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Qatar Islamic banks’ balance sheet to hit $100bn

Courtesy of TradeArabia News Service


Qatar’s Islamic banks’ balance sheets are expected to grow to $100 billion by 2017, according to a recent report by global credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s.

Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar will all increase their global importance as centres of Islamic finance in the coming years, as the three markets experience rising internation demand for financing, it said.

There is set to be strong demand from the government sector, which is increasingly working to ensure that at least a proportion of large project financing is structured in compliance with Shariah law.

The Euromoney Qatar 2013 Conference, which will be held under the patronage of Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Prime Minister, Qatar, will provide a major platform for discussion for the direction of the Islamic financial sector, and the models for cooperation and competition that will help sustain it.

Co-hosted by Qatar Central Bank, the conference will see a major presentation on “Islamic Markets and Economic Growth”, presented by Dr Khaled Al Fakih, secretary general and CEO of The Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI).

Qatar has one of the fastest-growing Islamic banking sectors in the world, driven by the demand for local credit to finance government infrastructure and investment projects.

This in turn is having an impact on the assets of Qatar’s Islamic banks, increasing their share of the country’s banking system. The Islamic banks’ market share in domestic credit increased from 13 percent in 2006, to 25 percent at the end of 2012, according to the S&P report.

Global interest in the Islamic financing sector was demonstrated in October 2013, when Britain announced that it would become the first non-Muslim country to sell a bond that can be bought by Islamic investors. Prime Minister David Cameron said that the UK Treasury is drawing up plans to issue a £200 million ($320.1 million) Sukuk, a form of debt that complies with Islamic financial law.

The new sharia-compliant gilt will enable Britain to become the first non-Muslim country to tap the growing pool of Islamic investments, which is set to exceed $1 trillion by 2014.

As a meeting point for international financial players and major decision-makers from the region, the conference will provide an ideal opportunity for both sides to learn more about expectations and predictions for the local and international markets

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