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Filed under: Latest News — admin     2:58 pm April 12, 2011

The geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are likely to shift attention to Malaysia’s Islamic finance market, says an expert.

RAM Rating Services Bhd’s head of Islamic Ratings Zakariya Othman said given Malaysia’s well-developed Islamic finance market, coupled with the sound legal, regulatory and investor-friendly environment, it is well poised to capture a substantial portion of capital from or originally destined for the Middle East.

The gulf-based companies are increasingly looking towards Malaysia and to this end, Kuwait-based Gulf Investment Corporation has just issued its maiden ringgit-denominated sukuk equivalent to US$164 million in February 2011, an inaugural issue under its US$1.1 billion Islamic medium-term note programme, according to a statement on Tuesday.

“There are bound to be more issuers and investors seeking the stability of the Malaysian Islamic market,” Zakariya was quoted as saying at the First Annual Middle East Islamic Finance & Investment Conference in Dubai.

He also said sukuk issuance from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries was poor and below expectations in the first quarter 2011.

“This comes as no surprise as the region has been undergoing multiple revolutions.

“Bahrain, traditionally a major issuer of sukuk both on the corporate and sovereign levels, has not had any major deals so far this year, and will probably not see any for some time, given its non-conducive landscape,” he added.

Source : Bernama

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