A few weeks ago we saw the launch of a Sharia-compliant mobile phone-based loan service. The new service, called Trust Network Finance was rolled out by Allianz in Indonesia. TNF reflects the big opportunities in Indonesia for mobile money and for Sharia-compliant services.
Although roughly 60% of Indonesians have a mobile phone, only 3% of the population is reportedly aware of mobile money. Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population, and Sharia-compliant finance has grown over the past few decades in the country; however by the end of 2016 Islamic financial institutions in Indonesia are only expected to hold 5% of the nation’s total banking assets.
Of the country’s roughly 250 million citizens, 60% are unbanked. It’s estimated that there are 50 million MSMEs in Indonesia, which make up about 97% of the country’s enterprises.
Issuance of Sukuk is up all around the world, up on last year, due to current economic factors and the goodwill for the instrument among global investors
The good news on the Sukuk front is continuing. The proportion of Sukuk bond issuance hit a record in the first quarter of 2016 in the main markets for this form of finance, said Fitch Ratings. According to Fitch’s data, there is a clear upwards trend in use of Shari'ah-compliant borrowing as more countries create legal frameworks to support issuance and as issuers try to attract a broader investor base, including Islamic finance investors.
Total new Sukuk issuance in the Gulf Cooperation Council, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Singapore and Pakistan was around $11.1 billion in the first quarter of 2016, with a maturity of 18 months. Issuance was up 22% from the fourth quarter of 2015 and 21% from a year earlier, while non-Sukuk bond issuance of $17.1 billion was down 23% quarter on quarter and 45% year on year. Sukuk represented 39.3% of total bond and Sukuk issuance in these countries during the quarter—the highest proportion in the past eight years.
Highlights and Performance
Bloomberg Malaysia Sukuk
Bloomberg Malaysia Sukuk Ex-MYR Total Return and Dow Jones Sukuk Total Return indices ended relatively flat at 103.9 (+0.02%) and 159.8 +0.01%) respectively, with yields tightened marginally by 0.6bps to 2.470%. Combined with the Fed‘s dovish meeting (June 15), uncertainty over the Brexit referendum jitters (June 23) and mixed signals from China over slowing economy bring the risk-adverse sentiment. The top performers over the week were INDOIS 3/26 and GS 9/19, which moved -11bps to -13bps; while the underperformers were dominated by banking papers — EIB 1/17, Noor Bank B3T1 and DIB B2T1 which widened 12bps each.
Bank Indonesia cuts key policy rates by 25bps in a surprise move, with the BI rate, deposit facility rate and 7-day reverse repo rate now stand at 6.50%, 4.50% and 5.25% respectively. In addition to the rate cut, BI also raised the minimum threshold on loan-to-funding ratio to 80% from 78%. Indonesia risk premiums widened 1.5bps to 196.0bps.
From Canada, CI Financial, Manulife Financial, Royal Bank of Canada and Sun Life Financial are also included in the Hall of Shame. Jointly, these Canadian financial institutions invested US$565 million in cluster munitions producers between June 2012 and April 2016.
The report by Dutch peace organisation PAX was released today in Ottawa, together with the Cluster Munition Coalition and Mines Action Canada, to put pressure on Canada and other governments to put an end to these investments.
“It is an absolute outrage that financial institutions are investing billions into companies that produce weapons which are banned under international law”, says Suzanne Oosterwijk, author of the PAX report. “Canada has also banned these weapons. It is time for financial institutions to stop disregarding the international norm with these explosive investments into producers of illegal weapons that maim and kill civilians.”
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and India’s EXIM Bank, which enables IDB to open its first branch in Ahmedabad. During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Saudi Arabia there were a wide range of discussions on business and investment in the background of the Kingdom’s $2 trillion Public Investment Fund. Islamic banking could restore equilibrium in Indian society by providing succour to debt-ridden farmers, labourers and other marginalised groups. Hence, Islamic banking has potential as a tool of financial inclusion.
A senior Iranian banker has dismissed a recent report by the research center of the country's parliament, which suggested that most banks in the Islamic Republic are on the verge of bankruptcy. Esmaeel Lalehgani, Vice Chairman and Managing Director at Bank Saderat Iran, has said that the country enjoys a strong and stable banking structure. He confirmed that there are some shortcomings in the system regarding the government's debts, low capital and overdue debts. However, these shortcomings do not mean that the banks are on the verge of the bankruptcy.
In Russia a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Islamic business and finance development Fund (IBFD) and TAWUN, a Shariah consulting company of Pakistan. The Pakistani delegation was led by S.M Muneer from the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan and Mehmood Arshad, the Founder of TAWUN. Arshad stated that the Russian market is very interesting for his organization and TAWUN has all the necessary experience and competence. They will support Russia to launch Shariah-compliant products and get additional funding from OIC countries.
