Indonesia

Asia Islamic bonds turn to losses as the confidence in leaders ebbs

Dollar sukuk returns are turning into losses in Asia’s biggest Islamic finance markets as confidence in government leaders sours amid a regional sell off. Indonesia’s Shariah-compliant sovereign bonds due in 2024 have dropped 3.8% since April and the 2025 Malaysian debt lost 2.6%, compared with a 2.4% decline in a Bloomberg index of emerging-market conventional government notes. In that period, the rupiah plunged 6.4%, and the ringgit 13%. Both countries are grappling with an economic slowdown, falling commodity-export prices and capital outflows as the US prepares to raise interest rates. The reality is, investors have had to resign themselves to stagnant growth, so they were let down after buying into the story.

Dubai’s Noor Bank to help arrange Indonesian sukuk

Noor Bank is looking to Indonesia, Turkey and other international markets to escape tougher competition at home and take advantage of a booming global Sharia-compliant finance industry. Thus, Noor Bank plans to help arrange a sukuk or Islamic private placement on behalf of the Indonesian government, with the Dubai-based Islamic finance institution also underwriting part of the deal. Officials declined to specify the amount of the new sukuk but said it would be dollar based and would include other underwriters. The issue will help strengthen Indonesia's forex reserves and help Bank Indonesia maintain the stability of its exchange rate, Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said.

Empowering the Poor through Islamic Microfinance

According to a March 2014 data from the Central Statistics Agency, 28 million Indonesians are still below the poverty line, which is defined as living on less than IDR 10,091 (USD 0.86) per day. Of this number, 63% people live in the rural areas, while the remaining 37% have been urbanized. Jamil Abbas, the General Manager of PBMT Social Ventures in Singapore, thinks there is one solution that may be effective in solving this problem, which is through the ‘BMT’ concept. The BMT stands for Baitul Maal wat Tamwil, which can be informally translated to “The House of Social and Business”. BMT is an Indonesian model of Islamic microfinance institution.

Demand for sharia insurance products on the rise: Allianz

A recent survey carried out by private life insurer Allianz Life Indonesia in Jakarta, Bandung in West Java, Padang in West Sumatra and Samarinda in East Kalimantan showed a high demand for halal insurance products. As many as 97 percent of around 300 respondents agreed that halal investments were important. Furthermore, 93 percent of the respondents felt comfortable with sharia products because they provided transparent investments and profit-sharing schemes in addition to the management, which is according to Islamic principles. 87 percent of respondents had no problem to buy sharia products and 88 percent said it was important to apply religious values, including in financial management.

Haram edict on health insurance ‘misguided’

The latest fatwa from the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) declaring the national health insurance (JKN) program to be in violation of sharia law is deemed to be misguided, with officials saying that the public should not worry about the program being haram. The MUI issued the edict during an open meeting in Central Java recently, saying that the way the program was run by the Healthcare and Social Security Agency (BPJS Kesehatan) involved elements that were not consistent with sharia law, such as maisir (gambling) and riba (interest). House of Representatives Commission IX overseeing health said that it was up to the government to follow up on the demand by drafting a new regulation.

Islamic Banking in Indonesia Explained: New Rules & Foreign Ownership

Indonesian financial authorities are considering to ease foreign ownership limits for local Islamic banks and to promote new sharia-compliant financial tools in an effort to make the Islamic finance industry more attractive to foreign investors and the Indonesian population. The current low market share of Islamic banking in Indonesia in combination with the recent high growth pace and government support implies that there is plenty of room for further growth of the Islamic banking industry in Indonesia. In this context, Indonesia’s Financial Services Authority (OJK) developed and launched a five-year roadmap earlier this year, which aims to triple the market share of Islamic banks to 15 percent by 2023. The OJK also announced that it considers to ease ceilings on foreign ownership for Islamic banks.

Indonesia hopes new tools will boost appeal to foreign Islamic banks

Indonesian regulators are promoting new sharia-compliant financial tools and considering easing foreign ownership limits for domestic Islamic banks, seeking to make the sector more appealing to foreign lenders. This year the financial regulator, Otoritas Jasa Keuangan (OJK), launched a five-year strategy that aims to triple the sector's market share to 15 percent by 2023. Attracting foreign capital is part of those plans; the OJK is considering easing foreign ownership ceilings for Islamic banks, now at 40 percent. Meanwhile, companies can raise cash in foreign currencies more easily with Islamic instruments, after the country's national sharia board approved sharia-compliant currency hedging tools in April.

