Sanusi Tasks Islamic Banks to Impact Financial System

By James Emejo

Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi yesterday challenged the Islamic financial institutions to take advantage of the favourable regulatory environment to make an impact in the industry by introducing competitive and innovative products which with the principles of Sharia law.
He spoke at the opening of the National Conference on Islamic Banking and Finance in Nigeria, which was organised by Shaikh Nsir Kabara Research Centre in Abuja.

Sanusi Tasks Islamic Banks to Impact Financial System

Sanusi Tasks Islamic Banks to Impact Financial System

Sanusi however noted that Islamic finance had shown its potential in achieving financial inclusion in many economies by bringing large numbers of hitherto unbanked and under-banked populations especially Muslims to the organised financial sector.

His charge came on a day the Chairman, Board of Directors of Jaiz Bank Plc, Alhaji Umaru Mutallab, also called on the regulatory authorities in the banking sector to urgently develop “Sharia-compliant liquidity management instruments” in which non-interest Islamic banks can invest in.

However, Sanusi said Sanusi said in view of the potential which Islamic banking offer, the CBN in conjunction with other sister institutions had assembled a technical team to explore the prospects of alternative modes of finance and set out the procedures for using the modes in the development of infrastructure.

He said: “In the face of the growing inter-connectedness of the global financial system and it’s integration, Islamic financial markets have established their presence in all the major global financial centres, and constitutes an integral part of the global financial landscape, playing a key role in deepening financial markets with products and instruments accessed across board. It is thus unrealistic for any existing or aspiring financial centre to be oblivious of this development.

“The efficacy of the Islamic finance in attracting liquidity to national economies especially through the Sukuk instruments structured for infrastructure development has also shown the contribution that Islamic finance can give to developing economies in building their much needed infrastructure”.

Meanwhile, Mutallab also commended the CBN, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Debt Management Office (DMO) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for setting up the required regulatory framework for the establishment of non-interest Islamic banking in the country, adding that there was more to be done especially in the area of Sharia-compliant liquidity management instruments.

He expressed satisfaction that the controversy, which trailed the introduction of non-interest Islamic banking and finance in the country had been rested as people of all faiths were beginning to understand and embrace this alternative mode of banking.

Mutallab said: “We at Jaiz Bank are proud to have pioneered the setting up of the first full-fledged non-interest bank in the country. I am confident that as we continue to expand and create the much needed knowledge and awareness of Islamic finance, people will begin to understand and accept it. This is important because globally, the market for Islamic banking is growing rapidly and this robust growth is expected to continue into the foreseeable future.
“In many parts of world, Islamic banking has evolved from being just a niche offering into being part of the mainstream financial service landscape. I strongly believe that this trend will replicate itself here in Nigeria and other parts of Africa.”

Europe Debt Crisis Offers Growth Opportunity For Islamic Banks

Europe Debt Crisis Offers Growth Opportunity For Islamic Banks

The European debt crisis and public anger over government aid to banks offered Islamic lenders a “golden opportunity” to capture a bigger share of the world banking market, according to Noor Investment Group LLC.

Islamic banking has the potential to overtake conventional lenders by offering an alternative to both Muslims and non- Muslims, Hussain Al Qemzi, chief executive officer of the United Arab Emirates-based group, said in a statement at the World Islamic Banking Conference in Singapore today.

“The world is crying out for a better, more ethical way of doing business,” he said. “Now is the time to position our industry as a global alternative financial system, one which can safeguard against the excesses.”

Islamic banking assets with commercial banks are expected to reach $1.1 trillion this year from $826 billion in 2010, according to an estimate published by Ernst & Young. Financial- services firms are under pressure from governments to reduce compensation amid public anger about trillions of dollars of taxpayer assistance to banks.


Jewelers find backers despite credit-crunch trend

Retailers, especially those in the booming gold and jewellery industry, are seeking huge loans to expand across the region, the borrowing surge comes even as banks shut up shop and shun lending to other sectors of the economy.

Pure Gold Jewelers, based in Dubai, is the latest retailer to enter into negotiations with lenders to help fund a rapid roll-out of new shops across the Gulf and India.

Firoz Merchant, the chairman and founder of Pure Gold, is looking to invest Dh1 billion (US$272 million) in new stores and factories during the next five years, and the company has entered into talks with a number of Islamic banks to help finance the expansion.

