UAE, Bahrain to Expand Islamic Cash Products

The only two central banks in the Gulf with products that allow Islamic lenders to make short-term investments are expanding their offerings as demand for cash-management tools rises. Bahrain’s central bank started a seven-day Islamic deposit facility last month, and the United Arab Emirates broadened the range of collateral Shariah-compliant lenders can use for overnight lending effective 1 April. Bahrain’s one-week facility is based on a wakalah contract, where the regulator invests cash on behalf of the lender. In the UAE, the central bank has expanded the list of eligible collateral for its Shariah-compliant overnight facility to include assets other than the regulator’s Islamic certificates of deposit.