MENA

Maroc- En attendant le #takaful, le financement de l'immobilier par les banques islamiques sera une prise de risque

Deux banques islamiques ou ''participatives'' ont démarré mercredi 26 juillet 2017 officiellement leurs activités au Maroc. Le takaful n’existant pas encore sur le marché, explique Adnane El Guetari, le directeur général d'Umnia Bank. Si les Umnia Bank et Bank Assafa se sont engagées dans ce créneau pour des opérations de base, toute la profession attend cependant la réaction de la Banque centrale du Maroc, Bank Al Maghirb, et les modèles de contrats contrat ijara et au placement des dépôts d’investissements. Selon l’agence américaine de notation Standard & Poor's, la finance islamique pourrait représenter entre 10 et 20% du système bancaire du Maroc.

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).

Warrants issued for 78 Bank Asya senior executives: 47 detained

The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for 78 senior executives of Bank Asya, which was confiscated by the Turkish government. Bank Asya was associated with the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 due to its links to the Gülen movement. Forty-seven of the 78 bank executives have been detained so far on suspicion of membership in an armed terrorist organization and financing a terrorist organization.
Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement. According to a report by the state-run Anadolu news agency, 154,694 individuals have been detained and 50,136 have been jailed due to alleged Gülen links.

Race to become Islamic banking’s #fintech hub

The Middle East has been a late adopter of financial technology, or fintech. According to Accenture, of more than $50bn in fintech investment globally since 2010, only 1% has gone to the Middle East and North Africa. Now several cities are racing to establish themselves as fintech hubs. Last year Cairo launched two accelerators and Abu Dhabi has created the region’s first regulatory sandbox, allowing new products to be tested for two years without full regulatory compliance. In March Abu Dhabi signed an agreement with the Monetary Authority of Singapore to undertake joint fintech projects and Dubai’s new fintech accelerator has already begun accepting applications. Bahrain, too, has teamed up with Singapore to develop a fintech ecosystem. Fintech can serve the masses of migrant workers in need of remittance services and it can also bring cheaper services to the unbanked. According to the World Bank, over four-fifths of the population in the region are unbanked, which means a higher proportion than anywhere else in the world.

Fitch: Deposits in #Morocco Islamic Banks to Grow up to 10 %

According to Fitch Ratings, Islamic banking products in Morocco could expand their deposit bases by 5 to 10%. Fitch notes that the ability to grow the deposit base is positive for Morocco’s economic development because deposits represent about 70% of banking sector funding. The experts also noted that banking penetration is already high in Morocco, with 70% of adults holding a bank account. Therefore, participation banking is unlikely to take a significant market share from the well-established conventional banks. Growth rates in the Moroccan banking sector have been volatile in recent years, reflecting unsteady economic trends. Deposit growth has outstripped loan growth, but credit demand is set to accelerate. The ability to offer participation banking services could broaden the pool of potential depositors in the country, mitigating the competitive pressure.

US$50 million to Support Health Services to Poor Jordanians and Syrian #Refugees [EN/AR]

The World Bank Group has committed US$50 million to support the Government of Jordan in maintaining primary and secondary health services to poor uninsured Jordanians and Syrian refugees. The assistance approved today is part of a larger US$150 million project, which is financed by the Islamic Development Bank and the World Bank. The Jordan Emergency Health Project will help the Ministry of Health continue to provide critical health care to target populations. According to Aaka Pande, World Bank Senior Health Economist, the refugee influx has been associated with a reemergence of communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and measles. Moreover, the influx has led to increased waiting times and a shortage of health workers. In addition to its short-term objectives, the project aims to prepare a roadmap of ways to improve the efficiency of the health system in the medium to long term.

#Turkish Banking Team Plans #Iran Visit to Resolve Halkbank Dispute

A delegation from the Central Bank of Turkey will soon meet their Iranian counterparts in Tehran to remove hurdles in the way of bilateral banking relations. Particular difficulties include Iranian citizens' bank accounts in the Turkish Halkbank. The banking ties were overshadowed by the detention of a senior Halkbank official in the US in March for allegedly violating Iran sanctions. Mehmet Hakan Atilla was accused of conspiring with Reza Zarrab, an Iranian-Turkish gold trader, to channel hundreds of millions of dollars through the US financial system on behalf of Iranian companies. Turkish Minister of Economy Nihat Zeybekci is also scheduled to visit Iran on June 21 to negotiate a preferential trade agreement between the two sides.

