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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Hong Kong to issue sukuk of up to $1 billion after summer

Hong Kong's government plans to issue as much as US$1 billion worth of Islamic bonds later this year, a spokesperson for its central bank said, suggesting the territory's debut sukuk issue might be larger than initially expected.
Lawmakers in Hong Kong passed a bill last month that will allow the AAA-rated government to issue sukuk for the first time. A report by the territory's Legislative Council indicated the size would be around $500 million.
But a spokesperson for the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, responding in an email on Tuesday to questions from Reuters, said the preliminary plan was for a U.S. dollar-denominated issue of at least $500 million and maybe as much as $1 billion.
"The sukuk is expected to be launched after the summer holidays," the spokesperson said; this would imply an issue as soon as September.
Details of the plan are subject to confirmation but the sukuk are expected to have a maturity of five years or below and use the ijara structure, a common sale and lease-back format in Islamic finance, the spokesperson added.
The sukuk, aimed at international institutional investors such as central banks, sovereign wealth funds, and pension and other funds, would use state-owned properties in commercial premises as their underlying assets. They would be listed in Hong Kong and some other major Islamic centers, the HKMA said.
A debut sukuk from Hong Kong would boost its Islamic finance credentials and help position the territory as a gateway between mainland China and investors in the Gulf and southeast Asia, the two main centers for Islamic finance.

Other conventional banking centers are also seeking to burnish their Islamic credentials with debut sovereign sukuk issues. Prime Minister David Cameron said last year that Britain intended to issue sukuk worth around 200 million pounds ($335 million), while Luxembourg envisages a roughly 200 million euro($275 million) issue.
(Reuters / 15 April 2014)
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Pakistan: Islamic banking is thriving steadily

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - Karachi—Islamic Banking Industry in Pakistan is growing significantly fastest throughout the country with overwhelmingly positive response of the general public towards after awareness and acceptance of Sharia compliant financing and its utility for their domestic and commercial purposes. Acting Governor State Bank of Pakistan Ashraf Wathra stated this recently while chairing the meeting with CEO Publicity Channel Naeem Quershi and Organizer Mehmood Tareen, Islamic Finance Expo and Conference (IFEC-2014).

Islamic Banking industry starting from almost a scratch in 2001 has acquired over 10 percent share in the country’s banks branch system with over 1300 branches across the country, Wathra said. The industry is growing at an impressive rate of over 30 percent annually for last 5 years and prospects of further strengthening of this growth momentum in the near future are very bright. He said the education and awareness of Islamic banking is vital for its growth in the country, which is paving the way towards economic activities and financial inclusion of economy in the long run.

The misconceptions related to Islamic Banking are prevailing in the society, which should be addressed to expedite the growth of Sharia compliant financing among the people of different walk of lives, Governor added. The role of seminars and conferences on Islamic Banking is indispensable for expansion of Islamic Banks and penetration of their services among the society, Wathra further said. Acting Governor appreciated the holding of third Islamic Finance Exhibition and Conference (IFEC-2014) and organizers continuous efforts in promoting Islamic banking in business community. He assured his support and participation in the event as chief guest.

Deputy Governor SBP, Saeed Ahmad Khan, also appreciated efforts of organizing committee for its persistent efforts for creating awareness of Sharia-based financing in the country, assembling all stakeholders at one platform to discuss future growth plan of Islamic Banking Industry. The organizing committee also met separately CEOs and President of different Banks including Hussain Lawai of Summit Bank, Sirajuddin Aziz of Habib Metro Bank, Nauman Dar of President HBL, Shafqaat Ahmed of Bank Albaraka and S M Munir, Vice Chairman MCB and CEO TDAP. They assured the committee their fully participation and collaboration for promoting Islamic banking through successful organization of the seminar and conference.

(Pakistan Observer / 15 April 2014)
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