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ESG, syariah stock indices slightly outpaced conventional counterparts on better management, lower leverage — Islamic finance heads

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) and Islamic stock indices have marginally outperformed their conventional counterparts this year, owing to their better management and lower leverage. Refinitiv head of Islamic finance Mustafa Adil said while syariah-compliant equity indices experienced identical volatility-induced declines to conventional stock indices, they had staged a better recovery so far. He added that these equities are expected to provide greater returns in the medium to long term as they are less leveraged.

Al Baraka signs #sukuk trading deal with BHB

Al Baraka Islamic Bank and Bahrain Bourse (BHB) have signed an agreement allowing the bank to buy and sell Sharia-complaint ijara sukuk through the exchange. Proceeds from the sukuk will contribute to facilitating the bank’s financing operations for its underlying clients. The agreement aims to diversify the commodities available for underlying clients when conducting a commodity-based murabaha transaction to include government-based sukuk issued by the Central Bank of Bahrain.

Potential of Islamic capital market remains promising at home and abroad – Bursa chairman

According to Bursa Malaysia chairman Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar, the potential of the Islamic capital market remains promising both in Malaysia and abroad. During his keynote address at the Shariah Investing Virtual Conference 2020 Abdul Wahid said that in Malaysia alone, the industry of Islamic funds had demonstrated impressive growth. As of March, syariah funds stood at RM170 billion, representing 23% of total industry assets under management (AUM). Syariah unit trust funds' net asset value (NAV) stood at RM99 billion. Abdul Wahid added that there are opportunities for further product innovation and development to provide investors with more syariah-based products.

World Bank: Islamic finance value proposition has to be clear

The World Bank said the Islamic capital market's (ICM) value proposition has to be very clear to show that its concept is more powerful than the environmental, societal and governance (ESG) investment schemes. World Bank financial sector specialist consultant Dr Mohamed Eskandar Shah said ESG's value proposition seems to be quite straight forward compared to Islamic finance. He noted that between 2007 and 2019, the ICM, measured in global shariah equities, saw a 4.3% growth a year compared to the 10.2% expansion in ESG equities. As such, Islamic finance could become a subset of ESG investing, or eventually people will brand Islamic finance in the context of ESG, rather than Islamic finance having its own identity.

#Malaysia’s Islamic finance sector to hit RM3t this year, says Bursa chairman

Malaysia’s Islamic finance sector is expected to sustain double-digit growth to reach almost RM3 trillion in 2020 under the second Capital Market Masterplan. The chairman of Bursa Malaysia, Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar, said the country’s Islamic funds industry has demonstrated impressive growth. The country is the third-largest market for global Islamic finance products and the world’s largest Sukuk issuer. At Bursa Malaysia 79% of the listed companies are Shariah-compliant and Shariah market capitalisation makes up 70% of the total market capitalisation of RM1.6 trillion. Over the last ten years Shariah indices consistently outperformed its conventional counterparts. Thus, Shariah-compliant investments are an attractive source of value for investors.

Dubai outlines plans to unify legal framework for Islamic finance

The CEO of Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) outlined the phases for the development of a unified legal framework for Islamic finance. Abdulla Al Awar said that once complete, the project would bring standardisation to the Islamic finance sector and reduce discrepancies in practices across the globe. The DIEDC signed an agreement with the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions for the use of its standards as a reference point in building the international legal framework. The Sharia-compliant segment of Dubai’s economy contributed Dh41.8 billion to the emirate’s gross domestic product in 2018. Dubai continues to pursue its goal of becoming the top Islamic economy hub in the world.

#Turkey's Erdogan says Islamic economy can pull world 'out of crisis'

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Islamic economic system is the key to getting out of crisis as global economy continues to suffer from coronavirus pandemic. President Erdogan said the loss of nearly 440,000 lives worldwide can't be attributed to Covid-19 alone, saying many countries have an economic system that protects only strong and the rich. Erdogan said Turkey is among the countries that has fought the pandemic with the least damage. Pointing out the country’s first-quarter growth of 4.5%, Erdogan said that Turkey has shown that it distinguished itself positively from other countries not only in the health sector but also in the economy, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

IsDB eager to support development projects Madinah

IsDB President Dr. Bandar Bin Hajjar stated that the bank was working on a pioneering project to establish a "Global Waqf Centre of Excellence" in Madinah, with a capital of $50 million. The aim of the center is to build a global umbrella for the Waqf sector, linking and coordinating all those interested in Waqf. The Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI) is preparing to launch the first initiative of the center to grant an approved certificate of Waqf specialist. IRTI is also working on the "Ish’had" platform, which is an e-platform using blockchain technology, to document and protect Waqf properties.

Hafeez for potential of Islamic finance to help developing states

Pakistan's Adviser on Finance and Revenue, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said the Covid-19 has engulfed the whole world, and the global GDP is going to contract by 3-4%. Hafeez said Islamic banking was growing at a fast pace in Pakistan and he emphasized the potential of Islamic finance to help developing countries cope with the global financial challenges. The adviser said the government established a corona relief fund and transferred cash to 16 million vulnerable families to provide them support in this difficult time.

#Saudi property firm Amlak plans first post-coronavirus Riyadh IPO

Saudi real estate financing firm Amlak International plans to float 30% of its shares in Riyadh, in what will be the exchange’s first initial public offering (IPO) since the coronavirus crisis. Amlak said the final offer price would be announced on June 30, after a book-building process starting on June 22. Saudi retailer BinDawood Holding also plans to launch an initial public offering as early as this month. The group hired Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, NCB Capital and GIB to organize the deal.