India will get its first taste of sharia-compliant banking when the Islamic Development Bank launches operations in the state of Gujarat. No date has yet been announced, but already complaints have emerged within the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. Prominent BJP politician Subramanian Swamy says Islamic banking goes against India’s principles of secularism. India's prime minister Narendra Modi visited Saudi Arabia in April and signed an extensive agreement with the bank. Under the agreement, the IDB will establish its first Indian branch in the Gujarat city of Ahmedabad and go on to open more branches in India in the future.
Azerbaijan and Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) will discuss the opportunities of financing the country's agriculture. The topic will be discussed by ICD's general driector Khaled Al-Aboodiin during his visit in Baku on May 31. The agricultural projects will be financed through the new Food and Agribusiness Fund with an authorized capital of $600 million. The fund will mainly focus on the production optimization of the companies working in agriculture and a decrease in their logistics inefficiency.
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The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) will take part in financing of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project. The estimated cost of the project will exceed $10 bn. The annual capacity of the gas pipeline will reach 33 bn cubic meters. It is planned that the total length of the TAPI pipeline will be 1,814 km. Some 214 km will pass through the territory of Turkmenistan, 774 km through Afghanistan, 826 km through Pakistan. The project is expected to be completed in late 2019.
Iran is working on a plan to establish a joint bank with Azerbaijan. Elman Rustamov, the chairman of Azerbaijan's Central Bank (CBA) is discussing the matter with Iran's Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Ali Tayyebnia. The two neighbors are also discussing the opening of branches of the two countries’ banks in Baku and Tehran. The Iranian minister said the main obstacle on the way of banking cooperation is the existing sanctions against Iran's financial sector.
In Pakistan Islamic modes, financing and products have captured at least 15% of the overall financial market share in 2016. The interest is illustrated by the results attained by the UAE-based banks Alfalah and Bank Al Meezan. Bank Alfalah CEO Atif Bajwa reported a double-digit top line growth, Rs7.523 bn in CY-15, 33% growth from 2014. Meezan Bank reported a Rs2.67 bn profit for the first half of CY-2015. The bank has also introduced Meezan Asset Allocation Plan-1, Pakistan's largest asset management company.
Leader of Russia’s Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, is courting investment from Saudi Arabia. Kadyrov received a Saudi delegation in St Petersburg over the weekend, during which he discussed increasing the partnership between Chechenya and Riyadh. In January Kadyrov announced he is looking to open an Islamic bank, in order to attract investors from the United Arab Emirates and the Gulf.
The German car manufacturer Audi has partnered with BankIslami Pakistan to introduce its brand in the Pakistani market. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed with Premier Systems, Audi’s general importer in Pakistan. BankIslami will provide tailor-made financing packages to Audi customers across the country through its flagship product of Islami Auto Ijarah. The MoU was signed by Muhammad Yasin Khan, CFO of Premier Systems and Yasser Abbas, Section Head Auto Ijarah, BankIslami.
Alif Capital has been approved by the National Bank of Tajikistan to provide banking services in both hard currency and somoni, the currency of Tajikistan. Alif Capital is marketed as the first regulated microfinance institution in Tajikistan that offers Sharia-compliant finance. Its loan terms vary from four to six months, with an average size of $4,000 as of 2015.
Summit Bank has received approval from Pakistan's central bank to conduct due diligence on Burj Bank. Burj Bank held 4.4 billion rupees ($42 mn) in paid up capital as of December, compared with the regulatory minimum of 10 billion rupees. Burj Bank said it had shortlisted three financial institutions to conduct due diligence on a non-exclusive basis. It also received an extension from the central bank to meet the mimimum capital requirement until June 30.
Dr Ishrat Hussain, Chairman Center of Excellence for Islamic Finance emphasized that Islamic Finance should not be restricted to a faith based segment and the banking sector has to increase investment in agriculture, SME and Islamic Microfinance. He stated that the share of Islamic Banks is 13pc growing at the rate of 28%, however, there are still regulatory and legal challenges which need to be addressed to make a real shift in lending profiles.
Dubai Islamic Bank’s Group Chief Executive Officer Dr. Adnan Chilwan, on his first visit to Pakistan, outlined the detailed growth strategy for the franchise in the country. This newly defined strategy repositions the Bank’s medium term plans alongside the transformational growth the Group has achieved as part of their 2014-2016 strategic agenda. The event also marked and celebrated the successful 10 years of the Bank’s operations in the country.
Shariah-compliant financing is emerging as a viable alternative to conventional banking in order to fund infrastructure deals, which could help promote use of longer-term transactions in Islamic finance. This month Pakistani banks arranged Rs100 billion ($955 million) worth of 10-year Islamic bonds (sukuk) for a hydropower plant, the largest infrastructure deal to use Islamic financing in the country. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said Pakistan wanted to make Shariah-compliant financing its first choice for infrastructure and long-term financing needs.