A London mosque is thought to be the first in the world to accept bitcoin donations, one month after an Islamic scholar declared the cryptocurrency permissible under Sharia Law.
The Shacklewell Lane Mosque in Hackney announced that it is hoping to raise at least £10,000 in cryptocurrency donations over Ramadan, through both bitcoin and ethereum. Muslims are asked to give away 2.5 per cent of their wealth during the 30-day festival as part of zakat.
Following the successful issuance in 2014 of a five year $1Bn Sukuk which attained an order book of $4.7Bn. The AA stable (S&P) / Aa1 stable (Moody's) / AA+ stable (Fitch) Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (HKSAR) will begin investor meetings on 18 May.
Britain is stepping up its commitment to expanding its role in the booming global industry for Islamic finance. U.K. Export Finance, the government’s export-credit body that is backing a proposed sale of Shariah-compliant bonds by Emirates airline, plans to extend guarantees to other industries, according to Hugo Swire, minister of state at the U.K.’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Emirates is planning to raise about $1 billion from its first sale of so-called sukuk in two years, two people with knowledge of the matter said Feb. 19.
The Islamic insurance sector is just a sector of the overall insurance market, and is not a different market, according to Mr Max Taylor, head of the newly formed Islamic Insurance Association of London (IIAL).
Speaking at the International Takaful Summit in London last week, Mr Taylor, a former Chairman of Lloyd’s, said: ”We need to move away from the mind-set that Shariah and Islamic-compliant coverage is somehow a different entity entirely to conventional risk products.”
Credit guarantees are gaining traction in Islamic finance, helping a wider range of firms to tap the market for sharia-compliant debt, which remains stubbornly reliant on sovereign and quasi-sovereign issuers.
A growing number of guarantors are developing expertise in this area, aiming to facilitate Islamic transactions both large and small.
Indonesia is the most regular issuer of global sovereign sukuk even as its Islamic banking assets and local-currency sales lag behind Malaysia.
Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said on Jan. 9 that the government will offer international sukuk in the first half, the fifth straight year it’s issued such debt. The Southeast Asian nation sold $5 billion of global sukuk in the past four years, compared with $3.25 billion for Malaysia and $2 billion for Qatar, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
This year's rush by top-rated non-Muslim countries to tap the burgeoning Islamic finance market may not be repeated next year but a new crop of sovereign entrants, mostly from emerging markets, is waiting around the corner.
The United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Luxembourg - all ranked at least AA by rating agencies - issued sharia-compliant financial instruments, or sukuk, for the first time in 2014. They gave a huge boost to a market which was once just seen as a funding tool for borrowers from the Gulf and Muslim countries in southeast Asia.
Britain's export credit agency will guarantee a sukuk bond for the first time next year, the finance ministry said on Tuesday, as it seeks to boost London's position as a centre for Islamic finance.
UK Export Finance (UKEF) expects to guarantee an Islamic bond next year issued by a customer of European plane maker Airbus, the finance ministry said.
Global Islamic banking assets with commercial banks are on course to exceed $3.4 trillion (about Dh12.5 trillion) by 2018, fuelled by growing economic activity in core Islamic finance markets, according to the EY Global Islamic Banking Centre.
Several new players are rushing to cash in on this growing market. South Africa is the most recent entrant in the issuance of Islamic bonds or sukuk. American investment bank Goldman Sachs recently raised $500 million from its first Islamic bond sale. And the principality of Liechtenstein, banking on its well-established wealth management industry, is now looking at attracting Islamic financial business.
The U.K.’s ambition to become a global hub for, bolstered by a debut sovereign sukuk in June, needs corporate borrowers to take the baton.
There’s never been a publicly sold Islamic bond from a corporate in the country, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The closest it has come was a $500 million issue by the Middle Eastern unit of London-based HSBC Holdings Plc in 2011. International Innovative Technologies Ltd., a clean energy company in Gateshead, privately placed the U.K.’s first corporate sukuk in 2010.