Standard & Poor's

Saudi Arabia’s Credit Rating Cut Two Levels

S&P dropped a bombshell on Thursday, downgrading the sovereign credit rating for Saudi Arabia by two notches. The ratings agency also slashed credit rating for Brazil, Kazakhstan, Bahrain and Oman as the pain from low oil prices continues to undermine the economic and financial foundations of commodity exporters around the world. The decision to cut Saudi Arabia’s rating was the most striking decision though. As the world’s largest oil-producer, sitting on some of the largest reserves in the world, Saudi Arabia has been a bastion of financial stability for a long time. But it is also has a highly undiversified economy, dependent on oil for nearly all of its export earnings and budget revenues. Last October, S&P cut Saudi Arabia’s rating one level.

World Bank's IFC gets preliminary top rating for $100 mln sukuk

The International Finance Corp (IFC), the World Bank's lender to the private sector, has received a preliminary AAA rating from Standard & Poor's for a proposed $100 million issuance of sukuk. Proceeds of the sukuk would be used to purchase a portfolio of diversified sharia compliant receivables and other assets, the credit rating agency said in a statement. The transaction would match the size of the last sukuk issued by IFC in 2009, a five-year deal which was listed on the Dubai and Bahrain bourses. The latest sukuk from IFC would rank on the same level as other senior unsecured financial obligations from the multilateral lender, S&P said.

Sukuk issuance falls as Malaysia central bank stops offering short-term Islamic bonds

Sukuk issuance plunged in the first five months of this year after Malaysia’s central bank stopped issuing short-term Islamic bonds, data from Standard and Poor’s showed. Issuance fell to US$33.7 billion in the year to May 31, down from $50.5bn in the same period of last year, according the rating agency’s figures. Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) was responsible for about $10bn of sukuk issuance last year, mostly in short-term sukuk with tenors of three months. Overall sukuk issuance excluding BNM was down 5.1 per cent against the previous year’s figure of $35.5bn. Demand for sukuk from investors outside the Islamic world has been significant, but a shortage of supply characterises an industry segment in which highly-rated sovereign issuances are sought after and many times oversubscribed. The collapse in the price of oil could further harm sukuk issuance.

Falling oil prices are unlikely to spur Gulf sovereign Sukuk issuance in 2015

Upside for sovereign Sukuk issuance in countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council is limited in 2015, in Standard & Poor's Ratings Services' opinion. The rating agency expects that lower oil prices will lead to fiscal deficits in some countries in the GCC, but nonetheless most governments' net asset positions will likely remain strong enough to enable their financing. Most sovereign Sukuk issues will relate to essential infrastructure projects and refinancing needs. Government-related entities' (GREs) financing activity, the availability of large government assets, and healthy liquidity in the banking sector all limit the linkage between changes in oil prices and the potential for sovereign Sukuk issuance, according to S&P.

S&P: Bank Asya will not affect ratings of Turkey

According to Standard & Poor's (S&P), the replacement of Bank Asya's management and upcoming general elections do not create risks for the banking industry. The international rating agencies' ratings for Turkey are not affected by the decision by the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency's (BDDK) in regards to the seizure of Bank Asia. S&P futher noted that the bank's share in the banking system was only around 0.1 percent and therefore does not create any systematic risk for the banking sector. Moreover, Turkey's banking system is being positively affected by geopolitical developments with Turkish banks benefiting from what is happening in Russia and Ukraine.

S&P: Ratings on Turkey unaffected by Bank Asya takeover

The Turkish banking regulator's decision to take over the management of Bank Asya did not affect the country's unsolicited sovereign credit ratings, Standard & Poor's announced Feb. 6. Turkey's current credit rating stands at BB+ with a "negative" outlook. The rating agency sees this decision as an isolated incident and not a harbinger of systemic distress in the banking sector or a determined politicization of Turkey's regulatory institutions, S&P said in the statement. Bank Asya's relatively small size makes it rather unlikely that there could be any contagion effects, it added. Following the Bank Asya takeover, the United States had called on all governments to ensure the monitoring of corporate and financial activity is done in line with international legal standards.