Indonesia's Islamic banks launch Islamic repurchase agreement

A group of Indonesian Islamic banks launched on Thursday a standard contract template for sharia-compliant repurchase agreements, aiming to broaden the liquidity management tools available in the sector. The standard will serve as an alternative to interest-based repurchase agreements. Currently Islamic banks in Indonesia rely on tools provided by the central bank, such as an Islamic overnight deposit facility known as FASBIS, while the new agreement would standardise bank-to-bank transactions and help ensure they are cost-effective. An initial group of 18 Islamic banks and Islamic banking units are signatories to the master agreement, which allows use of government-issued Islamic bonds as collateral while tenors can be of no more than one year.

Moody's: Outlook for Indonesia's banking system remains stable

Moody's Investors Service says the outlook on Indonesia's (Baa3 stable) banking system remains stable, reflecting an expectation that the country's banks will withstand a challenging operating environment owing to their strong buffers. Nonperforming loans will likely rise, given slowing economic growth, nonetheless, the banks are well-positioned to withstand any deterioration in asset quality and will maintain strong capital levels. Moody's conclusions were contained in its just-released "Banking System Outlook: Indonesia", which expresses Moody's view of how bank creditworthiness will evolve in this system over the next 12-18 months. The report looks at the banking system in the five categories of operating environment; asset quality and capital; funding and liquidity; profitability and efficiency; and system support.

Bitcoin Startup Company Helps Muslims Get Loans

A bitcoin startup based in the US is now helping Muslims get loans without breaking Islamic law. Matthew J. Martin, who converted to Islam five years ago while he was working fintech world, set up Blossom Finance which partners with microfinance institutions to make “investments” in small businesses then takes a 20 percent cut of the profits in order to still make money. In particular, Martin chose to use bitcoin since it doesn’t incur high transactions costs. Apart from that, the digital currency also features transparency, as the transactions are recorded in a public ledger called blockchain. Blossom is based in Indonesia, where there is a strong demand for financing that is compliant with Islamic law. The company has gotten its first investment from BMT Nusantara Condet, which help 10 to 20 micro businesses within Indonesia to expand.

US startup brings innovative Islamic microfinance to Indonesia

Founded in San Francisco and recently moved to Jakarta, a financial startup called Blossom aims at nothing less than shaking up the microfinance sector in Indonesia. The company, launched in October 2014 by US entrepreneur and practicing Muslim Matthew Joseph Martin, plans to bring Shariah-compliant microfinance to the country. What sets Blossom apart from other financing schemes are two special features. First of all, its entire platform is Shariah-compliant. The second feature is the fact that its platform uses the cryptocurrency Bitcoin for global money transfers, at least in the background, to keep transfer costs low and money flows transparent. Last month, Blossom announced that it will make a "pilot investment of up to 100,000" in Bitcoins into BMT Nusantara Condet to fund small to medium businesses in Jakarta.

Indonesian FinTech start-ups raise stakes for banks

A string of innovative financial products from Indonesian start-ups are circumventing the traditional payment and investment system, helping to broaden financial inclusion and challenging the established banks. Indonesia’s tech-savvy youth have already given rise to pioneering start-ups with social and religious missions and the so-called FinTech industry is set to disrupt traditional banks by offering everything from Bitcoin remittances to mobile pawn shops and retail lending platforms. With a large swath of the population still unbanked – in part due to the country’s challenging geography – new technologies in banking, transactions and payments offer significant growth potential, with banks under increasing pressure to respond to the trend.

Indonesia Accepts Islamic Megabank Challenge Shelved by Malaysia

The Indonesian government plans to merge the Shariah-compliant units of state-owned PT Bank Mandiri, PT Bank Negara Indonesia, PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia and PT Bank Tabungan Negara with paid-up capital of more than 15 trillion rupiah ($1.1 billion) next year, Gatot Trihargo, deputy minister for government-run enterprises, said. Financial Services Authority Chairman Muliaman Hadad said in January that the plan may materialize this year. In the Indonesian plan, the government will ask the four lenders to provide 5 trillion rupiah to 10 trillion rupiah of capital to their Shariah banking units before the planned merger, Trihargo said. The combined entity will help manage about 70 trillion rupiah and this would be used to fund infrastructure projects, he said.

