International Financial Centres Battle for Islamic Markets

International investment services compliant with Islamic financial law are competing for a slice of the oil revenue in the Middle East. With the price of crude oil almost doubling in the last year, countries with large Muslim populations and connections – including Singapore, Hong Kong, London, Birmingham and Paris – are vying to act as key centres of expertise in the new boom. A spokesperson for the British Standard & Poor’s claims that, “By preparing the ground for Islamic finance, France can help financial innovation and benefit from the deep pockets of Middle Eastern investors as liquidity has dried up elsewhere in the global financial markets.”

Generally, more and more businesses have come forward to meet demand for Shariah-compliant services. Approximately two-thirds of the world-wide market for Islamic bonds (sukuks), an estimated $100 billion, is currently based in Malaysia, where the industry first took off. Outside of Asia and the Middle East, Britain in particular, is seen as the clear leader, worth about $6.5 billion.

Bercy Seeks to Enable the Development of Islamic Financing in France

Christine Lagarde, Minister of the Economy and Finance, wants to facilitate the development of Islamic finances in France, stating she wants follow the model already in place in London. Known as “sukuks”, this kind of loan meets the rules of shari’ah law which prohibits claiming interest and investing in certain sectors like those related to war, alcohol and gaming.

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Le Figaro

Le Monde

Interest in Islamic mortgages unclear

AMSTERDAM (dpa) – The number of Muslims who would opt for an Islamic mortgage if it existed on the Dutch market is unclear, Rabobank spokesman Rene Loman told Deutsche-Presse Agentur dpa on Monday. Loman was responding to news Monday by the Amsterdam city board that it will ask the Dutch Finance Ministry to enable banks to offer its clients Islamic mortgages. Replying to questions by the city council’s Labour faction, the board said it is “unacceptable that a group of Dutch nationals would not be able to purchase a home.”