Kuwait News Agency

Warba Bank's financing portfolio grows by 40 pct

Warba Bank's financing portfolio grew by 40 percent to KD 543.8 million at the end of 2015, compared with KD 388.2 at the end of 2014. The bank's total assets reached KD 776.1 million at the end of 2015, compared with KD 594.8 million in 2014 with a growth rate of 30 percent, Vice Chairman and CEO Al Jassar Dakheel Al-Jassar added during the bank's general assembly on Wednesday. In 2015, the bank achieved significant growth in its operating income, which rose by about KD 7.7 million and amounted to KD 26.3 million, marking a growth of 42 percent compared with KD 18.5 million in 2014, Al Jassar stated.

GCC financing needs more than USD 151 billion -- authority

Financing needs for the GCC countries are estimated at USD 151.3 billion this year, according to M.R. Raghu, Head of Research at Markaz and Managing Director of Marmore MENA Intelligence. These funding requirements are expected to come from reserves (52%), USD 57.7 bn from domestic and international bond issuances (38%) and the rest through loans (10%). Overall, GCC governments are expected to raise between USD 285-390 billion cumulatively through 2020 through local and international bonds. Raghu said low oil prices have altered the fiscal landscape of GCC countries as the prized fiscal surplus registered in erstwhile years has flipped into large scale deficits to the tune of USD 160 bn in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

Warba Bank registers KD mln profits '15

Warba Bank said Tuesday it registered a million Kuwaiti Dinars (KD) (USD 3.3 million), or one fils per share, in profits for the Fiscal Year (FY) ending last December. The bank's 2014 profits were KD 115,000 (USD 383,526). Warba Bank said in a statement on Kuwait Stock Exchange's (KSE) website that its board members did not recommend distribution of profits for shareholders for FY 2015. Total shareholders' equity for last year was around KD 92.2 million against KD 91.8 million the year before. Warba Bank was established in 2010 with a KD 100 million capital, and was listed in KSE in 2013.

Turkey calls for stock markets to be Islamic shariah compliant

Chairman of Borsa Istanbul Talat Ulussever called on Tuesday for the development of trading in stock markets to be compliant with the Islamic Sharia. Transactions at the stock markets should be Islamic Sharia-compliant not only restricted on issuance of bonds, said Ulussever at the opening of the 1st conference on Islamic Finance. He said policies failed to revive the global economy since 2008, but rather increased burden of debts by more than USD 50 trillion. Ulussever said economic and financial crises were linked to huge debts. He said the Islamic financing should be fully based on Islamic foundations.

GCC countries face demographic evolution challenges -- report

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are facing major challenges related to their demographic evolution and oil-dependent economic structure, most notably Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. National population in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia is expected to keep growing fast thus putting pressure on their economies to create a vast amount of jobs for newcomers, the report by Asiya Capital Investment Company said. Saudi authorities are aware of this problem for many years, and developed several "Saudization" initiatives of the labor market. The approach that Kuwait took to nationalize its private labor market, establishing minimum levels of Kuwaiti employees in each company.

Kuveyt Turk starts operation in Frankfurt

Kuwait Turkey Bank (Kuveyt Turk) opened a branch in the German city of Frankfurt on Tuesday to be the first Islamic financial institution in the Eurozone. Hamad Al-Marzouq, Board Chairman of Kuwait Finance House (KFH), which owns the largest share in Kuveyt Turk, said he was proud to see the first Islamic bank operational in the eurozone. Kuveyt Turk seeks to encourage five million Muslims as well as non-Muslim clients in Germany to use the bank's services, he said. Kuveyt Turk was active in the German market since 2004 but was only capable of practicing partial banking operation in 2010. It was allowed to carry out full banking services in Germany last year.

Will Kuwait need Shari'ah board for Islamic banks?

