Britain aims to be first Western country to issue Islamic bond

By REUTERS
October 29, 2013 15:22

British Prime Minister David Cameron made a bid to position London as a leading hub for Islamic finance on Tuesday, announcing plans for Britain to become the first Western country to issue a sovereign sukuk, or Islamic bond.

The planned issue, worth around 200 million pounds ($323 million) and expected next year, would be much smaller than an originally planned sukuk, but would provide a much-needed liquidity management tool for Britain's six Islamic lenders and could encourage local firms to consider issuing sukuk of their own.

Britain's push to promote itself as a leading Islamic finance hub comes as competition heats up with other financial centers in Asia, led by Malaysia, and in the Middle East.

Britain first announced plans for a sovereign sukuk five years ago but that issue never materialized as the country's Debt Management Office decided the structure was too expensive.


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