruf Amin has appealed to Islamic economic and financial actors to hone their digital literacy skills to survive amid the changes arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. He gave a speach at the virtual opening of the 2020 Sharia Economic Festival and Indonesia Sharia Economic Festival (ISEF) in Jakarta. Amin affirmed that digitalization was conducted in the wake of the changes in the current life order, including shopping for basic necessities online or through social media with the use of the internet. Amin noted that in terms of products, health and hygiene aspects were of absolute importance and offered enormous opportunities for the halal product industry. Not only for sharia economic players, but this year's ISEF was also held virtually to adjust to the current conditions to thwart the transmission of COVID-19.

Mideast Islamic banks, investors urged to expand operations to #Philippine market

Islamic banks and investors from the Middle East have been urged to expand their operations into the Philippines which is currently seeing a growing halal industry. Speaking at the webinar ‘Islamic Finance as Vehicle to Economic Recovery’, Philippine Central Bank Managing Director Atty Arifa Ala highlighted the potential of the Islamic finance industry in her country. She also invited foreign Islamic banks and investors, especially from the Middle East to expand their operations in the Philippines. Ala highlighted the new law Republic Act No.11439 or ‘An Act Providing for the Regulation and Organization of Islamic Banks’. She reiterated that the new law was created as an expanded Islamic banking system that involves tax neutrality, stronger risk management, ethical financial stability, further establishment of Islamic banks and other Islamic financial activities.

Islamic fintech industry sets strategic priorities to drive financial inclusion

The stakeholders of the Islamic fintech space have determined nine strategic priority areas that will further reinforce and enhance financial inclusion in Malaysia. These include the setting-up of a national Islamic fintech taskforce; the renewed focus of enhancing digital and Islamic financial literacy, especially within B40 segment; developing smart partnerships among ecosystem players; and ensuring there was greater readiness among Islamic institutions to embrace digitalisation. The priority areas were drafted during the Islamic Fintech Dialogue 2020: Driving Financial Inclusion through Islamic Fintech held virtually in May. Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) CEO Surina Shukri said the end-goal was to empower the B40 group and the micro, small and medium enterprises.

CIMB hunts for marcomms and CSR lead for group Islamic banking

CIMB Bank is looking for a director, Islamic marketing, communications and CSR, group Islamic banking (GIB). The appointed individual will develop and enhance the CIMB Islamic brand platform in line with business aspirations. The individual will also offer strategic marketing and communications support to GIB consumer banking, commercial banking, transaction banking, wholesale banking and asset management. The individual is expected to have at least 10 years of experience of relevant banking background in established banks or financial institutions, in-depth knowledge of Islamic marketing, communications and corporate responsibility, and working knowledge of Shariah and governance.

The Asset webinar: ESG, Islamic finance help shield economies during pandemic

In Malaysia Islamic finance has demonstrated its resiliency in this difficult time with continuing issuances of green and sustainable sukuk, a trend that will continue over the short-to-medium term. To this end, Malaysia’s Employees Provident Fund (EPF) is enhancing its focus on integrating different ESG initiatives into its investment strategy. EPF conducts negative screening and excludes those stocks that it considers unethical. It engages very closely with the investee companies, regulators and asset managers, and has a rating tool to assess the quality of ESG adoption. Banks in Malaysia are also pushing various ESG initiatives. This comes as Bank Negara Malaysia, is coming up with a taxonomy that defines a green loan and ensures that banks indicate whether certain loans are green and, if so, how green they are.

Not enough Shari’ah experts, lack of tax neutrality hinder Islamic banking in PH

One of the challenges of developing Islamic banking in the Philippines is that there are not enough Shari’ah scholars or Islamic finance experts. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) also noted the lack of tax neutrality as a challenge. In order to have a clear information campaign, the BSP issued the latest FAQs or "Frequently Asked Questions". The BSP also issued "Simplified and concise discussions on lslamic banking fundamentals" that cover the following major points: core features of the lslamic banking law; accessibility of lslamic banking to both Muslims and non-Muslims; key distinctions between conventional and lslamic banking; and requirements for establishing lslamic banks or lslamic banking units (IBUs) in the Philippines.

#Indonesia is finally waking up to Islamic finance

Despite its potential in sheer numbers of underbanked Muslims, Indonesia has been a slow starter in Islamic finance and is about a decade behind Malaysia. Only in the last few years, there have been some visible steps to support Islamic finance and lift its market share in terms of asset volume beyond the current 6%. The government of Indonesia on June 17 issued its latest Islamic bond, a $2.5bn global sukuk, amid strong interest from investors especially from other Asian countries and the Middle East. The sukuk was issued in three tranches, one of which was a five-year green sukuk worth $750mn. Thomson Reuters sees high future potential for foreign direct investment in Indonesia’s Islamic banking industry, for both the retail and the corporate sector.