#Morocco opens first Islamic bank branch months after approval

The first Islamic bank in Morocco, Umnia Bank, has opened its doors five months after the central bank's approval. The North African country long rejected Islamic banking because of concern about Islamist movements, but its financial markets lack liquidity and investors. Umnia Bank is a joint venture of Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB) and Moroccan lender Credit Immobilier et Hotelier (CIH Bank). Umnia recently opened a total of three agencies, two in Casablanca and one in Rabat. The bank plans to open more branches throughout the country. Morocco is the most advanced of North African neighbours in developing Islamic finance. Tunisia and Algeria are also starting to explore the sector.

Wifak Bank, une 3e banque islamique tunisienne

Le lancement officiel des activités de Wifak International Bank s’est tenue dans le hall du nouveau centre d’affaires au nord de Tunis. Wifak Bank a eu son agrément de la Banque centrale de Tunisie (BCT), le 8 octobre 2014. Selon M. Mellousse, Wifak Bank va, dans une première étape, mener ses activités à travers 9 agences réparties dans diverses régions du pays. La nouvelle banque proposera à ses clients un bouquet de services et produits bancaires modernes et innovants conformes aux dispositions de la finance islamique. Il convient de noter que les 3 banques islamiques tunisiennes ambitionnent d’atteindre, d’ici 2022, 15% des actifs bancaires contre 7% actuellement. La concurrence entre les banques islamiques et classiques est donc sérieusement lancée.

Dana Gas receives partial payment of $50m from #Egypt

Dana Gas has received an initial payment of $50 million (Dh184 million) from the Egyptian government as partial payment of its outstanding receivables. This payment represents 18% of Dana Gas Egypt’s total overdue receivables of $283 billion (Dh1.038 billion) as of the end of first quarter 2017. Dana Gas, which pumps most of its gas at fields in Egypt and Iraq, is seeking to recover payments from both countries for overdue bills. The company was owed $1 billion from Egypt and the self-governed Kurdish region in northern Iraq. CEO Patrick Allman-Ward had previously said that the company will not make any new investments in Egypt due to delay in receiving payments. In the first quarter 2017, Dana Gas reported gross revenues of $118 million and net profit of $11 million. Overall group production was 69,900 barrels of oil equivalent per day, 16% higher compared to first quarter of 2016.

Egyptian central bank to launch a #microfinance initiative next Tuesday

Egypt’s central bank is launching its anticipated microfinance initiative to support the country’s small and medium-sized businesses. According to the new initiative, the banks will not be obliged to establish a special unit for microfinancing; as they can provide both direct and indirect lending to clients. The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) plans to allocate 20 billion Egyptian pounds ($1.2 billion) for the microfinancing activities in the country. CBE deputy governor Gamal Negm announced earlier that the central bank is preparing the ground to launch an initiative dedicated for the microfinance sector before the end of this month.

Middle East WEF to focus on building jobs for young people

The World Economic Forum’s Middle East and North Africa meeting takes place this year at the Dead Sea in Jordan. The meeting’s formal programme has the theme: Enabling a Generational Transformation, and is based on three interrelated pillars: two long term and one urgent. The first long term pillar focuses on how to enable innovation and youth empowerment by using new technologies like bio-tech, nano-tech and artificial intelligence. These new technologies will continue to develop, so training people in these areas will be a long-term solution in creating new jobs for young people. The second pillar is about finding a framework for an inclusive economic transformation. The third and more urgent pillar is the search for how to best cope with the vast humanitarian crisis in the region. The common thread in all three strands is an optimism that anarchy and sectarian chaos can be defeated.

