#Sukuk auction criticised

In #Pakistan Chair­man of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance Senator Saleem Mandvi­walla has strongly criticized the issuance of $1 billion sukuk. He said that the hurried decision was an act of im­­maturity by the government and it was expected that the rates would be high. Senator Mandviwalla is surprised that Eurobonds which carry sovereign guarantees were sold at 8.25pc interest rate and sukuk, which are guaranteed by assets, are sold at 5.5pc. He said that the federal government also blamed the higher rate on Pak-India border tensions. He added that it would have been better to wait with the issuance for a more suitable time.

Govt to raise up to $1bn through #sukuk issue in #US

In #Pakistan the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet finalised plans for immediate launch of $500 million to $1 billion sukuk in the US capital market. Presided over by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, the ECC decided to start process for the launch of sukuk in Washington on Tuesday and wind up the transaction by Oct 5, 2016. The government has already hired a consortium of five banks – Citibank, Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank, Dubai Islamic and Noor Islamic – as financial advisers to complete the sukuk transaction. Being Islamic mode, the bond is being raised against Lahore-Islamabad Motorway as collateral that should keep pricing slightly lower than conventional bonds. The government would decide about the exact size of the bond on the basis of investor response and pricing but would remain within $500m-$1bn band.

BankIslami takes over KASB Bank

The federal government has approved the merger of KASB Bank Ltd with BankIslami Pakistan Ltd (BIPL). KASB Bank had been in trouble since 2009 as it failed to meet the Minimum Capital Requirement (MCR) and Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR). The case became complicated when a Chinese company showed interest in buying the bank but the request was turned down by the SBP. However, the SBP clarified that the Chinese company neither had required capital nor was willing to show its credential as required by the SBP’s fit and proper condition needed to run a bank. All branches and customers of the former KASB Bank will be considered as BankIslami’s from Friday.

Managing liquidity through Sukuk

Liquidity management has become easier for Islamic banking institutions as well as for the State Bank with the Sukuk-backed open market operations gaining momentum. The central bank has so far conducted about a dozen Sukuk OMOs since the introduction of this concept in October 2014 and IBIs have responded to it in good spirit. Central bankers say holding of OMOs using Islamic financial concept of Bai-Muajjal is but one component of a broader plan for better liquidity management. The plan, drawn up after seeking inputs from stakeholders, also envisages establishment of a discount window for IBIs later this year. But in addition to several other things, IBI’s want of interest in human resource building also impedes fast-tracking of the planned moves for this purpose.

Burj-NBP deal on the cards?

Pakistan's banking sector enters 2015 promising more deal-making activities. State-run National Bank of Pakistan has expressed interest in potentially acquiring Burj Bank Ltd. NBP recently said it will conduct due diligence on Burj, and hoped to complete the exercise in a ‘short timeframe’. The Burj deal is being closely watched by the market, as it has so far failed to meet the central bank’s minimum capital requirement (MCR) of Rs10bn. In case the deal goes through, it remains to be seen if Burj would exist as a standalone Islamic bank, or if its operations will be merged with NBP’s Islamic banking section.

Pakistan receives $1bn sukuk payment

Pakistan has received $1 billion payment for its recent sukuk sale, a spokesman for the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has said. The government issued sukuk on Nov 27 to raise its foreign exchange reserves in line with International Monetary Fund’s demands. The government had initially planned to float $500 million worth of the Islamic bonds. But in the wake of high demand, which rose to $2.3bn, it decided to raise $1bn. The five-year sukuk were sold at a profit rate of 6.75 per cent. The country’s total liquid foreign exchange reserves declined to $12.993bn during the week ending November 28 compared to $13.219bn the previous week.

Sukuk yields $1bn in international bond market

Pakistan raised $1 billion from the international Islamic bond market on Wednesday by selling its Sukuk papers at 6.75 per cent profit rate. The government received a subscription of $2.3bn, which was nearly five times the targeted amount. With the proceeds, the country’s foreign exchange reserves are estimated to touch $14.1bn on Dec 1. And after the disbursement of $1.1bn by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expected in the second week next month, the country is set to cross the $15bn reserves barrier and will be eligible to benefit from the concessionary development lending window of the World Bank — International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

EFU to launch shariah-compliant products

EFU insurance group will offer shariah-compliant insurance products in Pakistan through its general and life units. Both EFU Life Assurance and EFU General Insurance plan to open takaful windows. The plans come two months after regulators cleared the way for conventional firms to offer Islamic products, part of regulatory effort to increase insurance penetration in Pakistan. EFU General had Rs13.9 billion ($140.8 million) in written premiums in 2013, representing roughly a quarter of the industry’s total. EFU Life has a branch network of over 150 branches around the country. A source at one of the units said the takaful windows could be operational in two to three months.

