Islamic banking in Southeast Asia is growing faster than conventional banking, albeit from a lower base.
Malaysia & Indonesia
In Malaysia, central bank data show the amount of outstanding Islamic loans grew 35 per cent from the beginning of 2014 to October 2015, while total loans expanded by 17 per cent.
In Indonesians also Islamic banking sector still enjoys double-digit growth: Islamic loans increased by 13 per cent and total loans by 19 per cent respectively in the same period.
A recent survey by FT Confidential Research, a Financial Times research service, found that 61 per cent of Indonesians and 73 per cent of Malaysians say that they either use Islamic banking services primarily or as often as conventional ones.
The survey found that 60 per cent of those using Islamic banking services in Indonesia and Malaysia cited religious requirements as a factor. Remaining 40 percent were calculating other factors like as risk and cost. Islamic lending, puts a cap on effective interest rates - the so-called profit rate - while there is no legal or other imposed limit on interest rates under conventional lending.
In the same survey, 13 per cent of Indonesian and 25 per cent of Malaysian Islamic banking customers were not Muslims. But despite its broad appeal, Islamic banking still has only small market shares in the two countries.
At the end of the third quarter of last year, just 7 per cent of total loans worth $284bn in Indonesia and 27 per cent of loans worth $334bn in Malaysia were Islamic, according to Bank Indonesia and Bank Negara Malaysia, the central banks.
The market for Islamic banking is bigger in Malaysia than in Indonesia, even though Malaysia's population is just 31m, compared with about 257m in Indonesia. One reason is the "soft infrastructure" installed by the Malaysian government to support the industry, including tax breaks and coherent regulation, since the 1980s. Indeed, Malaysia is a global centre of Islamic banking and finance, with 51 per cent of all outstanding sukuk (Islamic bonds) originated from the country in 2015.
Indonesia is catching up, with various support systems still a work in progress. And as the Indonesian middle class is growing fast, the long-term potential of Islamic finance in the country grow too.
So far, Indonesians are severely underbanked compared to their regional neighbours. Only 36 per cent of adult Indonesians have a bank account, compared with 81 per cent in Malaysia, according to the World Bank.
Foreign banks are moving in. Large Malaysian banks with deep experience in Islamic finance such as Maybank and CIMB have set up in Jakarta and other big Indonesian cities as their home market saturates.
Emirates NBD, the largest banking group in the Middle East by assets, plans to acquire a stake in an Indonesian sharia-compliant bank to gain a foothold in the world's most populous Muslim country. Other Gulf banks have expressed interest in doing the same, bypassing the competitive Malaysian market - usually the first Southeast Asian market for Middle Eastern banks.
Islamic Banking in Brunei Darussalam
The Bank started operations in 1981 as the Island Development Bank. It was converted to a full-fledged Islamic bank in January 1993 and changed its name to Islamic Bank of Brunei. Through a merger with Islamic Development Bank of Brunei, Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam was formed in 2005. BIBD is Brunei Darussalam's largest bank and flagship Islamic financial institution.
An internationally recognised financial institution governed by global best practices and an experienced management team, BIBD is committed to meeting the needs of customers from all walks of life. Challenged and stimulated by an ever-changing environment, BIBD brings technology and innovation to the fore for improved processes and accessibility.
Headquartered in Bandar Seri Begawan, the Bank has fifteen branches at strategic locations in Brunei's four districts and the Brunei's Leading Financial Institution largest network of ATMs in the country. As Brunei Darussalam's flagship Islamic bank and largest financial services provider, with over 700 employees and B$ 6 billion worth of assets under management, BIBD proudly serves more than 100,000 consumers.
BIBD is the only bank in Brunei Darussalam that serves all sectors and segments within the retail banking market. With a strong focus on innovation and excellence, BIBD has been consistently recognized for its superior customer service and ability to deliver value to all its stakeholders. It is through continuous hard work, effort and commitment from our people that we are able to provide seamless and innovative services to our customers, and ensure that their banking experience with us is unique and best-in-class.
