Asian demand should help the Islamic bond market recover in the second half from the impact of the global financial crisis, according to HSBC Amanah deputy chief executive Razi Fakih.
High-profile sukuks coming out Indonesia and Malaysia have served as a catalyst, Fakih said in a telephone interview with Reuters, adding that the company continues to see demand from issuers.
I“Sukuk is a critical offering in Islamic finance and is unlikely to fade out,” he said. “We are quite optimistic that we will see more issuers coming in the second half.”
Fakih declined to outline Amanah’s current pipeline for mandates, citing a quiet period ahead of second quarter earnings. But in an interview with Reuters in February, he said the company was optimistic that it would meet or exceed the 15 mandates it had in 2009 for sukuk.
According to Reuters data, HSBC has already served as Islamic bond manager on 13 sukuk issues in the first half of the year. HSBC Amanah is a wholly-owned unit of Europe’s biggest bank, HSBC.
HSBC last week opened its first Islamic branch in Qatar—its first Middle Eastern branch outside of Saudi Arabia—for retail and corporate customers.
Fakih said HSBC was responding to increasing demand for Islamic products in the country and expects Qatar to be “a market for significant growth potential going forward.”
Fakih said HSBC sees opportunities to expand its Islamic offerings in corporate banking in Bangladesh in the future beyond its existing small retail presence there.
The company also hopes to expand into Islamic corporate banking in the sultanate of Oman but has no immediate plans to do so.
“I personally believe that the industry will continue to grow and it’s very clear throughout the world,” Fakih said.
Research firm Oliver Wyman expects industry growth of 30% annually since 2000 to slow to about 20% a year in the period up to 2012 as property markets drop sharply and liquidity dries up in the wake of the global financial crisis.
High-profile sukuk defaults have also tainted the industry and kept investors wary. Fakih said the nascent industry was experiencing “a hiccup” unrelated to its structure and will mature as a result by improving risk management and documentation.
HSBC has already served as Islamic bond manager on 13 sukuk issues in the first half of the year. HSBC Amanah is a wholly-owned unit of HSBC.
‘$1.6bn sukuk for Mideast appeal’
Cagamas Bhd, the Malaysian national mortgage company, plans to sell as much as 5bn ringgit ($1.6bn) of Islamic bonds designed to appeal to Middle Eastern investors.
The company will issue short-and medium-term notes using a new Sukuk al-Amanah Li al-Istithmar structure, or Sukuk ALIm, which meets standards set by the Bahrain-based Accounting & Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions, Cagamas said in a statement yesterday.
It may offer 1bn ringgit of bonds within a month, Cagamas chief executive officer Steven Choy told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.
“Sukuk ALIm are tradable in the secondary market, and since they preclude certain principles which may be contentious to Shariah, are expected to meet the requirements of a wider range of investors,” Ahmed Rehman, chief executive officer of co-arranger Al-Rajhi Bank Malaysia, said in the statement.
Sales of Islamic bonds fell 22% to $6.6bn this year as demand waned after state-owned Dubai World restructured $23.5bn of liabilities. The Islamic finance industry’s assets may almost triple to $2.8tn by 2015, according to the Kuala Lumpur-based Islamic Financial Services Board, as Muslims rebuild wealth eroded in the global economic slump.
source : Reuters