Monday, October 26, 2009

Sukuk markets recovering, IFC sukuk listed in Dubai and London, Islamic asset management faces a 'chicken-or-egg' problem

The sukuk market is expected to recover following signs that Nakheel will avoid default and GE Capital Corporation, which has a joint venture with Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala, was reported to be considering issuing a sukuk. The recovery in Nakheel's sukuk have come following the $10 billion in bonds issued by Dubai and the prospect for the Emirate to issue $6.5 billion in bonds and sukuk. The sukuk-reported to be $2.5 billion of this amount-are reported to be priced near 6%. The funds from the bond and sukuk issuance are expected to be administered by the Dubai Financial Support fund, which has provided some assistance to Nakheel.

With the listing of the World Bank Group's IFC sukuk, NASDAQ Dubai expects the sukuk and bond markets to pick up before the IPO market. The sukuk will be listed on both NASDAQ Dubai and the London Stock Exchange and is rated Aaa by Moody's.

The Islamic asset management industry faces a 'chicken-or-egg' problem as the industry has a shortage of investments to choose from, particularly in the fixed income area, while there are few investments available because of questions about the strength of demand. The increasing involvement by governments is a double-edged sword, notes an article from Reuters. Governments can provide a source of issuers willing and able to issue sukuk, but could crowd out other issuers, particularly lower-rated issuers. So far this year, roughly 80% of sukuk have come from government issuers and many of the others were issued by high-grade corporate issuers.

Emirates Business 24/7 has an interesting article about the debate over standardization in Islamic finance. There are many views on how standardization should happen, whether it should be a goal at all and what aspects of the industry should be standardized.

Other News

  • The International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) is expected to release guidelines on Islamic derivatives, and these could come by December. The standardized agreement, being jointly developed by the ISDA and the International Islamic Finance Market (IIFM), would provide a standardized contract for Shari'ah-compliant hedging products.
  • The opening of the country's first Islamic bank led German paper Das Spiegel to write a good article that provides an overview of the industry's development.
  • Tamweel, the troubled Dubai-based Islamic mortgage company, made a periodic payment on its sukuk due in 2013.
  • The Irish Revenue Service has clarified its rules on the taxation of Islamic finance products and a summary is available from Arab News.
  • The CIO of CIMB-Principal Islamic Asset Management Dr. Zeid Ayer believes that Brunei should open its sukuk up to international investors to broaden the base of investors. The sultanate issues sukuk despite large oil reserves and little need to raise financing as a way to promote the growth of its Islamic finance industry.
  • The results of an Islamic Finance Perceptions survey are summarized in an article.
  • As Malaysia issues RM3 billion ($888 million) in sukuk, it has also extended the tax exemption on Islamic financial products to 2015 that have helped the industry grow rapidly in the country.

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