Asia is fast emerging as an economic force to be reckoned with, in both the conventional and Islamic markets. Currently the most liquid and resource-rich market, the continent has become a focal point for investors looking to explore greener pastures. Perhaps the key to Asia’s popularity is its status as an emerging market, which directly implies a gamut of untapped investment opportunities for development and capital requirement to serve its growing population.
With a natural disposition for Islamic finance, due to the population demographic and a growing interest in Asian economies from western and Middle Eastern investors, countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Brunei are expected to continue attracting Shariah compliant investments and funds; almost inevitably becoming market leaders as long as they see continued regulatory support and proper infrastructure development. Malaysia is also currently expected to emerge as the top issuer in the global Sukuk league table by the end of this year, representing 60% of the global Sukuk issuances. A recent report by Standard & Poor’s affirmed this, stating: “Malaysia is now the world leader in Sukuk issuance. Political will, recognition of beneficial ownership, tax incentives, and a rising investor base have all supported the country’s continued growth trajectory.”
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