Persian Gulf government spending will help drive what may be a record year for Islamic bond sales,Fitch Ratings said, echoing HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA) forecasts.
Sales will probably match the 2012 high, the rating company said in a note last week even amid the slowest start to issuance since 2010. Mohammed Dawood, global head of sukuk financing at HSBC, said last month that sales will rebound from a decline last year. Borrowers sold $133 million of syndicated sukuk to Jan. 19, the least since $47 million in the same period four years ago, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
There has been much discussion during the on-going financial crisis, on how to initiate a sustained recovery and the consensus shown by the mainstream commentators has been through returning to sustained economic growth.
Such is the focus in the capitalist order towards growth, that any program or strategy that is not able to demonstrate how compounding levels of growth can be achieved is not given credibility and hence many, such as the Turkish economics professor Timur Kuran, have written extensively showing how the Shariah has rules which limit the ability of economies to grow and hence are an impractical alternative to the current order.
There is no doubt that Islamic banking and finance must always fulfil the requirements of Islamic jurisprudence. However, it is increasingly being felt that Islamic banking must go beyond the law and imbue the ethical spirit of Islam to remain relevant to the needs of Muslim communities around the world.
Islamic finance has proven to be more resilient amid financial crises, but experts believe that more can still be done to manage risks.
Despite Islamic banks’ high liquidity, namely; in the form of cash, the industry still lacks the necessary depth to manage risks effectively, commented Jaseem Ahmad, the secretary general of the Islamic Financial Services Board.
Islamic banks needed to manage the risks in the financial system ahead of any possible crisis or downturn, business advisory firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) warned at the weekend.
Mohammad Faiz Azmi, global leader of PwC’s Islamic finance team, said: "Risk management is an issue which cannot be ignored by any financial institution, but Islamic banks in particular need to establish risk management credibility as they aspire to move into the mainstream of the financial system."
Islamic banks should diversify into areas such as asset management after real estate industry investments caused them greater losses during the credit crisis than conventional banks, according to McKinsey & Co Inc.
One third of the assets of Islamic banks in Qatar are “directly exposed in some way to real estate” compared with 15 percent for other banks, Amer Afiouni, Islamic finance associate principal at the consulting firm, said in Singapore.
Few took notice outside certain coteries of specialist bankers and lawyers, but the launch of a 42 page master documentation for derivatives that comply with Muslim religious principles could have a far-reaching impact on the Islamic finance industry.
The International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM), a Bahrain-based Islamic capital markets body, and the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) have for the past four years been working on standardised documentation for derivative instruments that comply with sharia, or Islamic law.
Islamic financial bodies, which adhere to religious proscriptions against interest, have a market potential of at least US$5 trillion ($5.43 trillion), Moody's Investors Service said.