A senior executive at Nomura believes that there will be a further uptick in the issuance of new sukuk by corporate and sovereign issuers in the next 18 months. The issuance through the end of September was $13.5 billion, primarily out of Saudi Arabia, which accounted for 44% of issuance and included sukuk from Saudi Electric Company and the Islamic Development Bank. Other more recent data shows that $18 billion in sukuk have been issued so far this year.
The sukuk market remains in a state of flux because of the unresolved issues about asset-based and asset-backed sukuk, which is discussed in an article in the Financial Times. The important point brought up in the FT article is that not all sukuk transfer ownership of the underlying asset to the investors. In many cases of asset-based sukuk, the asset is transferred to the SPV that issued the sukuk but with a repurchase agreement that requires the issuer to repurchase the asset in the case of default. This means that the asset ownership transfers back to the company and the sukuk holders are given essentially an IOU that the company will redeem the principal of the sukuk in a default. This is different from an asset-backed sukuk where ownership is transferred to the sukuk holders, who then have legal right to the asset. This was the case in the East Cameron sukuk, which was based on an overriding royalty interest that entitles the sukuk holders to a share of production in the underlying lease. Other sukuk transfer ownership of a tangible asset (the ORRI is legally recognized as real property in Louisiana, but is not a transfer of the underlying properties being drilled, which are leased from the US government).
- The World Bank's IFC sukuk price guidance is 35-40 basis points over 5-year US Treasuries.
- Jordan is considering offering sukuk to cover its growing budget deficit.
- A columnist in the Guardian discusses the role of regulation and religion in finance.
- Emirates Development Bank, the government funded bank that is anticipated to take over Islamic mortgage lenders Amlak and Tamweel is one step closer to launch, although the fate of Amlak and Tamweel remains uncertain.
- Saudi Electric may tap sukuk markets again to finance a new contract the firm signed.
- There is a nice article is in a Minnesota paper about local organization African Development Center, which offers Shari'ah-compliant home and business financing.
- An English paper has a good article about the growth of Islamic finance.
- Korea needs incentives for investments in sukuk, according to the head of Doha Bank's representative office in the country.
- Islamic Finance Resources links to a recent paper on the history of Islamic finance in France, a relevant article given the recent French law about Islamic finance that was struck down by the constitutional court on procedural grounds.
- Ithmaar is offering a rights issue as well as a 5-year mandatory convertible sukuk.
- Gatehouse Bank, based in the UK, joined Paris Europlace, a Paris-based organization that promotes the French financial industry and established an Islamic Finance Commission in December 2007.