Islamic Banking in Bangladesh
In August 1974, Bangladesh signed in the Charter of Islamic Development Bank and committed itself to refom its economic and financial system according to Islamic Shariah.
In November 1980, Bangladesh Bank sent a representative to study the working of several Islamic Banks abroad.
In January 1981, while addressing the 3rd Islamic Summit Conference held at Makkah and Taif, the-then Bangladesh President Ziaur Rahman suggested: "The Islamic countries should develop a separate Banking system of their own in order to facilitate their trade and commerce."
In November 1982, a delegation of IDB came to Bangladesh and showed their keen interest in establishing a joint venture Islamic Bank in the private sector. Two professional bodies Islamic Economics Research Bureau (ERB) and Bangladesh Islamic Bankers' Association (BIBA) made significant contributions towards introduction of Islamic Banking in the country. They came forward to provide training on Islamic Banking to top Bankers and economists to fill-up the vacuum of leadership for the future Islamic Banks in Bangladesh. They also held seminars, symposia and workshops on Islamic economics and Banking throughout the country to mobilize public opinion in favor of Islamic Banking.
In March 1983, the long drawn struggle to establishment of an Islamic Bank in Bangladesh became a reality and Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited (IBBL) was formed in which 19 Bangladeshi nationals, 4 Bangladeshi institutions and 11 banks, financial institutions and government bodies of the middle East and Europe including IDB and two eminent personalities of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia joined hands. The new paradigm of welfare-oriented banking and the innovation of interest-free banking systems, proved its worth in the country's money market and many new banks have been established to operate in compliance with Shari'ah and many traditional banks have opened their Islamic banking windows.
On 11 October 1995, an Islamic Banks Consultative Forum (IBCF) was set up with a view to establish effective interaction among all Islamic Banks and Banks having Islamic Banking branches to march together, be united on various issues affecting the banking sector, establish Islamic Money Market and strengthen interest-free Shariah based banking system in Bangladesh.
By now, Islamic Banking system has attained mass popularity in Bangladesh. As a result, area of Islamic Banking is increasing day by day. Besides, the Conventional Banks & Islamic Banks are working unitedly. Initially, Islamic Banks Consultative Forum came out in public with the joint collaboration of 4 (four) Banks i.e. Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited, Al-Baraka Bank Limited (Now ICB Islamic Bank), AL-Arafah Islami Bank Limited and Social Investment Bank Limited (Now Social Islami Bank Ltd). Within 19 years, the number of Members of IBCF rose to 14 (Forteen). Eight member Banks of IBCF are carrying on their entire banking operation according to Islamic Shariah. Six are operating Islamic Banking in some of their branches. 2 (two) more banks have expressed their intention to join IBCF.
Islamic Banking in Maldives
The Maldives possess a narrow financial sector, which is dominated by the banking sector, which makes up 96% of total assets. Due to the geographical spread and low population density, delivering financial services faces major challenges and access to finance remains a problem. As of 2011, the banking sector in the Maldives included seven banks: two are locally incorporated banks, four are branches of foreign banks, and one is a subsidiary of a foreign bank. The locally incorporated banks include the Bank of Maldives Limited, the national bank which is majority-owned by the Government of Maldives and has 25 branches throughout the country. Alongside this, is the Maldives Islamic Bank, the first Islamic bank in the country, opened in March 2011.
The plan to setup Maldives Islamic Bank was initiated way back in 2007 when the Maldives Monetary Authority granted permission to the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) to establish the first Islamic bank in the Maldives. In 2009, ICD signed the shareholders agreement with the Government of Maldives to initiate the project. This was followed by the incorporation of Maldives Islamic Bank (MIB) on 1st April 2010 and the submission of a formal application for a banking license to the MMA. MIB received the banking licence to conduct Islamic banking business from the MMA on 2nd August 2010.
