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UNICEF: 100,000 Iraqi Children in Extreme Danger in Western Mosul

There is no end of bad news these days. After Yemen and Syria, there around 100'000 children alone being trapped in Mosul. The humanitarian aid for those human tragedies is largely underfunded.

On 10th June I join the Crans-Montana Cycling for Children event. Please donate for all what needs to be done urgently:

https://www.unicef.ch/en/cycling-for-children/action/michael-gassner

Here is the latest report on Mossul:

"Erbil – Civilians living under siege in the remaining ISIS-held neighborhoods of Iraq’s Mosul are under extreme danger, warned the United Nations children’s agency on Monday.

About 100,000 children are trapped in extremely dangerous conditions, warned the UN Children Fund as fierce battles between Iraqi forces and ISIS militants raged on in an attempt to liberate the eastern city."

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Unprecedented spread of cholera in Yemen as health workers race against time to save children

"SANAA/DJIBOUTI/AMMAN, 2 June, 2017 – “I have just concluded a trip to Yemen to oversee UNICEF’s response to the unprecedented cholera outbreak that is gripping the country."

Just today UNICEF updated the world on the cholera outbreak in Yemen. In order to send response teams for such events and save children's lives we have to give.

On 10th June I join the Crans-Montana Cycling for Children event. Please donate for all what needs to be done urgently:

https://www.unicef.ch/en/cycling-for-children/action/michael-gassner

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Bitcoin Mania versus Tulip Mania?

Dear Reader,

regular readers may remember my critic on bitcoin from an Islamic perspective missing intrinsic value. The former blog entry you find here: http://www.islamicfinance.de/?q=node/7840 - almost two years ago.

So far bitcoin just went up higher and higher, with wild fluctuations but nevertheless.

It reminds on how bubbles work, think about the tulip mania in 1637 a nice piece of economic history. A single tulip bulb was traded and bought on credit. Check the Wiki page on it:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip_mania

As bitcoin has even less value than a tulip except for payment purposes, it is the payment functionality, which can lead to destruction. What happens if a new alternative currency is becoming en vogue, which has a better usability and faster transaction time? In my view this is most likely trigger to burst the bubble.

FT Alphaville covers now the difficulties coming up with bitcoin's increasing transaction numbers causing inconvenience in using the digital currency:

https://ftalphaville.ft.com/2017/05/17/2188961/the-currency-of-the-futur...

Call for Papers- Sharing Economy of Islam beyond Islamic Finance, SASE 2017, Lyon, France, 29 June-1st July 2017

UPDATE:
Abstract/Paper Submission
Please note that colleagues should send 1,000 words abstract by FEBRUARY 3, 2017, which should provide a short background, aims of the paper, the methodology and method used, and the findings (or expected findings).

***SASE HAS EXTENDED THE DEADLINE TO 17TH FEBRUARY 2017***

https://www.dur.ac.uk/dcief/events/

Acceptance notifications will be sent by March 1, 2017.

Paper submissions and session proposals must be made through our online submission system; for additional information on how to submit, please follow the link:
https://sase.org/events/conference-submission-and-award-guidelines

Sharing Economy of Islam beyond Islamic Finance:
Re-constructing Collaborative and Disruptive Economy from Islamic Moral Economy Perspective

SASE Conference on ‘What's Next? Disruptive/Collaborative Economy or Business as Usual?’
Universite Claude Bernard, Lyon 1, France
29th June – 1st July 2017
https://sase.org/event/2017-lyon/#mini

Call for Papers:

#Zakat requires Muslims to donate 2.5% of their wealth: could this end poverty?

Zakat is a powerful source of good with untapped potential for contributing to sustainable development. There are some striking commonalities between the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and zakat. Zakat is mandatory giving; all Muslims eligible to pay it must donate at least 2.5% of their accumulated wealth for the benefit of the poor. But despite its tremendous potential for contributing to the SDGs, zakat organisations have been overlooked by development organisations. Between $3tn and $5tn is estimated to be needed per year to achieve the goals, but current investment falls short at around $1.4tn. By working together with religious organisations, development bodies can fill the $2.5tn investment gap, while also promoting peace and development. A shift in the public mindset is needed so that zakat is seen as a programme needing professional management for positive change, rather than simply charity.

Fitch: Dana Gas Case Highlights #Sukuk Legal Uncertainties

According to Fitch Ratings, credit rating implications for sukuk arising from Dana Gas's attempt to have its mudaraba sukuk declared unlawful will take time to emerge. The impact of the move remains unclear until all relevant proceedings are resolved. Fitch added that sharia compliance typically does not have credit implications for Fitch-rated sukuk. Fitch does not rate Dana Gas or its sukuk. Dana Gas started court proceedings in the UAE to have its sukuk declared unlawful and unenforceable in the UAE. Sukuk regulations have been introduced and updated in several countries in recent years, but standardisation, harmonisation and legal precedents are limited in most jurisdictions. This case could set an important precedent for the relationship between sharia compliance and credit risk, and give greater clarity on enforceability.

