Saudi Arabia Overtakes UAE; Becomes Gulf’s Largest Sukuk Issuer

Saudi Arabia overtook UAE to become the largest issuer of sukuk in the first quarter of 2012 in the GCC. The UAE, which was the fourth largest issuer of Islamic bonds in the first quarter of 2012, raised approximately $1.9 billion (Dh7 billion) through sukuk compared to $6.4 billion by Saudi Arabia.  “UAE’s position as the top sukuk issuer in the GCC was shaken for the first time. Yet, the UAE had its share of firsts. Tamweel, First Gulf Bank and Emirates Islamic Bank sold sukuk. They were followed by Majid Al Futtaim Group’s first foray into bond issuance in the form of sukuk. And Abu Dhabi National Energy Company sold its first sukuk in Malaysia,” Adnan Halawi, Team Leader – Fixed Income at Zawya, said in a quarterly bulletin. 

Malaysia was the top sukuk issuers with $31 billion followed by Saudi Arabia ($6.4 billion) and Indonesia ($3.4 billion), Halawi said. 

In total, sukuk issuances in the first quarter doubled to reach record $43 billion worldwide – nearly half of the whole of 2011, he said, adding that sukuk could reach $126 billion by the end of this year as compared to $85 billion last year. 

Malaysia accounted for 71 per cent of the total issuances but it lost share to Saudi Arabia. 

The kingdom’s maiden sovereign sukuk gave a fillip to the country’s Islamic bond market. A wave of corporate sukuks followed. 

“Saudi Arabia was the star of the first quarter. In the absence of any conventional bonds out of the kingdom, a flurry of sukuk made the headlines. In line with analyst expectation that the issuance of the first sovereign sukuk in the kingdom would set the benchmark and trigger more issuance, GACA’s $4 billion sukuk was shortly followed by a series of Islamic bonds by Almarai, Saudi Electricity – which sold its first global sukuk – and Saudi British Bank,” Halawi said in the note.

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