Thursday, October 06, 2011

Sukuk markets not resilient in the middle of the financial crisis

I was a bit surprised to read the statements of the NCB's Chief Economist about the sukuk market and the financial crisis:
"Sukuk market proved resilient in the face of the crisis, with funds raised through sukuk issues grew from $2.8 billion in 2001 to $53.2 billion in 2010 and even during the tumultuous period of 2008-2009 funds raised from sukuk increased significantly, NCB Chief Economist Dr. Jarmo Kotilaine said at the 7th World Islamic Funds Conference held recently in Bahrain"
 I thought that the denial that the financial crisis impacted Islamic finance had died out amidst the vast evidence that the statement was just not true.  Yes, it is true that sukuk issuance grew significantly from 2001 to 2010, but it is false to claim that it grew uniformly through that period and even more false to claim that sukuk issuance "increased significantly" in 2008-2009.  The first thing I had on hand was Zawya Sukuk Report for data on sukuk issuance.

In 2006, $19.5 billion in sukuk were issued.  In 2007, it rose to $34.3 billion.  However, it then fell to $15.5 billion in 2008 and through the date of the report, $16.2 billion were issued in 2009 (the report was released in the fourth quarter of 2009).  How is it possible for anyone to claim that the 2008-09 performance represents a significant increase.

The period of 2008-2009 included in the report (which is likely to include most of the period) was $31.7 billion, which is lower than the 2007 total (and remember that the sukuk market did not really begin to falter until the second half of 2008).  To hear such statements being reported (unless the reporting is inaccurate) is disheartening. 

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