IDP and JCSB partner to grow #SME businesses

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and JSCB Microkreditbank Uzbekistan have entered into a Joint Strategic Collaboration to finance SMEs in Uzbekistan. The Line of Financing facility agreement for the amount of USD 12 million was signed by the CEO of ICD, Khaled Al-Aboodi and the Acting Chairman of JSCB Microkreditbank, Shukhrat Rasulov. The collaboration will focus on developing the private sector especially SMEs, improving the living standard, generating tax revenues for the government and promoting Islamic Banking in the country. Khalid Al-Aboodi stated that ICD was pleased to extend a line of financing facility to Microkreditbank which will enhance the impact of socio-economic development. Shukhrat Rasulov welcomed the partnership with ICD and ensured that JSCB was committed to providing professional banking services while promoting private entrepreneurship in the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Three-way bank #merger in #Qatar aims to close by year end -sources

Executives working on a three-way bank merger in Qatar expect to finish valuing the deal in the coming weeks. Shareholders at Masraf Al Rayan, Barwa Bank and International Bank of Qatar are committed to pushing ahead with the deal despite the current embargo by some of Qatar's Arab neighbours. A shake-up has long been mooted in the Qatari banking sector given that 18 local and international commercial banks serve a population of 2.6 million. The more than two-week travel and diplomatic boycott could further dent bank performance if the dispute drags on. In December, Reuters reported that the trio had begun merger talks which would create the Gulf state's second-largest bank. The new bank, which would be run in compliance with Islamic banking principles, would have assets worth around 160 billion riyals ($43.6 billion).

La première émission de #sukuks aura lieu le 15 septembre prochain

Abdellatif Jouahri, gouverneur de Bank Al-Maghrib, a annoncé la première émission de sukuks aura lieu le 15 septembre prochain. Après le lancement en mai dernier de Umnia Bank, Attijariwafa bank a présenté dernièrement à la presse sa nouvelle banque participative, Bank Assafa. Cinq banques participatives ont été agréées par Bank Al-Maghrib en début d’année. BMCE Bank of Africa s’est associée à Al Baraka Banking Group du Bahreïn, la Banque centrale populaire (BCP) au groupe saoudien Guidance Financial Group, et le Crédit Agricole du Maroc à l’Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD).

IMF warns #Kenya of loopholes in Islamic banking #regulation

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that the rapid growth of Islamic finance in Kenya is happening without adequate protection of depositors. Despite the fact that the Shariah banks are already offering loan products, Kenya is yet to refine its prudential regulations to cater for Islamic banking. Kenya is also yet to come up with a Shariah-compliant deposit insurance scheme and is continuing to manage deposit insurance premiums in a single pool for all banks. This situation could complicate compensation of depositors if a bank offering conventional and Islamic products collapses. According to the IMF, Kenya should seek to bring clarity to the grey areas in Islamic finance as it drafts amendments to the banking law as promised in the 2017/18 budget.

Business #schools feed hunger for courses on Islamic finance, aboriginal leadership

As the world of business is global, business schools are getting similarly global in their outlook. The need for a more diverse approach in business schools crosses all levels, from the makeup of faculty and the curriculum to the students themselves. Walid Hejazi, associate professor at University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management stresses that diversity from a business school perspective is not so much a moral or equity imperative as it is about long-term sustainability. In his view, businesses that are diverse in their workforce are not only more innovative, they also work more effectively. Other business schools are following suit emphasising diversity on all levels. For example, the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University introduced an Aboriginal Business and Leadership EMBA program to advance aboriginal leaders’ business education.

The #Sukuk Investment Opportunity

The #Nigerian Debt Management Office (DMO) is accessing the local market for N100 billion through Sukuk. The first Nigerian Sukuk is a 7-year tenor debt instrument and will go on sale from June 28, 2017, for three days via book building. It will be traded on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and the FMDQ Securities Exchange OTC platform. The bond will target retail and institutional investors, while First Bank and Islamic wealth manager Lotus Capital will act as managers for the sale. According to DMO, the introduction of Sukuk is not only a way of raising capital for the government and promotion of greater financial inclusion, it is also part of the plan to fast track infrastructure development. The current manager of DMO, Dr. Abraham Nwankwo will be leaving office at the end of June and the Sukuk issuance is seen as his parting gift.

Islamic Development Bank Group, UN Cooperating on SDG #Partnership Strategies

Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group President Bandar Hajjar and UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed identified priority areas for a strengthened cooperation. They also explored opportunities to collaborate on global, regional and country-level priorities to achieve the SDGs. The UN and the IDB will seek to develop private sector partnerships, advance the Global Islamic Impact Investing Platform for blending Islamic Financing and Private Sector resources, and promote institutional cooperation. Bandar Hajjar stressed that the IDB Group was fully committed to the SDGs, while Amina Mohammed underscored the importance of interactive partnerships with governments and of country-level results.

