Monday, July 16, 2007

Islamic finance may enter the Netherlands, IDB/ICIEC, Brunei issues 1-year sukuk & offshore banking

The Dutch goverment will look into ways to attract Islamic finance to the Netherlands, a country which has seen its Muslim population grow significantly to almost 6% of the total population.

The Islamic Corporation for Investment Guarantees and Export Credit (ICIEC) opened its first office outside of Saudi Arabia in Dubai. The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) approved grants for projects including education and healthcare totaling $833.8 million.

Brunei issued $30 million of one-year Islamic bonds. The issue is the first of one-year bonds; previous Islamic government bonds were 91-day issues.

Current structure of Islamic finance has encouraged competition between offshore hubs for registration of the special purpose vehicles (SPVs) and asset management firms. By allowing dual English-Arabic registration the Cayman Islands has increased the appeal of it over other offshore locations.

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