MENA

Prominent Turkish bankers, businesspeople see no macroeconomic reason for currency volatility

For Turkey's bankers and businesspeople it has been impossible to explain the high volatility in the exchange rate over the past few weeks. The fundamentals of the Turkish economy are solid and macroeconomic indicators fail to account for the recent slide in the Turkish lira, which dropped by more than 40% since the beginning of this year. These fluctuations are seen as manipulations on the Turkish lira and economy, as part of an economic war waged against Turkey by U.S. President Donald Trump. The U.S. dollar tumbled nearly 5% against the Turkish lira on Tuesday. European shares rebounded Tuesday as the Turkish currency firmed. The Central Bank introduced measures on the Turkish lira and the foreign exchange market (FX) liquidity management. The bank said it would provide all the liquidity needed by banks and closely monitor markets and prices, while raising collateral FX deposit limits for lenders' lira transactions from 7.2 billion euros ($8.2 billion) to 20 billion euros.

Physical Gold #Fund SP announces Shariah compliance

Physical Gold Fund SP (PGF) has been endorsed as Shariah-compliant by Amanie Advisors. Amanie Advisors issued the fatwa in accordance with the Shariah Standard on Gold set by the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) and developed in cooperation with the World Gold Council. According to Alex Stanczyk, managing director of Physical Gold Fund SP, this fund is unique in the Mena region and is a perfect fit for the values expected by Islamic investors.

RAM Ratings: #Turkey rating downgrade triggers Kuveyt Turk downgrade

RAM Ratings has downgraded Kuveyt Turk's long-term rating to A1/Stable from AA3/Negative. The rating of KT Kira Sertifikalari Varlik Kiralama’s RM2.0 billion Islamic MTN Programme (2015/2025) has been revised downwards to A1(s)/Stable from AA3(s)/Negative. The Bank’s short-term financial institution rating remains unchanged at P1. The rating actions were triggered by the downgrade of Turkey’s sovereign ratings to gBB2(pi)/Stable/gNP(pi) from gBBB3(pi)/Negative/gP3(pi), due to an erosion of the country’s fiscal discipline. Kuveyt Turk has a relatively favourable funding profile, with a moderate reliance on market-based funding compared to the industry norm. The bank’s customer deposit base is well diversified. The bank’s liquidity profile is robust, with an average liquidity coverage ratio of 230% in fiscal year 2017.

AAOIFI holds public event

The Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) held a public hearing of two of its standards hosted by Banque du Liban (BDL) (Central bank of Lebanon) in Beirut, Lebanon. AAOIFI also held its 10th meeting of the AAOIFI Accounting Board (AAB), where the Board deliberated on the Exposure Draft on Ijarah and Ijarah Muntahia Bittamleek, and the Standards Review and Revision Project. Several public hearings for AAOIFI standards have earlier taken place in Bahrain, Egypt, Pakistan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and future public hearings will be held during 2018 in different parts of the world to obtain industry feedback on other exposure drafts already issued by AAOIFI.

Will Islamic bonds help revive #Egypt's economy?

The Egyptian government plans to issue dollar-dominated and euro-dominated sukuk over the next fiscal year. Finance Minister Mohamed Maait made the announcement, expecting that the issuance of the Sharia-compliant bonds would attract huge demand. He added that the government would introduce amendments to the existing laws to enable the issuance. On April 11, the government approved a draft law to establish a sovereign fund aimed at making the best use of state assets with a capital of 5 billion Egyptian pounds (about $279 million). The Egypt Fund will benefit several infrastructure projects, create more job opportunities and reduce the budget deficit. The Egyptian government is also planning to float shares in state-owned companies to draw more local and foreign investors to the stock market.

#Maroc : Vers le lancement du premier #sukuk souverain

Le royaume chérifien se prépare à lancer son premier sukuk pour un montant de 105 millions de dollars. Le ministre des Finances, Mohamed Boussaïd s’est voulu clair et rassurant indiquant notamment que le Maroc émette son premier sukuk souverain dans les semaines à venir. D’est pour la matérialisation de cette émission que le Conseil des ministres, tenu le 7 juin 2018 a adopté un projet de décret permettant aux autorités monétaires de fixer les caractéristiques et les modalités d’émission des sukuk souverains. La Banque centrale marocaine avait accordé des licences à cinq banques islamiques et autorisé trois autres banques traditionnelles à ouvrir des fenêtres islamiques.