S&P lowers Saudi and Oman outlook on low oil price

Standard and Poor's has lowered the outlook for the world's top oil exporter Saudi Arabia to stable from positive and its Gulf partner Oman to negative on sliding oil prices. However, the ratings agency affirmed the strong "AA-/A-1+" long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings for Riyadh over the "strong external and fiscal positions" it has built up in the past decade when oil prices were too high. It said low oil prices will place pressure on the kingdom's gross domestic product (GDP) and per capita income because Saudi Arabia's economy is undiversified and vulnerable to a sharp and sustained decline in the oil price.

Standard & Poor’s renforce sa division finance islamique et Mohamed Damak promu Global Head

Standard & Poor’s (S&P) a annoncé la nomination de Dr. Mohamed Damak comme responsable mondial de la finance islamique. Il dirigera le secteur de Finance Islamique de S&P mis en place depuis 2007 pour renforcer l’offre de finance islamique. Dans ses nouvelles fonctions, il sera responsable de la croissance du secteur et de la notation en finance islamique chez S&P et de la recherche sur le secteur dans le monde entier. Ses nouvelles fonctions s’ajouteront à ses responsabilités actuelles au sein de l’équipe des services financiers pour la région CEEMEA chez S&P. L’agence de notation a récemment été nommée "meilleure agence de notation islamique" en 2014 par l’Islamic Finance News Awards Service Providers Poll.

S&P predicts strong third quarter for Gulf banks

Improving asset quality and declining credit losses will add up to healthy third-quarter earnings for the region’s banks, says Standard & Poor’s. With the release of quarterly results coming soon, S&P predicted in a report yesterday that the banks will sustain their strong performance – and should continue to do so into 2016. The ratings agency said in a report yesterday that even though interest rates are low, the reductions in banks’ non-performing assets should offset the contraction in net interest margins. Besides, the many infrastructure projects planned in the Gulf should translate into sustained streams of corporate lending.

S&P: Corporate and infrastructure Sukuk issuance likely to rise, despite recent dip

Corporate and infrastructure Sukuk issuance is likely to rise over the next few years, despite the dip in issues over the past eight months compared to the same period of 2013, says Standard & Poor's Ratings Services in its new report 'Why Corporate And Infrastructure Sukuk Issuance Is Declining, Despite Healthy Prospects'. S&P attributes the decline in corporate and infrastructure Sukuk in large part to cheap and ample bank liquidity, which has made issuers less reliant on the capital markets. The overall small pool of Sukuk issuers, and seasonal factors have also played a role. Nevertheless, corporate and infrastructure Sukuk issuance is expected to increase again over the next few years as companies' refinancing needs grow and entities establish themselves as Sukuk issuers.

Islamic banks likely to issue more AT1 debt – S&P

slamic banks in the Gulf and elsewhere could increase their issuance of Additional Tier 1 sukuk over the next two years to support growth, according to an analyst at Standard & Poor’s. Gulf nations including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE are at different stages of implementing Basel III guidelines, giving Islamic banks an additional incentive to strengthen their capital buffers. Most Islamic banks are well capitalised, but there are still compelling reasons to issue capital in the near future, according to S&P. Several bonds have already been issued that the issuers said were compliant with Basel III regulations. One of the key recommendations is that any instrument must contain elements of loss absorption to comply with Basel III.

Gulf Islamic banks climbing

A recent report by Standard and Poor indicates that while Islamic banks in the GGG are likely to grow faster than their conventional counterparts, profititability rates for the two banking models are converging as Islamic banks take a hit from comparatively lower interest rates and non-core banking revenues. The economies of the countries that make up the GCC are showing robust recovery after the 2008 economic crisis, with Qatar looking particularly strong. The region has one of the world's largest Islamic banking markets and the sector has healthy performance metrics. S&P predicts that Islamic banking in the region will continue to increase its market share, and they expect the operating environment over the next two years to remain supportive for Islamic banks' business and credit quality.

