Thailand mulls sukuk issue -World Bank
MANAMA Dec 14 (Reuters) - Thailand is considering issuing a sovereign sukuk, or Islamic bond, to tap the emerging Islamic finance industry, a World Bank official said on Monday.
"Thailand, which has not been a borrower for a number of years, has now re-approached us to think through some of these issues," James Adams, vice president for East Asia and Pacific told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference in Manama when asked about potential sovereign sukuk issuance in the region.
He said Thailand had approached the World Bank to support it with the issuance of a sukuk but that it was not clear yet which amounts the country was looking at. "You always start small in this business," he said.
Indonesia in April issued its first global sovereign sukuk, raising $650 million, and plans to issue its next sukuk to domestic retail investors in April 2010. [ID: nJAK490981]
"Clearly governments in South East Asia have some interest in tapping into Islamic finance," he said.
The World Bank is seeking to help the nascent $1 trillion industry off the ground with a focus on helping it develop micro finance in particular in South East Asia.
Its International Financing Corporation (IFC) in October issued a $100 million sukuk and plans to become a regular issuer.
Nearly all sukuk issues in 2009 came from governments or quasi-sovereign entities as private-sector issuance continued to suffer from a debate on the compliance of some sukuk structures with Islamic law and the repercussions of the global financial crisis.
(Click on [ID:nISLAMIC] for more Islamic finance stories and ISLAMIC for a speed guide) (Reporting by Frederik Richter; Editing by Andy Bruce)
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