Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB), the Gulf state’s largest sharia-compliant lender by assets, is not expecting to issue more Islamic bonds before 2014, its chief executive said on Wednesday.
“I don’t think it will be needed; there seems to be enough liquidity currently,” Bassel Gamal told reporters at a conference in the Qatari capital.
QIB, whose biggest shareholder is the country’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, last tapped the market with a $750 million five-year sukuk in October as part of its $1.5 billion sukuk programme.
Qatari banks remain very liquid, but much of this cash is held in local riyals with lenders keen for dollar funding to service a number of infrastructure projects in the pipeline ahead of the country hosting the 2022 football World Cup.
Investor demand for sukuk issuance is also high and not satisfied by a significant lack of supply, meaning sharia-compliant debt offerings from Gulf entities are normally well supported.
Corporate issuance of local currency sukuk is expected in coming years as well, added Gamal, who was appointed as QIB chief executive in January.
“In the coming years, we expect some corporations to issue sukuk in local currency, thus creating their own yield curve with the potential of issuing on the global markets in the years to come.”
“Indeed, we have seen many countries encouraging local issuances of sukuk, such as Saudi Arabia and Malaysia,” he added.
Earlier this week, QIB reported a 25 per cent drop in its first-quarter net profit after booking higher provisions to meet loan losses.