Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tuesday news bullets

  • Rushdi Siddiqui opines on the possibility for a World Cup or Olympics sukuk in the future as a few countries in the GCC are considering bids to host the competitions.
  • DBS Group is shrinking its Singapore-based Islamic unit which Reuters attributes to a struggling effort by Singapore to attract Islamic finance.
  • A report from Ernst & Young about Islamic funds found that the segment of the industry stagnated. There were four articles with slightly different takes on the report including the press release from E&Y. The other articles were from Emirates Business 24/7, Reuters and Gulf Times.
  • There are fresh concerns that Islamic finance has too few well-known Shari'ah scholars.
  • The Global Head of Islamic Markets at Bursa Malaysia recently said at a conference that Islamic finance needs to develop a more diverse set of investment products to cater to investors with different investment needs.
  • Kenya's central bank may allow Islamic financial products in the country two years after the first Islamic bank in the country was licensed.
  • The Cagamas sukuk being developed with Al Rajhi Bank will be for $3.02 billion and will be structured to be acceptable in the Middle East as well as in Malaysia.
  • Indonesia's latest auction of sukuk had no winning bidders as the finance ministry rejected the 1.2 trillion rupiah ($130 million) in bids.
  • Bahrain's Islamic finance industry is recovering in spite of the worries around the Greek debt crisis, although it could affect sukuk issuance through the first three quarters of 2010, according to Nida Raza of Unicorn Invesment Bank. Another article describes the Islamic banking market in the UAE including their use of e-banking.
  • It appears that the structured product market in Islamic finance is returning with another, offered by Dubai Islamic Bank, that returns 88% of capital after two months but pays profits on the full amount invested based on the performance of the Middle Eastern markets.
  • The Association of Islamic Banking Institutions Malaysia believes that the country has exceeded the 20% target for the market share of Islamic finance this year. The new banking licenses for foreign banks are expected to be announced although the two new Islamic banking licenses may be delayed.
  • The GCC represents 70.4% of the global takaful market.
  • An article in Arab News expresses hope that the growth in the number of conferences on Islamic finance in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) reveals a potential growth area for the industry.
  • Islamic finance in the UK will not be negatively affected by the change in government according to a delegation from the Muslim Council of Britain to the World Islamic Economic Forum in Malaysia. The Bank of London & the Middle East is planning an absolute return fund that "it is in no way a hedge fund". The BLME launched a money market fund last year that has returned 0.30% compared to an expectation of 1.00% which it expects to reeturn once yields 'normalize'.
  • The Malaysian retail 1Malaysia sukuk has received a 'lukewarm' response.

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