“We are getting Islamic finance, which is already in process with the banks,” he said. “Many banks have approached me in the last many days for financing. Opening 200 stores is about a Dh1bn investment, but I think that is a realistic figure. It’s not too much. It’s acceptable investment for a jeweller.”

Overall, lending by groups of banks is at its weakest level in the region since 2004.

Borrowers in Gulf countries have raised just $2.9bn of syndicated loans so far this year, which is an eight-year low, according to data from Bloomberg. The total compares with $3.89bn raised during the same period last year.

Banks are still wary of possible fallout from the euro-zone crisis and companies have instead been considering tapping the capital markets for finance.

“Despite the issues in other parts of the economy, some retail names are doing very well and banks recognize that,” said Mahin Dissanayake, a banking analyst at Fitch Ratings.

Retailers have enjoyed strong increases in sales in the past year as tourists visited the UAE and new stores and brands were launched. Banks are now considering financing those retailers looking to repeat their success in other parts of the Middle East and Asia.

“There’s 50 odd banks in the market and there’s very few sectors doing well, but obviously [retail] is doing pretty well,” said Mr. Dissanayake. “Banks are still very selective and are on the lookout for good opportunities – companies with good cash flow and a strong demand for products, like the gold segment.”

Last month, the jeweler Joyalukkas raised $100m in a syndicated loan from a consortium of banks to expand its network of stores.

Further underpinning the confidence in the sector, Dubai is looking to raise debt based on the future cash flows of the hugely successful Dubai Duty Free business, Reuters reported this week.

Meanwhile, Majid Al Futtaim, the conglomerate behind numerous malls and Carrefour in the Middle East, is also confident it can raise funds, recently establishing two financing programmes, a $2bn bond and a $1bn sukuk scheme.

“Everything depends on the performance, banks give money considering performance and our balance sheet is very strong,” said Mr. Merchant.

Pure Gold plans to expand in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, and Morocco and heavily in India.

The company made Dh750m in revenues last year and Mr. Merchant hopes to increase sales to Dh1bn this year.

“The investment is in a safe place,” he said. “The investment has appreciation – gold and diamond prices are rising. That’s why I have more confidence in my business.”

Islamic banks 'need mergers to fill in West gap'

Small and medium-sized Islamic banks may need to merge if they want to become bigger regional players capable of filling the funding hole left by shrinking Western banks, the head of Islamic finance at Deutsche Bank, told Reuters.

‘There are mismatch challenges,’ Salah Jaidah said on the sidelines of the Euromoney Islamic finance summit in London.

‘Their size, their appetite for long term funding, their ability to finance at competitive pricing. I see this as a big challenge and not happening already now,’ he added.

Most Islamic banks in the Middle East and North African region hold less than $13 billion in assets. Conventional banks, by comparison, hold an average of $38 billion in assets, a report by Ernst and Young estimated.

In the past, said Jaidah, it was the international banks which led oil and gas development and infrastructure projects in the region because they had the balance sheet, pricing mechanisms and appetite for long term funding.

Whilst Islamic banks might not immediately be able to face the challenge, Jaidah believes that within time they will be able to reposition themselves.

‘They might raise capital, might have more competitive prices and ultimately there might be some mergers between small-to-medium sized banks who want to become bigger players regionally.’

The GCC region has over 100 Islamic banks, ranging from Al Rajhi Bank of Saudi Arabia with a $25 billion market cap to small unlisted lenders, a Deutsche Bank report published in November said.

Deutsche Bank selected a list of potential winners which included Al Rajhi – the world’s largest Islamic bank – and Alinma bank in Saudia Arabia, AMMB Holdings in Malaysia and Bank Mandiri in Indonesia.

The idea of a so-called Islamic ‘mega-bank’ has already been touted in the region by Bahrain-based Al Baraka banking group .

Islamic finance prohibits the lending of money for interest and other activities such as speculation that violate religious principles.

Deutsche Bank, which first established a presence in the UAE in 1999, says that despite the current global economic turmoil there are still opportunities within the industry.

‘With the changes taking place in Mena region and our eagerness to reposition ourselves as a lead player within the industry, I expect that the portion of profit and earnings will be lucrative and will grow year after year,’ said Jaidah.

He sees encouraging signs from Oman, home to around 3 million Muslims, where the central bank last year reversed its secular stance on finance, allowing Islamic banks and subsidiaries to establish themselves in the country.