IFSB eyes stronger implementation of Islamic finance standards

The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) will release a Mid-Term Review (MTR) of the industry’s 10-year framework document on May 19, outlining benchmarks to monitor industry progress in a more focused way. The original framework, released in 2007 by the IFSB and the research arm of the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank, identified 16 recommendations for policymakers but did not spell out detailed metrics to track their progress. The MTR, in contrast, proposes a stronger implementation plan, including concrete initiatives to be undertaken by a range of stakeholders. Furthermore, a working group to study a standard for retakaful has now been launched and another working group will soon be set up to study a standard for capital markets.

ADB sees prospects for Islamic finance

Asia needs to invest about $8 trillion in overall national infrastructure, the use of cross-border financing and investment through Islamic finance will help to widen the investor base and lower the cost of financing for well-structured investments, the Asian Development Bank said. In recent years, Islamic finance has been enjoying growth rates of 20 per cent a year, most of which comes from Asia. Increased activity is expected in Thailand, China, Bangladesh and India as well as more traditional market such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Pakistan. The conference on Islamic Finance for Asia, opening in Manila on Monday, aims to create greater awareness on the potentials and opportunities brought about by Islamic finance to the region.

Islamic banking grows by 7pc

Islamic banking industry grew by nearly seven per cent during the second quarter of the calendar year 2013. The momentum in growth, however, started weakening due to increasing base, according to the Islamic Banking Bulletin of the State Bank of Pakistan. The report said the asset base of the industry reached Rs903 billion, registering year-on-year growth of 27pc, while deposits grew by 28pc to reach Rs771bn by the end of June 2013. Profit of the Islamic banking industry reached above Rs4.3bn by the end of June 2013, though lower compared to Rs5.9bn profit registered during June 2012, said the bulletin. During the quarter under review, non-performing financing (NPF) of Islamic banking industry witnessed a slight decline and was recorded Rs19.4bn compared to Rs19.5bn in the previous quarter.

IDB agrees to provide 750m euros loan

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has agreed to extend a loan facility of 750 million euros to Pakistan. The first tranche of the loan will be released before mid of the current month. The IDB will also provide a trade facility of $150 million for import of fertiliser and petroleum products. Besides, the IDB president informed the finance minister that Islamic Development Bank was keen to work with Pakistan for the eradication of polio in the country. The President of Islamic Development Bank, Dr Ahmed Mohammad Ali, assured the finance minster Mohammad Ishaq Dar, of the full cooperation and support of IDB for Pakistan.

Pakistan launches media campaign to boost Islamic finance

Pakistan's central bank has launched a mass media campaign to raise awareness and acceptance of Islamic finance among consumers in the country. It was developed alongside local Islamic banks, and is expected help the industry reach ambitious targets including a doubling of its branch network in five years and a 15 per cent share of the banking system. The campaign is part of an overhaul of Islamic finance activities in Pakistan, which also includes the establishment of a country-level Sharia board and new rules for Sharia-compliant financial products within the central bank's five-year plan for Pakistan's Islamic banking sector. The country's Islamic banking industry includes five fully-fledged Islamic banks and five takaful (Islamic insurance) firms, with an additional 12 conventional banks offering services through Islamic windows.

Asset management licence of DCML cancelled

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has cancelled the Asset Management Licence of Dawood Capital Management Limited (DCML) and imposed a penalty of Rs20 million on its chief executive officer for providing “undue benefits” to his relatives and connected persons. The commission has also taken action against DCML’s chief financial controller/company secretary. The SECP found that the connected persons had made redemptions from different investment schemes before provisioning, and had averted imminent losses of Rs18.224 million.

Pakistan’s Islamic insurance rules in limbo after court hearing

The court in Sindh provice registered a petition of five Pakistan's takaful operators as a sign of protest againts the new rules for insurance sector that was launced last month. Accordint to them, conventional insurance firms would become right to offer takaful services. It would make Pakistan the second Islamic country after Indonesia where takaful windows are officially allowed. The court has been adjourned to an unknown date.

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