Issuers warm to cross-border sukuk, many tap into M'sia

During the past year, there have been a number of cross-regional sukuk, mostly by Gulf issuers tapping Malaysia's highly liquid market. However, sukuk structures are not standardised, and some Gulf-based sharia scholars have objected to certain structures used in Asia, a region which has proven to be more flexible in its transactions. Sukuk issuance in the Middle East outside of the Gulf is also becoming more attractive, notably Turkey, which was recently elevated to investment grade credit status and is bidding to develop an Islamic finance industry. Growth in cross-border Islamic bond issues points to greater convergence in the industry, opening the door to a much wider pool of investors.

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