There might also be new geographic openings in North Africa, following the upheaval in the region and countries such as Turkey where the government plans its first-ever issue of Islamic bonds this year.

Globally, Islamic bond issuance rose to $23.3 billion last year from $13.9 billion in 2010, according to Thomson Reuters data.

On the corporate front, Deutsche Bank, which has advised on deals including Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemical Company’s (Satorp) $1 billion sukuk also sees more non-Islamic corporates tapping Islamic finance.

Bank Negara clarifies Fatwa ruling on forex trading

KUALA LUMPUR: Bank Negara Malaysia said today that only licensed financial institutions and money changers are allowed to conduct foreign currency trading.

This statement came about after the National Fatwa Council’s ruling on Wednesday that forex trading is forbidden for Muslims.

The Council’s statement on it being permissible among banks and money changers was not prominently mentioned in the media, which created some confusion among the public.

BNM said licensed commercial banks, Islamic banks, investment banks and international Islamic banks are allowed to buy and sell foreign currency in Malaysia, as provided under the Exchange Control Act 1953.

And under the Money Services Business Act 2011, so too are licensed money services business providers or money changers.

“In addition, Shariah-compliant financial products, including foreign exchange related transactions, offered and transacted by licensed Islamic financial institutions are approved by Shariah Committee of the respective financial institutions with endorsement from the Shariah Advisory Council of BNM,” said the central bank.

International Shariah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA) head of Research Affairs, Dr Asyraf Wadji Dusuki when contacted, said he lauded the National Fatwa Council’s decision as it is targeted at Muslim individuals who engage in forex trading via the Internet.

He said ISRA research on online forex trading raised a few concerns such as the leverage, rollover interest, the issues of qabd and qabl (status of ownership), and the element of gambling.

Asyraf said it is common from brokers to offer a loan in the form of leverage, which is against Islamic practice.

“For example, when an investor wants to have an open position worth US$1,000, the individual only needs to provide a capital of US$10 while the balance is offered by the broker in the form of a loan,” he said.

This practice, he said, can lead to riba (interest), whereby the broker will profit through what is known as spread – the differences between the bid and ask prices where the broker sells the currency to the trader at a high price and buying it at a low price.

Dr Asyraf added that according to ISRA’s study, almost all forex online platforms are operating without valid licences.


Meanwhile, National Fatwa Council chairman Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Abdul Shukor Husin clarified yesterday that not all the foreign exchange trading (forex trading) is forbidden to Muslims.


In a statement, he said the decision by the council on Wednesday was misreported in several media and explained that it was only referring to foreign currency scheme by individual spot forex through electronic platform.

He said the decision was taken as there were many doubts about the individual spot forex and it involves the trader to use the Internet, with uncertain outcomes.

“Such trading are against the Syarak laws and the Malaysian law,” he said in the statement.

However, he said the decision did not apply to other forms of trading in foreign currencies, such as by licensed money changers or between banks.

He said such trading are permissible as they do not involve currency speculation or uncertain outcomes.

Economy: Morocco, first Muslim banks soon



Morocco might soon create its first Islamic banks. The issue is indeed one of Benkirane government’s priorities: the Parliamentary group of PJD, the moderate Islamic party having won November’s elections, has already finished writing the draft bill to be presented at the Chamber of Deputies, drafted by a team of Party’s experts led by the General Affair and Governance Minister Mohamed Najiib Boulif. On the financial instruments’ market, the so-called “Islamic” instruments were already partially available, but the institutes managing them had never expressed their interest in the creation of specialized banks. However, PJD’s victory changed many things, since the model has proved to resist the crisis and showed a large potential for growth. The draft bill begins with classification of the general principles underlying products currently traded by banks, grouping them into halal (allowed) and haram (forbidden) by Sharia and specifies that lending must not be the source of profit. Imposing interests is therefore prohibited and lending is not considered a form of trading anymore: “Funding agreement with banks imply participation of the bank itself in both profits and losses”. Actually, Islamic banks do not merely propose financial brokering services as in traditional banking regimes; they play an active role in wealth generation, transformation and trade processes. The draft bill proceeds to determine which financing models are allowed. In general, they are “contracts compliant to Sharia regarding the use of funds aimed at generating profits”.