#Indonesia issues $2.5 bln global #sukuk including $750 mln green tranche

The government of Indonesia issued $2.5 billion in wakalah global sukuk in three tranches. The 5-year paper of $750 million was sold as a green sukuk, while the other two tranches consisted of a 10-year tenor of $1 billion, and a 30-year maturity of $750 million. The sale was welcomed by investors with an order book that reached $16.66 billion, nearly 6.7 times the target amount. This global sukuk will be listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange and NASDAQ Dubai and the settlement will be carried out on June 23, 2020, with yields of 2.30% for the 5-year tenor, 2.80% for the 10-year tenor and 3.80% for the 30-year tenor.

Potential of Islamic capital market remains promising at home and abroad – Bursa chairman

According to Bursa Malaysia chairman Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar, the potential of the Islamic capital market remains promising both in Malaysia and abroad. During his keynote address at the Shariah Investing Virtual Conference 2020 Abdul Wahid said that in Malaysia alone, the industry of Islamic funds had demonstrated impressive growth. As of March, syariah funds stood at RM170 billion, representing 23% of total industry assets under management (AUM). Syariah unit trust funds' net asset value (NAV) stood at RM99 billion. Abdul Wahid added that there are opportunities for further product innovation and development to provide investors with more syariah-based products.

#Malaysia’s Islamic finance sector to hit RM3t this year, says Bursa chairman

Malaysia’s Islamic finance sector is expected to sustain double-digit growth to reach almost RM3 trillion in 2020 under the second Capital Market Masterplan. The chairman of Bursa Malaysia, Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar, said the country’s Islamic funds industry has demonstrated impressive growth. The country is the third-largest market for global Islamic finance products and the world’s largest Sukuk issuer. At Bursa Malaysia 79% of the listed companies are Shariah-compliant and Shariah market capitalisation makes up 70% of the total market capitalisation of RM1.6 trillion. Over the last ten years Shariah indices consistently outperformed its conventional counterparts. Thus, Shariah-compliant investments are an attractive source of value for investors.

International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation Signs US$15 million Murabaha Financing Facility to support SMEs in Bangladesh

The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) has approved a US$15 million Murabaha Financing Facility in favour of City Bank Limited in Bangladesh to support the Bank’s private sector businesses. The financing comes at a critical time as SMEs in Bangladesh and other OIC member countries face the social and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The financing is part of the COVID-19 Response Package through the provision of medical supplies, staple foods and fertilizer for agricultural production to OIC countries including Bangladesh, Egypt, Kyrgyzstan, the Maldives and Senegal.

#Indonesia raises $681.74mln from Islamic bonds auction, above target

Indonesia raised 9.5 trillion rupiah ($681.74 million) from sukuk, more than the indicative target of 7 trillion rupiah. The weighted average yields for the sukuk sold on Tuesday were lower than comparable notes sold at the previous auction on May 18. Incoming bids reached 28.64 trillion rupiah, compared to 18.85 trillion rupiah in the previous auction.

‘Hibah’ best tool to resolve Muslim inheritance issues: Experts

When Muslims fail to draw up a will outlining the proportion of distribution of their assets to their heirs, families resort to faraid, the Islamic law of inheritance, which can lead to disputes. According to sociologist Prof Datuk Dr Mohammad Shatar Sabran, many Malays are still not aware of the importance of naming the heirs to their estate beforehand. The concept of hibah would be an alternative and more effective way. It refers to the transfer of legal and beneficial ownership of assets from the donor to the beneficiary on a voluntary basis, with the proportion and distribution to heirs and non-heirs being determined by the donor. Money left in accounts without the hibah instrument is categorised as part of the estate of the deceased account holder and, as such, the heir will have to go through a lengthy application process to claim the money.

The Majority of #Indonesia’s Shariah-Compliant Fintech Firms are Using the P2P Business Model

The steady rise and adoption in Sharia Fintech has transformed Indonesia’s trillion dollar economy. The majority of Shariah-compliant Fintechs in Indonesia use the P2P model, which usually works well with the profit-sharing model. Sharia Fintechs tend to focus on initiatives that support low-income and underserved segments of the population. Dody Dedy Waluyo, deputy governor of Indonesia’s central bank, says that there should be even more demand for halal or Islamic financial products. He notes that around 40% of the country’s GDP is generated from the Sharia economy.

#Indonesia government partners with biggest Islamic organization to set up 10,000 grocery stores

Indonesia’s Ministry for Economic Affairs is teaming up with the country’s largest Islamic organization Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) to set up 10,000 grocery stores in the next 4 years. The ministry’s vice deputy Gede Edy Prasetya estimates that it will cost around 40 million rupiah to establish a new grocery store under the new partnership. Amid the COVID-19 outbreak this year, the government is seeking new potential eligible beneficiaries for its micro credit schemes. This year, it aims to disburse 190 trillion rupiah ($13.6 billion) as part of the scheme. It has already disbursed 34.2 trillion rupiah in loans as at the end of April, with a non-performing loan rate of 1.23%.

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