Friday, September 11, 2009

Malaysia leading in sukuk, CBK appoints monitor for TID, Nakheel sukuk rises on comments, derivatives framework by year end, Islamic finance in France

Malaysia remains the largest issuer of sukuk representing 45% of total issues followed by Saudi Arabia with 22% in the first 7 months of 2009 according to a report by Standard & Poor's. The largest issuer was Saudi Electric Company which issued a $1.8 billion sukuk. 20% of the sukuk issued were denominated in US$, up from 10% in 2008. 3/4 of all new issues were from sovereign issuers. In another report, the Securities Comission of Malaysia reported that through August 2009, more sukuk had been issued than all of 2008 which amonted to 58.2% of the total issuance of sukuk & bonds in the country through July (p from 57% in 2008).

The Investment Dar, whose sukuk is in default, has not filed its 2008 financial statements yet and will be monitored by a temporary monitor appointed by the Central Bank of Kuwait.

Troubled property firm Nakheel saw its sukuk rise over par in secondary market trading after Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, said he was not worried about either the $1 billion in maturity debt for the Emirate or the $3.52 billion maturing Nakheel sukuk. Speculation has been rising that Dubai will bail out Nakheel using the $20 billion it raised recently with half coming from the UAE Central Bank. I wrote a summary of this sukuk earlier this year when it was trading at a substantial discount to par.

The International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM) will finalize a master agreement for Islamic derivatives by the end of the year. The agreement, called Ta'Hawwut may be based on Arbun, which has been used to replicate call options in a Shari'ah-compliant way. Derivatives like options and swaps have have attracted some significant criticism for simply replicating conventional products. I recently wrote a blog post on whether all innovation is necessarily beneficial within the Islamic financial industry.

France wants to attract Islamic finance, but concerns remain about how well Islamic retail institutions would fit in with the country's strict separation between religion and state. The author of the article in Reuters has a blog post at the website providing additional insight behind the article.

An Australian newspaper has an article on the MCCA co-operative that recently offered a retail Shari'ah-compliant mortgage interest fund. It's an interesting article about a product that is not available in much of the world in Shari'ah-compliant fashion. However, it is available to some extent in the U.S. and Canada also in the co-operative model. However, one of the significant limitations of the co-operative model is that it often faces a shortage of capital to fund the home purchases for the members because it cannot access capital markets by securitizing the mortgages or, in the U.S., by using funding provided by Freddie Mac.

Other News

  • The government of the Indian state of Kerala plans to set up an Islamic bank according to the region's finance minister.
  • Two Bahrain-based Islamic investment firms, Inovest and Tharawat, are investing $32 million in a water filter production company.
  • An article on the recovery includes what I think is an important reminder that "'Islamic Finance's immunity is a myth which is brought up persistently', says Fares Mourad, Managing Director and Head of Islamic Finance at Swiss private bank Sarasin."
  • Does Islamic finance need more supervision?
  • Malaysia's state-owned body which owns transit assets priced RM2 billion ($573m) in 15- and 20-year sukuk.
  • Kuwait Turkish Participation Bank, majority owned by Kuwaiti firm Kuwait Finance House, received approval to conert its commercial office in Mannheim into an Islamic banking institution by the end of 2009 or early in 2010.
  • Abu Dhabi's Tourism Development & Investment Company may raise $1 billion in sukuk.
  • A $125 million syndicated secured ijara facility from a Kuwaiti issuer may have helped the market for other syndicated ijara facilities.
  • Qatari Diar is raising $962 million through a syndicated Islamic facility to fund investments in Europe.

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