New York Online Investment Firm Gets Aramco Financing for Islamic Products

New York-based Wahed Invest has secured financing from oil giant Saudi Aramco to expand into the Middle East and make Riyadh its regional hub. The Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Ventures extended the funding to the online Islamic investment platform as part of a $25 million funding round. The three-year-old Wahed Invest, which has secured a license to operate in Saudi Arabia, aims to get regulatory approval in 20 more countries. It currently has licenses to operate in nine countries. The company's Islamic Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) holds investments in Apple, Johnson & Johnson, and Intel Corp. Wahed Invest is also contemplating listing its Islamic ETF on the Saudi stock exchange. Its ETF was listed on the Nasdaq last year.

Sharjah Islamic Bank hires banks for dollar #sukuk, document shows

Sharjah Islamic Bank has hired a group of banks to arrange a global investor call ahead of a potential issuance of five-year U.S. dollar-denominated sukuk. The bank hired Standard Chartered, Bank ABC, Citi, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD Capital, First Abu Dhabi Bank, the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector, KFH Capital and Mashreqbank to arrange the call.

Global high net worth (HNW) wealth will decline by $3.1 trillion in 2020: report

According to a new report released by Oliver Wyman and Morgan Stanley, Covid-19 will fundamentally change the way the Wealth Management industry in the Middle East operates. The report, called Wealth Management: After the Storm, highlights how a golden decade of growth for the Wealth Management industry has been drastically disrupted by Covid-19. Raji Souag, Partner at Oliver Wyman Middle East, sees global high net worth wealth declining by four percent, or $3.1 trillion in 2020. He believes that digitalisation and globalization will be among the immediate priorities of Wealth Management firms. Advisors will remain central to client relationships, however, they need to be supported with strong digital capabilities.

El-Gamal claims lender violated sharia terms on Tribeca tower loan

Sharif El-Gamal put together one of the most unusual financing packages when he secured a sharia-compliant construction loan four years ago for his Tribeca condo tower. El-Gamal is now claiming that the Malaysian bank that made the loan has violated the sharia terms. El-Gamal argues Maybank violated the terms of their agreement by refusing to release construction funds to complete the project at 45 Park Place. He is seeking damages equal to the projected sellout of the development about $245 million. Maybank claims El-Gamal defaulted on his loan when he failed to repay the $108 million balance when it came due in April.

International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation Signs US$15 million Murabaha Financing Facility to support SMEs in Bangladesh

The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) has approved a US$15 million Murabaha Financing Facility in favour of City Bank Limited in Bangladesh to support the Bank’s private sector businesses. The financing comes at a critical time as SMEs in Bangladesh and other OIC member countries face the social and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The financing is part of the COVID-19 Response Package through the provision of medical supplies, staple foods and fertilizer for agricultural production to OIC countries including Bangladesh, Egypt, Kyrgyzstan, the Maldives and Senegal.

#Indonesia raises $681.74mln from Islamic bonds auction, above target

Indonesia raised 9.5 trillion rupiah ($681.74 million) from sukuk, more than the indicative target of 7 trillion rupiah. The weighted average yields for the sukuk sold on Tuesday were lower than comparable notes sold at the previous auction on May 18. Incoming bids reached 28.64 trillion rupiah, compared to 18.85 trillion rupiah in the previous auction.

#UAE- Al Hilal Bank sells Al Hilal Takaful to Siraj Holdings

Al Hilal Bank has completed the sale of Al Hilal Takaful to Siraj Holding. The divestment was driven by Al Hilal Bank's strategic decision to focus on delivering high-quality retail banking services, primarily through digital channels. Al Hilal Bank was acquired by ADCB in May 2019, following the merger between ADCB and Union National Bank (UNB). Full integration of the three banks was completed in early April 2020.

Meezan bank completes issuance of Rs200 billion energy #sukuk

Meezan Bank concluded the issuance of Pakistan Energy Sukuk (PES) II worth approximately Rs 200 billion by state-owned Power Holding Limited (PHL). The Sukuk aims to help the Government in addressing the challenges for resolving circular debt in the country’s power sector. This is the second issuance of this series of sukuk, bringing the total size of the sukuk to approximately Rs400 billion. The sukuk issue was 1.7 times oversubscribed. The transaction is structured for ten years, with six monthly profit (rental) payments at a rate equivalent to 6 Month KIBOR -10 bps, as determined through the book building process.

Humania’s US$125 Million Islamic Financing Facility

Clifford Chance has advised four international development finance institutions on a US$125 million Islamic financing facility to Humania. Led by International Finance Corporation (IFC), the institutions involved in the consortium were: the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation (Finnfund), and OPEC Fund for International Development (OPEC Fund). Humania is a private healthcare company within the Bait Al Batterjee Group. The financing will be used to develop greenfield general hospitals in Alexandria (Egypt), and Casablanca (Morocco).

Dubai Islamic Bank closes $1bn #sukuk

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) closed a $1 billion (Dh3.67bn) 5-year sukuk with a profit rate of 2.95%. The sukuk attracted more than 170 investors with the order book rising to over $4.5bn. The sukuk was issued as a drawdown under DIB’s $7.5bn Trust Certificate Issuance Programme, which is listed on Euronext Dublin and Nasdaq Dubai. It is the first public benchmark sukuk issuance from a regional financial institution after the Covid-19 outbreak. Bank ABC, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD Capital, First Abu Dhabi Bank, HSBC, ICBC, The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector, KFH Capital, Sharjah Islamic Bank and Standard Chartered Bank acted as joint lead managers and bookrunners on this transaction.

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