The institutes allowed to work within this system are grouped in three categories: Islamic banks, financial institutions similar to Islamic banks and Islamic financial institutions.

Today, any moral entity allowed to collect funds, manage and invest them according to the Islamic law might be labelled as Islamic bank. These institutes would be subject to Sharija, not to current laws regulating the credit institutions and similar bodies, except the provisions that are already compliant with the Sharia. This would not prevent Islamic financial institutes from entering today’s bank system: they would act under protection of Bank Al-Maghrib, the Moroccan Central Bank and by the National Council of Money and Savings, according to provisions of the Central bank, both as far as monitoring and prudential principles are concerned. The PJD project would also allow traditional banks to convert into Islamic banks, either totally or partially, creating branch offices, local cash desks or investment funds specialized in this kind of activity.

According to La Vie Eco, the total amount of funds currently circulating in the world’s Islamic finance is estimated at more than USD 1000 bln in 2011, that is, a growth by 50% over 2008 and by 21% over 2010. About one fourth of the world’s population is Muslim, so the system has significant potential for growth; experts estimate that Islamic finance might absorb between 40 and 50% of savings in this group.

Islamic banking draft moots five-member Sharia board

MUSCAT: A five-member Sharia board, exclusive branches for window operation, clear cut segregation of conventional and Islamic banking with separate teams of people and accounts and a 12 per cent capital adequacy ratio are the main highlights of the Islamic Banking Draft Framework (IBRF) presented by the Central Bank of Oman before chief executives of banks in Oman.

CBO has organised a consultative meeting for top officials of banks on January 25 for presenting the draft Islamic banking rules, which the apex bank’s consultants Ernst & Young termed as a ‘unique model.’ The banking regulator is still working on the regulation, and may incorporate changes on the basis of feedbacks from banks, before announcing it. Ernst & Young has advised the CBO on fixing of lending limits, single borrower limit, writing of rule books, procedures for reporting structure for Islamic banks and formation of Sharia board.

Of the five-member Sharia board, three should be experienced Islamic scholars and two should be from relevant field, either a professional in Islamic law or Islamic accounting, chief executive officers of two leading banks, who attended the consultative meeting, told Times of Oman. CBO’s draft regulation also stipulates on separate branches for Islamic banking window operation of conventional banks.

“There needs to be a separate team of people for accounts, information technology, marketing and compliance for Islamic banking line of business. There is also a separate head for Islamic banking. However, the back office support can be common for conventional and Islamic banking.

The whole idea is to create a perception among general public that these are two distinctly different lines of business,” said a chief executive of a bank, who does not want to be named. The draft regulation also insists on a 12 per cent capital adequacy, with a minimum paid up capital of RO10 million for starting window operation.

Another major suggestion for window operation is that funds can be pumped into Islamic line of business by a conventional parent bank, but Islamic banking operation can not transfer money for using it in conventional banking. “This could create problems at the macro-level, at least initially.

For instance, if all banks put together transfer RO1 billion into Islamic banking initially and in case half of the total funds can not be deployed due to lack of demand for credit, then the money can not be transferred back to conventional line of business for effectively deploying in the financial system,” noted another CEO of a bank, who viewed it on a macro economic level.

Another major concern expressed by bankers is the lack of availability of Sharia scholars to become board members of Islamic banking. “Everybody is getting into Islamic banking now. We are talking about 30 Sharia scholars. It is difficult to get people with relevant experience and it is going to be a challenge.

Even the region does not have that many people. This is what we are discussing with the Central Bank of Oman,” noted the official. It is also not clear whether a Sharia scholar can be a member of two boards.

Bankers also expressed their concerns on segregating risk management for Islamic banking line of business from conventional banking. “At the end of the day, risk is the same whether it is Islamic banking line of business or conventional line of business. And therefore, it should be on the parent bank and not separate it for Islamic banking,” noted the banker.

Sources also noted that there will be severe competition, with the imminent entry of two Islamic banks.

Islamic banks profitability up 58% in Q1FY12

KARACHI: The profit of Islamic banking industry (IBI) reached Rs 8 billion by end of the first quarter of 2011-12, showing growth of over 58 percent, as earning’s growth rate of conventional banks having Islamic banking branches is significantly higher than the growth rate of full-fledged Islamic banks.

