Thursday, April 02, 2009

Sukuk news and Q1 numbers below 2008

Data from Zawya, which is usually comparable to IFIS data, shows that sukuk issuance in the first quarter of 2009 was $1.8 billion compared with $2.84 billion in the same period in 2008. The 37% fall in sukuk issuance was not completely unexpected because the GCC economies ran into some difficulty as the global economic crisis spilled into the GCC and oil prices, the main source of liquidity, were lower. In 2008Q1, Brent crude oil prices were between $90 and $110 compared with $30 to $50 in 2009Q1. About half of all the first quarter sukuk ($900 million) were issued in Malaysia. However, the widening spreads have attracted investors to the sukuk market and oil prices have been near $50 which could bode well for sukuk issuance in the rest of the year. The percent of sukuk issues originating from Malaysia (50%) are lower than in 2006 (55%) and 2007 (58%) according to International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM). This percentage fell to 36% in 2008 according to Saudi Islamic investment company NCB.

"Brunei has sold B$165 million ($109 million) of Islamic leasing bonds, the government said." According to the article, the small sultanate has continued its issuance of sukuk which began back in 2006. Brunei has large oil and gas reserves and does not need to issue debt in order to cover the governments fiscal expenses but does so in order to aid the development of the sukuk market globally. The ijara sukuk were primarily short-maturity (91-day) sukuk, but there were B$11 million ($7.25 million) in one-year notes issued as well. Since the sukuk issuance began in 2006, the total volume of short-term sukuk issued is B$1.5 billion ($1 billion).

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