#Germany and Islamic Development Bank support Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem

Cancer patients from the Palestinian territories can soon benefit from a new modern diagnosis apparatus, financed by Germany and the Islamic Development Bank. The Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH) in East Jerusalem received a PET/CT scanner which allows modern cancer diagnosis. Mr. Peter Beerwerth, the German Representative in Ramallah praised the valuable work the AVH is doing. AVH, managed by the Lutheran World Federation, is the first and only hospital to provide special therapies in the Palestinian territories. Here, about 1.800 patients are treated yearly. Germany contributed an amount of 1,2 million USD for the PET/CT system. The Islamic Development Bank contributed some 400.000 USD.

Executive #education : Dauphine #Tunis se lance dans la finance islamique

L’Université Dauphine Tunis lance un executive master intitulé "Principes et pratiques de la finance islamique". La première promotion se déroulera de janvier à juillet 2019 pour 420 heures de cours, en anglais, en français et, pour partie, en arabe. Le programme se divise en cinq modules: principes de la finance islamique, principes et pratiques de la banque commerciale islamique, principes et pratiques de l’investissement et du financement de projets en finance islamique, principes et pratiques de la gestions d’actifs islamistes et de l’assurance Takaful et enseignements complémentaires. Les enseignements seront dispensés par l’équipe pédagogique de l’Université Paris Dauphine, menée par les co-directeurs Kader Merbouh et Kaouther Jouaber-Snoussi.

New #Egypt Finance Chief Looks to #Sukuk for Funds

Egypt is considering tapping the international sukuk market in the coming fiscal year, as it looks to diversify funding sources. The issuance would mark a revival of a plan shelved since 2013 when the government issued the law to pave the way for the country’s first Islamic bond. Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said that the ministry has yet to discuss how much it wants to raise from conventional bond sales in the coming fiscal year. The focus is shifting toward long term borrowing. The government is also planning on launching the first offerings of stakes in public sector companies in July or August. The initial stakes are expected to raise between 15 billion and 18 billion pounds.

#Morocco's Islamic 'Participatory' Banks: 71 Agencies and MAD 1.1 Billion in Loans

Since the launch of Islamic 'participatory' banks in July 2017, more than 71 agencies have joined the non-interest banking program throughout Morocco. Abdellatif Jouahri, the governor of Bank Al Maghrib (Morocco’s central bank), said the participatory banks have granted a total of MAD 1.1 billion in loans. Jouahri highlighted the special interest that murabaha is especially attractive for both real estate and automobile customers. The governor stressed that Morocco is preparing to issue its first sukuk in July 2018, which will complement the services offered by participatory banks. While the order approving the takaful circular has already been finalized, the legislative texts are still being finalized.

#Morocco to issue first sovereign Islamic bond worth 1 bln dirhams

Morocco is preparing to issue its first sovereign sukuk worth 1 billion dirhams ($105 million). According to Finance Minister Mohamed Boussaid, the legal framework is now prepared and issuance is expected in the coming weeks. Earlier, the cabinet adopted a decree allowing financial authorities to define different types of sovereign sukuk, in line with the opinion of Morocco's council of Muslim scholars. Last year, Morocco's central bank approved five requests to open Islamic banks and allowed subsidiaries of three French banks to sell Islamic products. Morocco is the most advanced among its North African neighbours in developing Islamic finance, but Tunisia and Algeria have also started to explore Islamic banking.

UNHCR calls on Muslims to aid refugee families through #Zakat contributions

UNHCR, the UN's Refugee Agency, is counting on the generosity of Muslims to allocate their Zakat to refugee families before the end of the Holy Month. UNHCR provides much-needed cash assistance to extremely vulnerable Syrian refugee families without any alternative sources of income. Zakat contributions this year have already saved 1,152 refugee families in Jordan and Lebanon from falling deeper into debt and poverty, and from the risk of exploitation. However, 5,465 families are still in urgent need of sustainable cash assistance. A contribution of approximately Dhs/ SAR 8,000 ($2,000) feeds, clothes and houses an extremely vulnerable family for a year. According to UNHCR Head of Private Sector Partnerships Houssam Chahine, Zakat allocation is guaranteed to make an immediate difference in the lives of refugee communities in the Middle East.

