Malaymail Online

Global #sukuk likely to hit US$90b this year

Global sukuk issuance will likely reach US$85 billion-US$90 billion (RM356-377 billion) in 2017, driven by stronger issuance from Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. RAM Rating Services said Saudi Arabia and its GCC neighbours had raised sukuk worth US$42 billion at end-October, which was a 215.3% increase from a year ago. Malaysia recorded RM138.7 billion worth of sukuk issuance as at end-October, which exceeded RAM’s full-year projection. Bank Negara Malaysia’s decision to maintain overnight policy rate at 3.0% could spur more sukuk issuance before the end of the year after hinting that monetary policy might be tightened next year.

Saudi Arabia plans sovereign wealth fund

Saudi Arabia plans to set up a sovereign wealth fund to manage part of its oil fortune and diversify its investments. The nation is seeking proposals from investment banks and consultants. The sovereign wealth fund is said to be focusing on businesses outside the energy industry and may be active within one to two years with an office in New York. Saudi Arabia is trying to manage declining oil prices and rising tensions among countries in the Middle East including Iran. Saudi Arabia’s net foreign assets dropped to US$640 billion (RM1.97 trillion) in October, the lowest level in three years, as the oil rout strains government finances in the biggest Arab economy.

Demand for Islamic finance grew after 2008 economic crisis

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak credited the 2008 global economic crisis, reportedly the worst since the Great Depression, for paving the way towards the growth of Islamic finance. He said the 2008 financial crisis, which was triggered by the bursting of a housing bubble in the United States and later contributed to the European sovereign-debt crisis, made alternative financial systems more sought after.
“Ever since the global economic crisis in 2007, 2008, I think there’s been a sharp demand for alternative economic and business models, specifically financial models that reduces the level of speculation. “Conventional model has that inherent weakness and more to kind of a genuine partnership, you share the risk and you share the profit. So Islamic finance has gained a lot of traction,” he said during a press conference at the 11th World Islamic Economic Forum in Kuala Lumpur here.

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