Saudi Arabia fortifies position as largest Islamic finance market
Moody's expects Islamic financing in Saudi Arabia to reach around 80 percent of system-wide loans in the next 12-18 months, up from 78 percent of loans in 2019 and 70 percent in 2013.
Moody’s noted that corporates and households are increasingly using Islamic products amid the economic challenges posed by low oil prices and the coronavirus crisis.
Saudi Arabia had a total of $339 billion in Islamic finance assets as of March 2020, leaving Malaysia in a distant second place with $145 billion.
According to Ashraf Madani, VP-Senior Analyst at Moody’s, with Saudi's comprehensive set of Islamic finance regulations prompting local banks to issue Sukuk, Islamic products are now on the main market, and an Islamic mortgage refinancing business being established.
Increasing government Sukuk issuance supported by more lenient entry rules and deepening capital markets could boost foreign investment.
Mergers and acquisitions across the region are also accelerating the shift to Islamic finance.