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has recently issued a survey under "Islamic Finance: Opportunities, Challenges, and Policy Options" depicting a host of challenges of the industry, as well as offering proposals to countries with Islamic banks. One major proposal of the study is to establish a Shari'ah Supervisory Board (SSB). Bahrain has recently announced founding a central Shari'ah body to supervise the products of Islamic Finance and set rules to boost governance in the sector. CEO of the Kuwait Finance House (KFH), Mazin Al-Nahedh welcomed the idea, saying such central supervisory body is likely to overcome the differences over financing products of Islamic banking, as it will set the rules to be adopted, Al-Nahedh told KUNA.

World Social Forum concludes in Tunisia

The 13th World Social Forum (WSF) came to a close after discussing a range of political, social and cultural issues, notably the phenomenon of terrorism and its impacts on democracy. The attendees delivered a message of peace and solidarity from Tunisia's National Bardo Museum, the site of a recent deadly attack. The four-day gathering was held under the slogan of "Together to pursue the revolution of rights and dignity." It gathered representatives of over 5,000 national and multi-national NGOs, including worker, peasant and feminist movements, from 121 countries.

Int'l Islamic economic conf. opens in Doha

The 10th International Conference on Islamic Economics and Finance (ICIEF), themed "Institutional Aspects of Economic, Monetary and Financial Reforms," opened at Qatar National Convention Center on Monday. The agenda topics include, inter alia; Shariah solutions for liquidity problems in Islamic banks, especially after Basel III; the need for a central Shariah board in each central bank: the pros and the cons; evaluating the role of fiqh academies for the development of the Islamic financial industry, and whether the industry is influenced by their decisions and research; and 'taqlid' and 'ijtihad' - challenges facing fatwa issuance in Islamic finance.

KFH leads USD 500mln Sukuk issuance for Sharjah Islamic Bank

The Kuwait Finance House (KFH) through its subsidiary 'KFH Investment' has successfully managed to lead a USD 500 million issuance for Sharjah Islamic Bank (SIB) to finance expansion and growth plans. The Sukuk issue is 5 years Wakala/Mudharabah Sukuk deal which has received an over subscription almost 7 times the targeted size. The issue has attracted a USD 3.6 billion order books by 120 various accounts or investors. Geographical distribution shows that 63 percent of orders came from the GCC and the Middle East, 23 percent from Asia and 14 percent from Europe.KFH has acted as a Joint Lead Manager and Bookrunner.

Sukuk issuances surpass USD100 bln mark worldwide -- KFH

The global primary sukuk market issuances have cumulatively surpassed the milestone of USD100bln in the first ten months of 2014, said a monthly KFH report on Friday. The pipeline in the last two remaining months of 2014 is robust as the likes of the Government of Pakistan, Government of Tunisia, Dubai and corporate institutions in many countries have plans to tap the sukuk sector within the next few weeks. Overall, 2014 has become the third consecutive year when annual primary market issuances have surpassed the monumental USD100bln mark, said the report. The fourth quarter of 2014 (4Q14) has begun with a modest performance as October recorded a monthly issuance volume of USD8.27bln.

Global sukuk issuance hits USD 80.35bln in eight months - KFH report

The global primary market volume has reached USD80.35 billion in eight months ended August 2014 (8M14), 6.8 percent higher than the USD75.23bln volume in 8M13, Kuwait Finance House said in its monthly sukuk report. A strong pipeline waits in the remaining months of 2014 including debut sovereign issuances by the AAA-rated jurisdictions of Luxembourg and Hong Kong. KFH also stated that global primary sukuk market activity remained moderate in the month of August as a total of USD7.54 billion worth of new sukuk were issued. Analyzing by the country of sukuk origination, the report disclosed that the primary market activity was heavily concentrated in Malaysia.

Islamic Development Bank launches economic initiative for Arab countries

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has launched The Assistance For Trade in the Arab States (AFTIAS) aimed at boosting trade and economy as well as creating jobs in the Arab countries. Dr. Waleed Al-Wohaib, CEO of the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) and Chairman of Board of the initiative, said the ITFC would work side-by-side with international organizations that would implement the initiative to guarantee its success. The initiative consists of five UN agencies: the UN Development Program (UNDP), the UN Conference of Trade And Development (UNCTAD), the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the International Labor Organization (ILO), and the International Trade Center. It also include the Arab League, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Agadir Technical Unit and the Arab Maghreb Union, in addition to seven donor parties.

