A year on and the Middle East is still grappling with political instability and riding the wave of change. Throughout the region there exists a polarity between progress and setbacks, hope and despair. The mutable nature of the Arab world’s political landscape has left its impact on many countries, including Bahrain which, up to two years ago, was considered to be an up-and-coming financial center – and with much support from the government and central bank, a potential hub for Islamic finance. However, the country’s Islamic finance aspirations currently lie beleaguered amidst the rubble of in-fighting and negative investor sentiment.
In terms of Islamic finance, the Middle East has had a stellar year this year, with the opening up of the Saudi Arabian capital market, innovative issuances such as the ADIB perpetual Sukuk, major issuances originating from Qatar including one of, if not the largest sovereign deal this year – the US$4 billion government of Qatar Sukuk, as well as the gradual opening up of the Omani and Turkish markets.
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