08 March 2017
Conrad Prabhu
Muscat - Oman’s Capital Market Authority (CMA) has given provisional approval for two new sukuk issuances of an aggregate size of RO 300 million (around $780 million), its Executive President announced here yesterday.

Abdullah bin Salim al Salmi (pictured) said the proposed issuances underscore the potential and appetite for sharia-compliant finance and investment in the Sultanate.

Speaking at the opening of IFN Forum Oman 2017 at the Grand Millennium Muscat yesterday, Al Salmi said the sukuk issuances will also “contribute towards building benchmark yield curves and hopefully spur further issuances” in the domestic market.

“The CMA is continuously putting in place the building blocks to ensure the growth of an effective and dynamic sharia-compliant capital market and Takaful market in Oman. Some of the CMA’s initiatives have begun to bear fruit. This can be seen in the growth of the sharia-compliant capital market and Takaful market size in Oman,” he said.

As of end-June 2016, the value of the sharia-compliant capital market jumped to RO 3.91 billion ($10.16 billion), comprising sharia-compliant shares, investments and sukuk, versus RO 3.24 billion ($8.42 billion) a year earlier, representing an increase of 21.14 per cent, he said.

Not included in these figures was the additional $500 million sovereign sukuk issued outside the Sultanate by the Omani government through the Ministry of Finance in July 2016. Also excluded are the two new sukuk issuances for which CMA recently gave its provisional nod recently, he said.

Significant growth has also been witnessed in the Takaful market with premiums reaching RO 41.99 million as of end-2016, up from RO 38.77 million a year earlier, representing an increase of 9.2 per cent, the Executive President said.

Given this promising backdrop, new issuances of Islamic capital market products, such as sukuk and investment funds from private sector players would hopefully continue to grow, Al Salmi said. This would not only help meet their development and funding needs, but also diversify the financing base and risk away from the traditional banking sector, he stated.

The day-long forum, focusing on trends in Oman’s growing Islamic finance industry, was organised by REDmoney Events with the support of the Sultanate’s Capital Market Authority. CBO Executive President Hamood bin Sangour al Zadjali also addressed the opening session.

© Oman Daily Observer 2017