Dana Gas receives $40mn from #Egyptian government

UAE based natural gas producer Dana Gas has now received almost $90mn so far this year from the North African nation.

#Turkey holds great potential for Islamic finance

According to Abdelilah Belatik, secretary general of the General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI), Turkey's potential for Islamic banks is very big. Turkey has three participation banks, Al Baraka, Kuwait Turk, and Turkiye Finans, which are operating overseas already. Turkey's Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) started developing comprehensive regulations for participation banks. Belatik said countries like Bahrain and Malaysia have developed their entire system of infrastructure for Islamic finance, which is very important for the development of the industry. This year, CIBAFI chose Turkey to host its annual Global Forum. The Forum is focusing on how the industry will fulfill its obligations while remaining competitive and relevant within global financial markets.

Islamic Development Bank finalizing 4-year investment plan with #Turkey

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) is working on finalizing a four-year partnership strategy plan with Turkey. Walid Abdelwahab said the IDB aims to invest in various sectors that will fuel growth, such as infrastructure, energy, transportation and education. He said the bank aims to support value chain development in Turkey to enable the country to become more competitive through linking it with global value chains. He added that the bank appreciates Turkey's experience with high-speed railways. IsDB is preparing a documentary on this topic for other member countries of the Group that are interested in this technology.

#Morocco to Issue its First #Sukuk Islamic Bonds in 2018

Morocco will finally launch its first sukuk in 2018. According to Hicham Talby, head of the financial sector department at the Ministry of Finance, the new financial instruments that will be operational this year will include four different formulas: Ijara, Wakala, Musharaka, and Murabaha. First, the government must complete the operational, legal, and regulatory aspects of Islamic finance. As Morocco’s first sovereign debt is taking some time to be issued, Talby expects the process to be much faster for the next three planned sukuk issues. The government originally adopted legislation allowing Islamic banking and insurance in January 2014, but there was a delay in authorization.

Iyad Asali, General Manager, Islamic International Arab Bank: Interview

In this interview, Iyad Asali, General Manger of Islamic International Arab Bank speaks about the future of Islamic banking in Jordan. The Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ) reported that 69% of the population in Jordan are financially excluded. This gives Islamic banks an opportunity to develop new financial services for this segment. Jordan’s Islamic banks are currently trying to take advantage of this situation to raise awareness of their services. They are also working to improve financial literacy through media, events, social networks and conferences. Over the past five years Islamic International Arab Bank has developed a new framework for sharia-compliant SME financing in coordination with the CBJ. This cooperation led to the founding of an Islamic tool for mobilising funds to SMEs at subsidised costs and the establishment of a sharia-compliant fund to guarantee start-ups financing. This programme empowers a large segment of SMEs across various sectors, especially those owned by young entrepreneurs and women, and those located outside Amman.

La Francaise launches sharia-compliant #real estate account

La Francaise Forum Securities (FS) has launched its sharia-compliant real estate securities separately managed account. The account has been developed for an unnamed Islamic investment manager based in Kuwait. La Francaise FS will select securities with an above average risk adjusted total return to form a portfolio of 30 to 50 stocks. According to Jana Sehnalova, managing director of La Française FS, the account is designed for institutional investors with an Islamic finance focus. She said that La Francaise FS was investigating the viability of developing a fund based on the same strategy as part of the existing product line managed by Groupe La Francaise.

#Morocco to issue its first #Sukuk this year

Morocco will issue its first bonds on Islamic market this year. According to Hicham Talby, head of the finance ministry’s treasury department, the country plans to issue four dirham-denominated sovereign sukuk. While the first issuance would take much time due to the implementation of a legal framework for the operation, authorities expect the process to be faster for the three other issuances. Mali has already launched its first sukuk issuance for 2018. Likewise, South Africa and Sudan have recently announced their intention to follow the move in 2018. The Moroccan government also wants to establish a sovereign sukuk fund, ahead of an increase in dirham-dominated Islamic bonds, over the coming years.

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