Islamic Development Bank Provides #Jordan With US$100 Mln In Aid

The Islamic Development Bank signed an agreement with Jordan to provide the Kingdom with US$100 million in loans and grants. Jordan's Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Imad Fakhoury said that the deal included a US$79 million loan and a US$21 million grant, adding that the amount would be used to finance projects in the field of health. The minister also highlighted pressure on Jordan in various fields of energy, education and infrastructure since the start of the Syrian crisis in 2011. The minister urged all countries to provide further support to Jordan to help it cope with the challenges, noting that such support is vital for Jordan. Between 1975 and 2017, the bank provided Jordan with US$975.6 million in loans and grants to support projects in various fields.

Gassner's picture

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...

UNICEF: 29 Million Children Live in #Poverty in the Middle East

A UNICEF study covering 11 countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) states that at least 29 million children live in poverty, one in four children in the region. The analysis said that children were deprived of the minimum requirements in two or more of the most basic life necessities. These include basic education, decent housing, nutritious food, quality healthcare, safe water, sanitation and access to information. It added that lack of education was one of the key factors of inequality and poverty for children. The study showed that almost half of all children were not fully immunized or were born to mothers who did not get birth assistance. UNICEF also revealed that one in five children were forced to walk more than 30 minutes to fetch water, adding that more than one third of children live in homes with no tap water.

Hogan Lovells advises on the first #Sukuk to be listed on ISE's Global Exchange market

Hogan Lovells has advised Aktif Bank on the first Sukuk ever to be listed on the Global Exchange Market of the Irish Stock Exchange (ISE). The $118million Sukuk was issued under a mudarabah structure with GAP Insaat Yatirim ve D?s Ticaret, a Turkish construction company. While the Irish Stock Exchange has listed Sukuk historically, this is the first Sukuk to be listed on the ISE's Global Exchange Market. The Hogan Lovells team was led by Imran Mufti (Partner, Dubai), with support from Annalisa Feliciani (Counsel, Rome), Ahmet Kalafat (Senior Associate, Dubai) and trainees Marjun Parcasio and Luigi de Angelis. Onur Aksoy from Aktif Bank said this Sukuk represents a milestone for Islamic capital markets originating out of Turkey. He added that Aktif Bank was pleased to work with the Hogan Lovells team, benefitting from their deep understanding of Islamic finance and capital markets.

#Tunisia starts preparatory work for debut #sukuk issuance

The government of Tunisia is preparing its first ever issuance of a sukuk with the Tunisian stock exchange, Bourse de Tunis and Nasdaq Dubai. Preparation work will consider commercial, legal and regulatory issues, including sharia-compliance aspects. This January finance minister Lamia Zribi said that Tunisia needs about $2.85 billion in external funding in 2017 and plans to issue a sukuk of $500 million to cover its budget deficit. Then in February the North African country issued a €850 million bond with a seven-year maturity.

Firm Financing and #Growth in the #Arab Region

This paper provides a first analysis of the extent to which firms in the Arab region use capital markets to obtain financing and grow. It addresses two questions: First, how many and which firms issue equity, bonds, and syndicated loans in the Arab region? Second, how do these firms perform relative to non-issuing firms? Two main findings emerge from the analysis. Over the last two decades, the amounts raised in equity, bond, and syndicated loan markets have considerably increased. The typical issuing firm is larger, grows faster, is more leveraged, and holds more long-term debt relative to the typical non-issuer. The firm size distribution of issuers lies to the right and shifts more rightwards over time, indicating a divergence in firm size among listed firms.

CASE STUDY: Etihad Lands Largest #Sukuk Debut in #MENA #Aviation History

#UAE-based airline Etihad Airways tapped the Islamic finance market with the largest ever sukuk issuance in the MENA region’s aviation history. In November 2016, Etihad Airways made its debut on the debt capital markets with a benchmark US$1.5bn sukuk deal. Etihad was initially rumoured to be raising US$500mn, but there was strong demand and the company’s debut US$1.5bn sukuk became the highest rated paper from an airline issuer. The book consisted of high-quality investors from the MENA region, Asia and Europe, creating significant price tension that enabled Etihad to optimize pricing and issue size. Banks dominated the distribution cross-section (77%), while 13% of the notes were allocated to fund managers, 5% to private banks, 4% to insurance and pension funds, 1% to other investors. The 5-year sukuk was launched under the newly established Islamic Trust Certificate (Sukuk) programme and represented a landmark debt capital market transaction.

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