MIB is a collaboration between ICD which holds 85% share and the Government of Maldives represented by the Ministry of Finance and Treasury, owning the balance 15%. The total share capital of the bank currently stands at MVR. 165 million.
On 7th March 2011, officially the bank started its business operation. A special opening ceremony was held inviting officials from the government and private business sectors. MIB aims to provide an alternative to the public and businesses who wish to avail themselves to banking transactions and dealings in strict compliance to Islamic banking principles.
MIB shall conduct its business in strict compliance with Shariah principles and guidelines devoid of any element of interest, gharar (uncertainty), maisir (gambling) and unethical practices. It aims to offer an alternative form of financial services to the general public, both individuals and businesses, who are desirous of conducting their transactions in conformity with Shariah requirements.
MIB shall participate actively in the development and promotion of an Islamic economic and financial system in the Maldives to run parallel with the existing conventional system as its contribution to the betterment of the economic well-being of the ummah generally.
Market glut of crude oil and China's manufacturing slowdown, along with other factors foreboding global recession have been disaffecting major capital markets in the West and also Asian markets. The fledgeling share market of Bangladesh, already at its lowest rung from the crash in 2010 from which it never recovered, has little connection with global trends. If anything taka investors should have been encouraged by the global tumble to invest in the cheap stocks of steady Bangladesh companies which are bound to increase in value as the country is poised for faster growth. But that did not happen.
The prices of most of the shares on Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) and Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE) witnessed upward trend marking continued recovery over the past two days. DSEX, the prime index of the DSE, went up by 26.95 points or 0.59 per cent to reach at 4,587.37 on opening of trade and crossed the psychological mark of 4600 point by midweek.
Beginning of the week trading showed heavy buying into small and mid-cap securities.
Investors opted for bargain hunting and took position in scripts that were trading at depressed prices as IDLC Investments analysis. Of the traded issues, 165 advanced, 107 declined, and 48 closed unchanged on the premier bourse in the beginning of the week. "Market sentiment remained battered as reflected by selling pressure on blue-chip stocks like BATBC, Bata Shoe, GP, Lafarge and other large-cap stocks.
On the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) while Appollo Ispat dominated the turnover chart.
Its closed at 19.7 on Monday, registering an increase of 3.16 per cent over the previous session's close price. Analysts said the investors took position on Appollo Ispat's share amid optimism as the company posted 450 per cent year-on-year growth in earning per share (EPS) in second quarter (Q2) for October-December period in 2015.
Appollo Ispat was followed by Square Pharma, Fu-Wang Ceramic, The City Bank and Beximco Pharma in turnover chart.
Among the major sectors, engineering increased 1.02 percent in market capitalisation, followed by textile that rose 0.96 percent, fuel and power 0.34 percent, cement 0.28 percent and banks 0.41 percent.
Conversely, food and allied and mutual fund sectors declined 1.46 percent and 0.36 percent respectively. Apex Spinning and Knitting Mills was the day's best performer with 9.98 percent in gains, while Dacca Dyeing & Manufacturing Company was the worst loser, shedding 9.86 percent.
Market turnover slightly declined 0.8
percent to Tk 393.49 crore, with 11.5 crore shares and mutual fund units changing hands in the DSE.
Chittagong stocks rose with the bourse's benchmark index, CSCX, increasing 33.72 points or 0.39 percent to finish the day at 8,531.38 points. Gainers beat losers as 118 advanced and 87 declined, while 31 finished unchanged on the Chittagong Stock Exchange.
DSEX dip and topsy turvy turnover
Stocks plummeted over two weeks to end through January 28, the last trading day of the week. Earlier DSE index had crossed 4800 mark showing continued buoyancy in trading only to witness a sudden downward drive in the following days that continued up to last two weeks.
The downswing initially set in to cash profit but it was quickly decelerated by some unguarded sensitive comment by certain SEC official monitoring the stocks inducing fear about market foundation.