Islamic finance growth to lose momentum in 2018: S&P report

According to S&P Global Ratings, the Islamic finance industry will continue to expand this year, but will lose some momentum in 2018. Even though sukuk issuance accelerated in the first half of this year and will likely stay strong in the second half, S&P Global Ratings believes this growth rate is not sustainable. In their view, the current economic situation in core Islamic finance markets and depreciation of local currencies have weighed on the industry’s performance in 2016 and 2017. The report foresees a deterioration of GCC Islamic banks’ profitability in 2017 and 2018 as the cost of funding has increased and the cost of risk is on the rise. Sharia is still interpreted in different ways across the various Islamic finance markets. However, the industry appears to be going in the right direction with the proposal for central Shariah boards.

Shariah compliant #Robo #Advisor ‘Algebra’ to pilot in Asia before going global

#Malaysia-based private wealth management firm Farringdon Group is all set to launch its Shariah compliant Robo Adviser 'Algebra'. A robo-advisor is an online wealth management service that provides automated, algorithm-based portfolio management advice without the use of human financial planners. Farrigdon Group CEO Stuart Yeoman said that Algebra can take minimum investments worth $4000 and the launch is planned for next month. Before going global, Farringdon is piloting the product in Asia frst. Algebra is backed by smart beta trading algorithms to derive its active equity portfolio and blends it with Sukuk bond funds to derive a risk weighted portfolio. The robo-advisor will follow basic Islamic principles. It has received the approval of Shariah Scholar Datuk Dr Daud Bakar of Amanie Advisors for its shariah investment strategy.

Goldilocks Investment builds Dana Gas stake

An Abu Dhabi Global Market fund, Goldilocks Investment, has acquired 5% of Dana Gas. Goldilocks has a reputation of buying companies going through financial difficulties. Goldilocks has recently acquired 350 million shares in Dana Gas, which has seen its share price rise by nearly 70% in the past month. Goldilocks is part of Jassim Alseddiqi's Abu Dhabi Financial Group, a diversified investment company with about US$5 billion under management. Dana Gas has assets in Egypt and the Kurdish region of Iraq that have had good operational results but have suffered from erratic payments. Dana Gas also has an ongoing dispute with holders of its $700 million in sukuk, for which it has taken preemptive legal action to avoid a declaration of default.

#GCC governments seek to diversify funding with Islamic #bonds

According to S&P Global Ratings, GCC sukuk issuances jumped 37.7% in the first half of 2017 as governments are seeking to plug deficits amid low oil prices. The rating agency added that issuances of sukuk will not grow at the same rate in the next couple of years, with hurdles such as a lack of standardisation of sukuk rules deterring sales. Mohamed Damak, primary credit analyst at S&P, said the volume of sukuk issuance is expected to remain strong in 2017, but this is likely to be the exception rather than a new norm. 2016 was a record year for regional bond issues in the GCC region, with over $60bn worth of fixed income sold. Last year Saudi Arabia sold $17.5bn worth of bonds in its first international sale and Qatar sold $9bn. Despite the record value of issuances, S&P said that a big funding gap remains. It is estimated at $275bn and about half of that gap is expected to be raised through bonds and sukuk.

UNHCR wins nod to use Islamic alms to aid Middle East #refugees

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has begun a scheme that enables Muslims make donations from the alms they typically pay state bodies for the benefit of the poor. According to experts, the amount of zakat money distributed each year in Muslim countries ranges from $20 billion to $30 billion. UNHCR has projected it will need a total of $8 billion for life-saving assistance to millions of Syrians inside their homeland and in neighboring countries. UNHCR has also called for $2.1 billion to provide food and medicine for Yemen, where 12 million people are at risk of famine and cholera brought on by two years of civil war. The new alms project plans to help some 30,000 of the most vulnerable Syrian refugee families in Jordan, with around $180 in monthly cash support for each family.

Lessons from Dana Gas #Sukuk debacle

Dana Gas invited holders of its outstanding sukuk to open discussions on restructuring the payment. The reason given by Dana Gas was that the sukuk has now been declared non-syariah compliant and, therefore, not valid. The company also proposed to exchange the sukuk with a new four-year enforceable, syariah-compliant instrument. It seems that Dana Gas is trying to restructure cheap on the back of credit deterioration, hiding behind the façade of syariah validity. Moreover, the company has filed for protection in the Federal Court in Sharjah to impose its structuring plan on certificate holders. It is obvious that the sukuk debacle may have serious implications for Dubai’s ambitions of being a premier sukuk origination and Islamic economy hub. The Dana Gas sukuk is a failure of inadequate capital market legal framework, underdeveloped regulatory framework and a serious lack of uniformity.

Bursa #Malaysia-I Welcomes Inter-Pacific Securities Sdn Bhd As Islamic Participating

Bursa Malaysia added Inter-Pacific Securities Sdn Bhd (Inter-Pac Securities) to its Islamic Participating Organisations (Islamic POs) list. Bursa Malaysia CEO Datuk Seri Tajuddin Atan welcomed the new company and said that with this addition investors would have a wider choice of Islamic POs to represent them. Inter-Pac Securities Director Tan Mun Choy expressed his gratitude for Bursa Malaysia's approval to carry out Islamic stockbroking services.
With the inclusion of Inter-Pac Securities, there are now 12 Islamic POs carrying out Islamic stockbroking services of which 1 is on a full-fledged basis (BIMB Securities) and the other 11 are on a window basis.

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