KFH Research: 33pct growth of global Sukuk issuance in September

A report issued by KFH-Research revealed that the global sukuk market recovered during the month of September last year to reach in its new issuances USD 7.8 billion - a 33pct growth. Malaysia still accounts for the largest share of the issuance where the Malaysian Ringgit came in first place in terms of the currencies that sukuk issued through. No sukuk were issued of the U.S. dollar in September. The most notable issuance during the month was by Saudi dairy and food firm Almarai Co. which completed the sale of a SAR1.7 billion (USD 453.1 million). Sovereign issuers made up 84.9pct of the primary market in September, while government related entities accounted for 4.0pct and corporates took the remaining 11.1pct. A total of 47 sukuk were issued in September vs. 55 sukuk in August and 66 in July.

Kuwaiti ambassador praises Kuwaiti-Qatar coordination to organize waqf forum

Kuwaiti Ambassador to Qatar Ali Salman Al-Haifi praised Kuwaiti-Qatar coordination, namely setting up the sixth waqf forum. The forum which concluded on Tuesday reflected keenness of the two countries on maintaining the Islamic endowment, which is one of the important pillars for social solidarity, Al-Haifi said. The two-day forum, which dealt with emerging issues and Islamic legitimacy, was organized by Qatar's Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, in coordination with Kuwait Awqaf awqaf authorities and the Islamic Research and Training Institute, an affiliate of the Islamic Development Bank Group.

Sixth Waqf forum to open in Doha Monday

The sixth waqf forum will kick off in Doha on Monday under auspices of Qatari Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassem Al Thani with delegations from 15 Arab and Muslim countries. The forum, themed "new issues and juridical rooting," will discuss a number of legal contemporary issues relating to the Islamic jurisprudence in the area 'Awaqf' (endowments). The gathering is being organized by the Qatari Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in collaboration with Kuwait Awqaf Public Foundation (KAPF) and the Islamic Development Bank Group (IDB).

Kuwait distinguished for organized charitable activities

Chairman of Al-Eslah Society (Islamic Society for Social Reform) Humoud Hamad Al-Roumi said at the 10th meeting of Deewan Al-Khair, an event that is part of Kuwaiti forum for charity work that Kuwait is a pioneer in the field of charity with all its various forms. Head of Al-Rahma International Charity's Palestine Office Dr. Waleed Al-Anjari offered a presentation about Gaza reconstruction project which reached the cost of USD 25 million, including various forms of humanitarian relief. Head of the Al-Rahma International Charity's Djibouti Office, Sa'ed Al-Otaibi, tackled his experience of charity work in Djibouti with the participation of young Kuwaitis in a journey they called "Life that has no life" in a country of total population of one million people. The majority of them are suffering from severe poverty.

IFSB seeks provision of regulations for financial agencies

The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) seeks to offer rules and regulations to organize work of Islamic banks and financial institutions.It has been providing a number of organizational and supervisory criteria for auditors, central banks, takaful companies or insurance firms. Qatar Central Bank governor Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud Al-Thani is chairman of the IFSB Board. IFSB's sukuk issuance program was granted A1 rating by Standard and Poors, paving way sukuk issuance for second quarter this year.

UK launches 1st Islamic finance task-force

The UK government launched on Monday the first Islamic finance task-force to help to cement London's status as the western hub for Islamic finance. It will support development of the UK's Islamic finance sector, increasing inward investment and strengthening the economy. The Task Force will include major industry figures to ensure that the UK's offer is promoted at home and abroad by both the public and private sector. The Islamic finance Task Force will be co-chaired by Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Greg Clark and Baroness Warsi, Senior Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Kuwait third largest trading partner of UK in Gulf -- eminent businessman

The State of Kuwait belongs to the three largest trading partner of the United Kingdom in the Gulf region with a trade exchange between of about 3.59 billion U.S. dollars. In order to strengthen bilateral relations, the Amir of Kuwait has made a visit to the UK at the invitation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

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