Big interest, no interest

Despite strong recent growth for Islamic financial products, there still is room for further expansion, both in relatively unbanked Muslim countries in the developing world and in the West. As the orders for Britain’s issue showed, demand for sovereign sukuk is strong. Hong Kong and South Africa are scheduled to issue dollar-denominated sukuk later this month. Luxembourg, Russia, Australia, the Philippines and South Korea have also shown interest. However, there are potential pitfalls. There are calls for greater international standardisation. But since Islam has no overarching authority that can approve its rulings, there will always be disputes.