The International Finance Corporation's $100 million sukuk is receiving favorable coverage from Arab News, which points out that many Arab countries have not yet stepped into the Islamic capital markets to raise funds. In addition to the most recent sukuk (and a Ringgit-denominated one it issued in 2004), the IFC has been involved in several other Islamic finance transactions over the past few years.
South Korea appears to be the latest non-Muslim majority country to work to attract Gulf money by passing laws that put Islamic finance including sukuk on equal regulatory and tax footing to conventional bonds. The country recently announced a list of state-owned companies that the government is looking to privatize and which it seeks Gulf investment. In addition, the government is considering an $80 billion initiative for environmentally-sustainable areas of growth. The government is also on a roadshow to gauge interest in a $500 million - $1 billion sovereign sukuk.
- HSBC is considering subscribing to the second $10 billion tranche of bonds issued by Dubai. The first tranche was purchased by the UAE central bank.
- Islamic banks' assets grew by 66% between the end of 2007 and the end of 2008 according to the Union of Arab Banks.
- The NY Times published an article on the growth of Islamic finance in universities' curricula.
- According to Standard & Poor's, the performance of Shari'ah-compliant equities lagged in the third quarter, a period when a lot of the leading stocks were financials.
- Bahrain-based Al Baraka plans on spending $30-$50 million on a bank acquisition in Indonesia. The bank also says that the IPO of its Syrian unit is oversubscribed.