Qatar Islamic Bank assets grow faster than those of biggest rivals

Growth of Shariah-compliant banks in Qatar is poised to outpace that of the UAE lenders as borrowing rises amid $200bn in government spending for the 2022 soccer World Cup. Qatar's four Islamic lenders will almost double their asset base to $100bn by 2017, Standard & Poor's has said in a report. Last year, the assets of the largest Shariah-compliant bank in the country, Qatar Islamic Bank, grew five times faster than those of the biggest one in the UAE, Dubai Islamic Bank. Spending for the world's most-watched sporting event will spur lending for roads, stadiums and hotels.

UAE Islamic insurance providers issue warning as losses pile high

Islamic insurance providers in the UAE are struggling to generate surpluses amid cut-throat competition and overcapacity, Standard & Poor's warned in its report. The takaful industry must compete directly with conventional insurance companies that benefit from established economies of scale, have longer service track records and have more established distribution mechanisms to the marketplace. According to the report, the sector is now overpopulated with insurers. Insurance companies therefore require considerable capital investment to become established. Insurance companies are the most represented on the UAE stock markets, with 23 of the almost 100 publicly listed companies coming from the sector, but they are also some of the least traded stocks.

Jordan Islamic Bank downgraded to 'BB-'; Outlook Negative

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has lowered its long-term counterparty credit rating on Jordan Islamic Bank (JIB) to 'BB-' from 'BB' and affirmed the short-term counterparty credit rating at 'B'; the outlook is negative. The rating action follows S&P's downgrade of Jordan in May 2012. As per their methodology, the ratings on JIB are capped at the level of Jordan's long-term foreign currency sovereign credit rating, because it is the bank’s country of domicile. This mainly reflects JIB’s material exposure to domestic sovereign risk, which indirectly accounts for a significant portion of JIB's earning assets and equity. JIB is considered to be "moderately strategic" to its parent group, Bahrain-based Al Baraka Banking Group. However, JIB does not benefit from any notches of parent support because of the constraint imposed by the foreign currency sovereign ratings.

S&P: Outlook on Saudi Arabia revised to positive

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has revised the outlook on the long-term sovereign credit ratings on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from stable to positive. At the same time, the long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings were affirmed at 'AA-/A-1+'. The transfer & convertibility (T&C) assessment for Saudi Arabia is unchanged at 'AA+'. Saudi Arabia can be upgraded during the next 24 months if economic growth remains strong, since continued growth helps to reduce country's social challenges, including unemployment, and enhance productivity and competitiveness. The ratings are constrained by S&P's view that Saudi Arabia's political institutions are at early stages of development. Moreover, given the Saudi riyal's peg to the US dollar, monetary policy flexibility is viewed as limited.

S&P sees strong years ahead for sukuk

According to a report released by Standard & Poor’s (S&P), the sukuk market can expect another few strong years after global issuance of sukuk expanded for the fourth year in a row in 2012. The report “Investors Are Snapping Up Sukuk, Despite Questions About Creditworthiness” points out that there is little to hinder another strong performance by the sukuk market in the next few years. The sukuk market is believed to have the potential to grow and join the mainstream. New sukuk issuance worldwide is expected to exceed $100 billion again this year. However, yields in the region have been declining, and even fell under those on conventional debt.

TEXT - S&P affirms Islamic Development Bank

Standard & Poor's affirmed the rating of the Islamic Development Bank at 'AAA/A-1+'. The stand-alone credit profile of the bank is 'aaa', which is a reflection of the rating agency's assessment of the bank's "very strong" business profile and "extremely strong" financial profile. The outlook is said to be stable. According to expectations, IsDB will continue and maintain its strong credit metrics.

Weqaya Takaful issued BBB credit rating

Weqaya Takaful Insurance & Reinsurance was assigned a BBB credit rating with a stable outlook by Standard & Poor's. Thus, its rating has been reaffirmed. The rating is based on continuous regular surveillance of the company's performance for the second year in a row by the rating agency. It is a reflection of Weqaya's competitive position and strong capitalisation.

Islamic assets seen jumping to $3tn on Asia, GCC

It is expected that by 2015 global Islamic financial assets will double their amount and reach the mark of $3tn. These expectations are based on the fact that demand for the securities in the Gulf Co-operation Council and Malaysia lures issuers to the market. A classic imbalance between demand and offer in the Islamic finance can be observed, which is driven by demand. Yields on sukuk and paying returns on assets have reached a record low in the current month.

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