The study ‘Islamic Banking Bulletin July-September 2011’ released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) revealed that the share of full-fledged banks in overall profit of IBI though declined marginally over this quarter still constitutes major share (55 percent share) of overall profit of the industry.

The growth in profit during the said quarter is relatively lower than the growth rate of the last quarter (100 percent). However, the significantly higher growth rate of the last quarter can be associated to the base effect.

IBI continued its positive trend of earning as indicated by the rising trend in return on assets (RoA) and return on equity (RoE), both these ratios though didn’t show any significant change over the quarter under review for the overall banking industry.

It is also worth noticing that for IBI ‘net mark-up or profit income to gross income’ indicated a decline while ‘non-mark-up or profit income to gross income’ showed an upward trend, which is in contrast to overall banking industry norms.

As of end September 2011, the total assets of the IBI stood at Rs 568 billion, constituting 7.3 percent share of overall banking industry.The deposits of IBI reached Rs 463 billion during the quarter under review and its share increased to 8 percent of the overall banking industry from 7.6 percent in the last quarter (April-June 2011); the yearly basis growth of the deposits was almost 37 percent.

However, investments growth decelerated while financing witnessed retrenchment compared to the previous quarter. The deceleration in growth of investment can be explained by the non-issuance of any new Sukuk during the quarter while the retrenchment in financing is due to the business cycle of most corporate clients as well as the overall economic conditions of the country.

The industry witnessed rising non-performing financing (NPF) during the period under discussion reaching Rs 15.7 billion from Rs 14.8 billion during the last quarter, even so the IBI continued to achieve higher profit and increase in earnings.

The Islamic banking branches’ network increased to 841 branches from 799 as at the close of the last quarter. By opening 42 branches during the quarter the industry also achieved 62 percent of its planned annual branch expansion plan for 2011.

In line with the past trend these additional branches are more concentrated in Punjab (23) and Sindh, which constitute 78 percent share of overall network of the industry. Among banks, Meezan Bank Limited has remained prominent in expansion of its network with an increase of 20 branches during the said period.

However, the industry still seems reluctant in expanding to second and third-tier cities.The assets of IBI reached Rs 568 billion as compared to Rs 560 billion in the last quarter, registering a growth of 2 percent during the quarter under study; the growth is significantly lower than that of the last quarter, SBP report said.

It is important to note that assets of full-fledged Islamic banks witnessed a decline in growth rate from 10 percent in the last quarter to 3 percent in the quarter ended September 2011, while Islamic banking divisions (IBDs) of conventional banks contracted by 1 percent over the period under study in contrast to 17 percent growth in the last quarter mainly attributable to the category of other assets.

The financing of IBIs retrenched by almost 6 percent as it dropped to Rs 177 billion by end of the quarter under study from Rs 188 billion in the last quarter. This fall in financing is in line with the trend of overall banking industry and also with the usual trend of IBIs.

In general the business cycle of most industries including textile (the major shareholder of financing of IBIs) enable industries to retire major portion of their financing in third quarter (from July to September).

This can also be seen by looking at the sector-wise financing of IBI, as the corporate sector that comprises more than 70 percent of the financing recorded negative growth of more than 5 percent. The decline in financing share of industries like textile, sugar, shoes and leather garments etc also support the premise of drop in financing due to nature of their business cycle.

IBI’s investment reached Rs 236 billion in the quarter ending September 2011 from Rs 231 billion in June 2011, registering a growth of only 2.2 percent in contrast to the growth of 19 percent during the last quarter. The lower growth of investment during the quarter is primarily attributable to non-issuance of government of Pakistan’s Sukuk.

However, the available government’s Sukuk in the market remained the major investment avenue for Islamic banking institutions particularly for IBDs. The asset quality of the industry deteriorated marginally with non-performing financing (NPF) increasing from Rs 14.9 billion to Rs 15.8 billion during the quarter under study. The industry witnessed Rs 0.8 billion increase in the category of substandard while Rs 0.2 billion in category of doubtful.

However, this quarterly rise in NPFs is in line with the quarterly growth of NPLs of the overall banking industry. The yearly basis growth rate of 16.8 percent in NPF is lower than that of last quarter, however, the quarterly growth rate (6 percent) is higher than that of the previous quarter indicated by the rising trend of NPFs to financing as well as the net infection ratio.

