GCC region leading $100 billion sukuk industry
The value of new sukuk (Islamic bond) issuance worldwide will once again surge to more than $100 billion this year with GCC issuers dominating the market with bigger issues, said a report.
The sovereign and sovereign-related issuance will continue to dominate, shape and underpin the global market, according to top ratings agency Standard & Poor's.
"There is little to hinder another strong performance by the sukuk market in the next few years," stated S&P in its report "Investors Are Snapping Up Sukuk, Despite Questions About Credit worthiness" published today.
"Global issuance expanded for the fourth year in a row in 2012, growing 64 per cent to about $138 billion, and we expect another strong few years," remarked S&P credit analyst Paul-Henri Pruvost.
Despite increased growth, the market for sukuk, the Islamic equivalent of bonds, is still a small segment of the global fixed-income world, he noted.
"Sukuk comply with Sharia law, meaning they do not technically pay interest; rather, they are structured to provide sukuk holders a profit margin. While still considered an alternative investment, we believe the sukuk market has the potential to grow and join the mainstream," he added.
According to him, the largely dominating issuance are sovereign and sovereign-related issuers from Malaysia, and, to a lesser extent, from the GCC countries.
Liquidity, he said, was gradually improving as larger and more frequent issuances came to the market.
"Funding needs and large infrastructure investments in Malaysia and the GCC, combined with better global investor sentiment, is behind today's momentum in the sukuk market," explained Pruvost.
"For that reason, we believe that GCC issuers, especially, are likely to come to market with bigger issues that are more commensurate with the potential suggested by their asset size," he stated.
Pruvost pointed out that the yields in the region have been declining, and even fell under those on conventional debt.
"We believe that a number of banks, particularly, will come to market, needing to refinance their existing debt and seeking larger amounts to match the credit needs of their corporate clients, especially in project finance," the expert added.
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