President Jokowi hopes Indonesia to become shariah financial center

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has expressed hope that Indonesia will become a shariah financial center in view of the countrys huge potentials. He spoke at the launching of the "I Love Shariah Finance" campaign initiated by the Financial Service Authority (OJK). OJK chairman Muliaman D Hadad said that although the shariah finance has grown fast it is still relatively small compared to other national financial services. He said 12 shariah general banks with 22 shariah units in the country are owned by conventional banks and 163 shariah BPRs (local banks) with total assets worth Rp264.81 trillion and a market share of 4.88 percent. Until March 2015 total shariah shares traded at the shariah capital market reached Rp3,037.46 trillion with corporate bonds reached Rp7.1 trillion and shariah mutual funds Rp11.7 trillion.

Indonesia looks to new roadmap to boost Islamic finance

The five-year strategy from Indonesia’s financial services authority, Otoritas Jasa Keuangan (OJK), charts an extensive agenda ranging from reducing fees on sharia-compliant products to developing education and training programmes. Authorities want Indonesia’s Islamic banks to hold at least 15 percent of the market by 2023, an ambitious target considering the sector’s growth is stalling. Part of the problem lies with low financial literacy among the public, with Islamic finance further behind, according to a nationwide survey commissioned by the OJK. The roadmap would expand on education and promotion activities, while developing rules and industry certification for religious experts that endorse Islamic financial products.

RI set to join sharia infrastructure bank

Indonesia will become a founding member of a cross-border sharia-compliant infrastructure bank to help boost infrastructure development in various countries. The bank, named Islamic Investment Infrastructure Bank, will be cofounded with Turkey and the Saudi-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB), according to Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro. To qualify as a founding member, Indonesia must contribute more than US$300 million. The sharia infrastructure bank is expected to be established in the second half of this year, following Indonesia’s announcement to join as one of the founding members in the upcoming China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which is also expected to help finance the country’s infrastructure projects.

Indonesia to Co-Found Islamic Investment Infrastructure Bank

Indonesia is set to co-found a new cross-border Islamic (sharia-compliant) infrastructure bank together with Turkey and Saudi-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB). Indonesian Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said that Indonesia will contribute more than USD $300 million as start-up capital for the establishment of the new bank, named Islamic Investment Infrastructure Bank (IIIB), which aims to boost infrastructure development in various countries. The bank is set to be established in the second half of 2015. Muliaman D, Chairman of the Financial Services Authority (OJK), recently stated that Indonesia and Turkey are competing to become host of the Islamic Investment Infrastructure Bank’s headquarters.

Moody's: Indonesia's government roadmap will drive Islamic banking consolidation and growth

Moody's Investors Service says that the Indonesian government's (Baa3 stable) Islamic finance roadmap will encourage consolidation among smaller Islamic banks in the country, and foster the development of a larger domestic Sukuk market. The consolidation of state-owned and commercial Islamic banks will increase the size of the banks' capital bases, improve cost efficiencies, and allow increased underwriting in the corporate and infrastructure sectors. Moody's report points out that Islamic banks operate less extensive branch networks when compared to conventional banks, and their capital bases are smaller. Their riskier customer base has led to non-performing financing ratios that are consistently higher than the comparable non-performing loan ratios at conventional banks.

Garuda to fly with dollar debut in sukuk

Indonesian airline Garuda Indonesia has mandated a total of 15 banks to arrange its first dollar outing, which will be executed in sukuk format. The company has chosen National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) as sole global co-ordinator. Dubai Islamic Bank and NBAD are working as joint structuring banks.

Indonesia sells US$2b global sukuk in largest-ever offering

Indonesia completed its largest-ever global sukuk sale, selling US$2 billion of Islamic bonds at the lowest yield in three years. The Finance Ministry issued the notes at 4.325 per cent, lower than the initial 4.55 per cent indicated, Robert Pakpahan, director general at the budget financing and risk management office, said in a text message on Friday. That compares with the 4.35 per cent rate paid on similar Shariah-compliant debt sold last year and the record-low 3.3 per cent on 10-year sukuk issued in 2012.

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