The Covid-19 pandemic and unstable oil prices have caused major economic shocks to Islamic finance countries. With an average unweighted contraction in GDP of 3.7%, their economies entered a deep recession. Islamic banks, which are more exposed to small and medium-sized enterprises, retail lending and microfinance, took a hit on lenders’ earnings. Capital markets weren’t spared, experiencing credit-rating downgrades, limited fund availability, and defaults and restructurings. Sukuk issuance dropped from US$167.3 billion in 2019 to US$139.8 billion in 2020. Liquidity dried up even for the most tradeable stocks, especially those in emerging markets, forcing investors to pay a much higher spread on either side of the trade.
As the international sukuk market has bounced back, global sukuk issuers are expected to diversify their funding bases and continue a trend of innovation with sustainable, green and hybrid sukuk. As well, green sukuk has the potential to channel the US$2 trillion Islamic finance market towards funding more green and sustainable investment projects.
Furthermore, increased digitalization and fintech collaboration by Islamic banks using sukuk could help strengthen issuer resilience in more volatile environments and open new avenues for growth.
The Asset Events+ is pleased to be organizing the 4th Islamic Finance Issuers and Investors Leadership Dialogue virtual event. This webinar series brings together panels of industry experts and key players for in-depth discussions on the trends within and key issues facing Islamic finance, all with a focus on the road ahead.