Saudi COVID-19 travel insurance approved as EU moves closer to opening

DUBAI: Global Islamic finance is expected to grow by 10 to 12 percent over the next year on the back of stronger sukuk issuances and continued industry standardization, S&P Global said in a report.
Financing growth in Saudi Arabia will remain strong, S&P said, fueled by mortgages and corporate lending. It also expects some growth in Qatar supported by investments related to the upcoming World Cup, “and to a lesser extent the UAE where the Dubai Expo is likely to help boost economic activity,” it added.
The report also noted a potential rise in the issuance of social Islamic finance instruments and green sukuk, as companies become more conscious of their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) values.
The Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank issued a $1.5 billion sustainable sukuk in 2020 and another $2.5 billion instrument in 2021.
“They (social issuances) show that the pandemic has presented an opportunity to put the social element back into Islamic finance and demonstrate the social aspect of the Sharia goals, Maqasid,” according to S&P.
The report added these types of sales  could even appeal to foreign investors with ESG objectives.
A growth in Islamic banking assets in the Gulf, Malaysia, and Turkey – core Islamic finance economies – as well as issuances exceeding maturities are charting a recovery path for the industry, which suffered a 10.6 percent contraction in 2020.
The industry will also benefit from continued integration through a unified global legal and regulatory framework for Islamic finance, the report said.
The Dubai Islamic Economy Development Center and its partners are working on the standardization, which has long been a challenge for global Islamic finance.

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