Interpreting Middle East Economic News and Analyzing Market Trends

Category: Banks

Ambitious Gulf investors to launch Islamic bank in Luxembourg with goal of serving wider European market


Islamic Bank in Lux

Gulf investors are again attempting to launch an Islamic bank in mainland Europe, this time in Luxembourg.  There have been previous attempts at launching Islamic banks in France and Germany, but they were never launched siting an unaccommodating banking regulator as the reason.  Other Islamic banks were launched in Switzerland over the years, but their objectives were very narrow in scope.  The UK, on the other hand, has been the most successful in this regard since it was the first Western country to adopt Islamic banking regulation.  Today, there are four Islamic banks operating in the UK, one retail and three investment banks.  Will an Islamic bank in Luxembourg be successful?

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Is the Fed losing control of the market?

QE3 - 2012 to 2013

Chart Source: Yahoo!


The saying goes ‘never bet against the Fed.’  The U.S. Federal Reserve’s nearly endless resources deter even the most seasoned investors from going against it.  What the Fed wants, the Fed gets… or so we are to believe…


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Dubai’s first IPO in over four years has no trades, but Al-Hilal Bank’s latest sukuk issue was 12 times oversubscribed



Source: Amilin TV


Bank of London & the Middle East, also known as BLME, listed its shares on Nasdaq Dubai, the Emirate’s second exchange, on October 8th, but had no trading on its first day.  BLME is a six-year old Islamic bank based in London.  This marks Dubai’s first IPO in over four years.  Nasdaq Dubai is the smaller of the two exchanges in the Emirate.  The Dubai Financial Market (DFM) is the primary exchange, which has lately seen its highest trading activity since the financial crisis.  The DFM is up nearly 70% year-to-date on a lot of euphoria, which has spread across all sectors in the UAE, especially real estate and Islamic finance.  The latest sukuk issue to hit the market was 12-times oversubscribed… so what happened to this IPO?


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Cyprus goes from bad to worse: Tourists stay away and Russian money heads to the Virgin Islands

Empty beach in cyprus


The good news this past week was that the recession in the Eurozone is over.  Click here for the Bloomberg article and here for the New York Times article.  I’m sure the people in Cyprus are relieved… as are the people in Greece, Ireland, Spain and Portugal.  The reality is that the recession (more like depression) is just beginning in countries like Cyprus.  Tourist arrivals are down, Russian money is moving to the Virgin Islands and capital controls are strangling what’s left of the economy.


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Saudi bank deposits hit record, but this may not be a good sign

Saudi Riyal

Saudi bank deposits hit a fresh record in the first quarter this year rising to SR 1.36 trillion ($363 billion) for the first time.  While there is good news in this, it may not be as good as it seems at first.


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