Feb 01 2011
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Global Sukuk Markets - January in Review
A good start for the Sukuk market with a range of issues in January giving rise to hopes that 2011 could be the best year on record, writes Adnan Halawi
In January, the Central Bank of Qatar sold QAR33 billion (around US$9 billion) in sukuk to local banks aimed at supporting the country's banking sector and sparking a rebound in private sector lending. The Islamic tranche was almost double the conventional one of QAR17 billion issued on the same day.
Other benchmark sukuk were actually sold in January but their first settlement date falls in early February. These include Emaar's US$500-million Sukuk which begins on February 3rd, 2011 and matures on August 3rd, 2016. The issue which was oversubscribed 3.4 times is the first international issue this year, pays 8.5% on semi-annual basis and will be listed on the London Stock Exchange.
The Malaysian sukuk market saw the birth of two benchmark quasi-sovereign programs toward end of the month. Malaysian state-owned water asset management company Pengurusan Aset Air Berhad successfully priced MYR2.7 billion (US$885 million) worth of sukuk that had been upsized from an original MYR2.5 billion due to strong demand as part of a new MYR20 billion sukuk program. Less than a week later, Pembinaan BLT Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned construction company of the Malaysian government, has upsized its sukuk offering to MYR1.1 billion, from MYR1.0 billion - part of a MYR10 billion sukuk program.
Other small issues included regular offerings by Central Banks of Bahrain, Malaysia and Gambia and small tranches of existing programs in Malaysia.
Source: Zawya Sukuk Monitor www.zawya.com/sukuk
Mixed Regulatory Signals
While the market received positive signals with most of the issues witnessing strong demand, being oversubscribed and in many cases upsized, the market received mixed signals on a regulatory level.
On the bearish side, some media reports indicate that the UK government has decided not to issue sovereign sukuk because it is judged not to provide value for money. However, similar media reports mentioned Japan is eyeing sukuk tax breaks to draw Islamic investors, while Kazakhstan's government expects to pass legislation within the next two months that would enable companies to sell sukuk.
In The Pipeline
The Kuwait-based Gulf Investment Corp (GIC) was the last to join the pipeline unveiling plans to enter the ringgit bond market with a maiden MYR3.5 billion MTN program. The market is expecting major deals out of Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, UAE, Indonesia and the rest of the world. Given the healthy pipeline and the promising start of the year, we expect a record issuance of sukuk in 2011 despite the turmoil in Egypt that could cast a shadow generally on financial markets in the MENA region.
Senior Sukuk Analyst
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