ISLAMIC BANKING | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Sukuk setback: Singapore’s Islamic finance sector remains dull in 2014

Only one entity was able to sell sukuk.

Sabana (SSREIT) Shariah-Compliant Industrial REIT is the sole entity in Singapore to have sold sukuk this year in a setback to the republic’s ambitions to become an Islamic finance hub.

The real estate investment trust raised S$100 million ($79 million) in September after selling S$90 million of the debt in March, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

A report by Bloomberg says that while the city introduced rules allowing for Shariah-compliant bond sales in 2006, offerings have been limited to issuers such as Sabana, the Monetary Authority of Singapore and energy services company Swiber Holdings Ltd.

Here’s more from Bloomberg:

Singapore is among a growing number of countries that are trying to grab a share of the Islamic finance industry, whose banking assets Ernst & Young LLP forecasts will double to $3.4 trillion by 2018. Hong Kong, Luxembourg and the U.K. have sold debut sukuk this year, joining the dominant markets of Malaysia, Indonesia and the Middle East.

“Unless there are new incentives introduced, or a credit crunch affects conventional funding sources, sukuk issuance in Singapore will likely remain rather opportunistic or event-driven,” Suhaimi Zainul-Abidin, treasurer of the city’s Gulf Asia Shari’ah Compliant Investments Association, said in an e-mail yesterday. “Based on current circumstances, there does not appear to be any reason to expect a pick-up in sukuk.”

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