Moreover end January saw the break down of the trading system that affected over two dozens of brokerage firms resulting from partial dysfunction of central server's network with those trading houses.
The psychological message on the floor further accentuated in trading loss both in terms of volume and value. Investors often stay panicked in the market because of confidence gap in the light of frequent market volatility and past market crashes.
The market suffered from cautious investors' stance to lack of clear direction. Analysts said investors adopted bottom-up approach and market movement remained bearish reflected by price movement in sector specific stocks. All trading sessions of the week ended in the red.
Week-on-week, DSEX, the prime index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) dipped below the 'psychological' threshold of 4,600-mark and settled in the last week of January at 4,573.59, slumping by 84.36 points or 1.81 per cent.
The two other indices also closed lower. The DS30 index, comprising blue chips, fell 21.87 points or 1.25 per cent to finish at 1,729.16. The DSE Shariah Index dropped 14.69 points or 1.31 per cent to close at 1,102.70.
Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE) ended lower with its Selective Categories Index, CSCX, falling 88.11 points or 1.06 per cent to end at 8,566.28. The total turnover for the week came down to Tk 21.52 billion which was Tk 29.41 billion in the week before.
The DSE daily turnover averaged Tk 4.30 billion on Monday, which was nearly 27 per cent lower than the previous week's average of Tk 5.88 billion. The overall activities remained confined on, textile, engineering and fuel and power sectors, where they captured 19 per cent, 15 per cent, 10 per cent respectively of the week's total turnover.
Selling frenzy prevailed in the market to avoid further losses.
"The investors preferred micro cap stocks over the cap classes, reallocating their capital to the smallest of cap classes." Micro caps gained 0.8 per cent, while mini and large caps fell by 1.7 per cent and 0.9 per cent, which contributed in market decline as per market analysts.
The losers took a strong lead over the gainers as out of 328 issues traded, 195 closed lower, 106 higher and 27 issues remained unchanged on the DSE trading floor during the week.
The market capitalisation of the DSE also fell by 0.73 per cent as it was Tk 3,193.68 billion on the opening day of the week and it stood at Tk 3,170.36 billion on closing day of the week.
Negative return in 15 sectors
The market capitalisation of most of the sectors posted negative return last week on the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) with worst performance seen from fuel and power sector.
Among the 19 sectors on the premier bourse (except corporate bonds, debenture and treasury bonds), the market capitalisation of 15 sectors posted negative return while only four sectors saw marginal gain.
Fuel and power sector was the biggest loser, plunging by 2.73 per cent as 15 issues of the sector witnessed price erosion while only three managed to close in positive zone.
Among the fuel and power issues, BD Welding took a big hit, losing 7.7 per cent followed by Shahjibazar Power 4.6 per cent, United Power Generation and Distribution Company 4.6 per cent, Titas Gas 3.9 per cent and Jamuna Oil 3.5 per cent.
However, the state-owned Eastern Lubricants was the week's best performer from the fuel and power sector, advancing 45.2 per cent following its extraordinary earning report in the second quarter (Q2).
Other top losers were miscellaneous 2.70 per cent, services and real estate 2.62 per cent, engineering 2.14 per cent, textile 2.12 per cent, telecommunication 1.86 per cent.
Mutual fund also lost 1.58 per cent last week followed by tannery 1.24 per cent, cement 1.18 per cent, insurance 0.85 percent, financial institutions 0.71 per cent, pharmaceuticals 0.70 per cent, paper and printing 0.69 per cent and banks 0.62 per cent.
Hong Kong stocks
Just to take note of Asian market trend, I am mentioning midweek position thereof Feb 2 Hong Kong shares ended lower on Tuesday, uninspired by a sharp rebound in mainland stocks, as energy shares led falls.The Hang Seng index fell 0.8 percent, to 19,446.84, while the China Enterprises Index lost 1.1 percent, to 8,058.83 points.