DUBAI (Reuters) – Sukuk bond issuance in the Middle East will range between 10 and 15 in 2010, with demand mainly expected to come from Saudi Arabia, said Mohd Daud Bakar, managing director of Amanie Islamic Finance Consultancy and Education LLC.
Speaking at the Reuters Islamic Finance Summit in Dubai Wednesday, Bakar said Saudi Arabia will lead the sukuk pipeline this year as it funds infrastructure projects.
Bakar said the kingdom has the economy and population to support such projects. He added that his firm has two to three mandates for sukuk issues in 2010, mainly coming out of the kingdom.
“I’m looking at two or three sukuk issues,” he said. “There should be 10 to 15 sukuk issued throughout this year by the corporates in the Middle East, at least $400 to $500 million each if not more.”
Bakar said the sector would see some slowdown in the wake of the global economic crisis, Dubai’s debt problems and a rash of problems at Islamic financial institutions, but the outlook was not all bad.
“Growth is still positive but we have to expect some slowdown in corporate sukuks as well as the public mutual funds,” he said, adding government and quasi-sovereign names would help fill the gap.
Bakar, a prominent sharia scholar, has been consulting South Korea’s Korea Investment & Security Co. to help structure Islamic finance products ahead of a proposed bill to exempt sukuks from tax on distribution.
He said if the legislation passes, the industry could see the first South Korean corporate sukuk as early as 2010 or 2011.