However, both mentioned ratios are still below than the overall industry average (almost half) hinting at the cautious approach of Islamic banks.Deposits of the industry reached Rs 463 billion by end of the third quarter (September 2011), increasing from Rs 452 billion by end of the last quarter (June 2011).

However, the growth rate witnessed a decline – both annually and quarterly. It is interesting to note that despite the fall in overall growth rate of deposits the category of fixed deposits of customers witnessed a significant rise in its annual and quarterly growth rates from 31.8 percent to 36.5 percent and from 6.3 percent to 7.5 percent, respectively.

Top Oman Islamic banks to float shares

Oman’s two Islamic banks will float 40 per cent of their shares by June, the Sultanate’s central bank executive president Hamood Sangour al-Zadjali said on Monday.

Both banks, which are currently under formation, were awarded sharia-compliant banking licences last year – Bank Nizwa in May and Al Izz in August – after the Sultanate reversed its position as the only Gulf state which did not allow banks to specifically offer products and services complying with Islamic law.

‘Bank Nizwa will issue an initial public offering of 40 per cent of its capital of RO150 million ($389.61 million), while Al Izz International Bank will issue 40 per cent of its RO100 million capital by June this year,’ Zadjali told reporters on the sidelines of an Islamic finance conference.

Bank Nizwa has picked Oman Arab Bank as the issue manager for its IPO, an Omani banking source said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the information is not public.Al Izz has not mandated anyone to lead its offering, the source added.

Conventional lenders are also allowed to establish Islamic banking windows in the non-Opec oil producer.Both Bank Muscat and National Bank of Oman have said they would do so, while Standard Chartered is considering whether to offer sharia-compliant services.

Islamic banking faces liquidity risk: Expert

Doha: Islamic banking sector is increasingly facing liquidity risk across all geographical regions. The situation is more challenging in the GCC region, said an expert.

He called for the industry leaders and the regulators to create new instruments and develop fresh policy tools for  the liquidity risk management in the Islamic industry sector.

Dr Salman Syed Ali of Islamic Research and Training Institute, Saudi Arabia, cautioned that the Islamic banking sector might also go the way of conventional banks, unless effective tools are not in place immediately.

Dr Salman, who was in Doha to attend the International Conference on Islamic Economics and Finance, told The Peninsula: “The structure of liquidity of Islamic banks have changed significantly over the years.  From an era of liquidity surplus in the beginning of the decade Islamic banks are now in the era of liquidity shortages. In general, the banks have moved from a position of positive gap to a negative one or from a negative gap to a more negative one.”

The level of liquidity in Islamic banking has been decreasing while liquidity risk has been increasing in all geographical regions over the past decade. The risk has further increased after the global financial crisis.

Contrary to the general perception, the liquidity of Islamic banking industry in the GCC is lowest with highest liquidity risk when measured by liquidity ratio and financing to deposit ratio.

There has been a major structural change in the maturity profile of assets and liabilities of Islamic banks between the years 2000 and 2009 from a position of positive short-term maturity gap to a negative gap.  This, according to Dr Salman, is a strong indication of a liquidity risk.

In comparison with the conventional banks, the Islamic banks, despite downward trend in their liquidity ratio, are holding much higher proportion of liquid assets.  Even during the financial crisis the liquidity in Islamic banks was more than twice the liquidity of conventional banks. This, among other factors, may have helped Islamic banks to ride out of the crisis.  But things are changing in the industry.

For want of updated Islamic instruments for liquidity management, the fully fledged Islamic banks face more difficulties compared to the conventional banks and the Islamic banking windows of conventional banks. A comprehensive review liquidity management practices and policies of Islamic industry is an urgent need.

“Out of the box thinking is needed to come up with solutions.  Researchers and policy makers need not confine their thinking within the present model of commercial banking and the set-up of the existing financial sector”, he said.

Among the GCC countries, Kuwait had consistently low liquidity ratio over the period. UAE is the country where liquidity ratio dropped most and remained lowest during the global crisis.  Among other countries, Jordan has the highest liquidity ratio consistently since 2004 followed by Malaysia.  The liquidity ratio in Sudan has been consistently showing a downward trend since 2004.

An important measure of liquidity risk is the Financing to Deposit Ratio – a situation that captures the relationship between changing nature of demand for financing and deposit gathering ability of banks to fund that demand.  This ratio is quite high in the GCC and Mena when compared to other regions,  Dr Salman said.