LONDON: Volatile currency markets could hamper Malaysian mortgage lender Cagamas Bhd's plans for its first foreign currency sukuk, the state-backed firm's chief executive said.
In November, Cagamas set up a $2.5 billion programme to issue multi-currency sukuk, or sharia-compliant bonds, in an effort to broaden its investor base and after issuing conventional bonds denominated in yuan, Hong Kong dollars and U.S. dollars in 2014.
The lender provides liquidity to primary lenders of housing loans in Malaysia to promote home ownership, by issuing bonds and sukuk to make those purchases.
"At this moment, dollar is just not attractive," said chief executive officer Chung Chee Leong in an interview on the sidelines of an investment conference in London, adding that U.S. dollar issue was still the most likely option.
"At this moment, there are not many currencies that are attractive for us to issue in. But rates move all the time, and when the time comes we will issue," Chung said, adding he hoped the issue could still come this year.
After Malaysia's government, Cagamas is the second-largest issuer of debt instruments in the country, and about 52 percent of its current portfolio is Islamic.
Asked about expansion plans, Chung said Cagamas was not working on opening subsidiaries in other countries, but would rather aim to take on loans that Malaysian lenders made outside the country through their Malaysian offices.
(The Star Online / 05 June 2015)---
Alfalah Consulting - Kuala Lumpur: www.alfalahconsulting.com
Islamic Investment Malaysia: www.islamic-invest-malaysia.com