Thursday 29, June 2017 by William Mullally

UAE’s AED 522 billion Islamic banking assets will boost the country’s Halal sector

Islamic banks’ gross credit increased 8.4 per cent to AED 343 billion in the first quarter of 2017, including AED 325 billion domestic credit that grew 7.4 per cent that will help the UAE’s Halal economy to grow faster than non-Halal sector.

The UAE’s AED 522 billion Islamic banking assets will help fuel the growth of the country’s Halal sector, according to research conducted by Orange Fairs and Events, organisers of the Halal Expo Dubai 2017.

Seven Islamic banks out of the 23 registered commercial banks in the UAE represent nearly a fifth of the country’s banking assets. Islamic banks’ assets grew more than three times of the Conventional banks’ assets during the first quarter of 2017, according to the UAE Central Bank’s latest quarterly report.

“In the first quarter of 2017, Islamic banks’ assets had a higher growth (3.2 per cent) than the conventional ones (one per cent), while on an annual basis Islamic banks grew by 8 per cent and continued to dominate the conventional banks growth that showed an increase of 5.9 per cent,” the report, issued by the UAE Central Bank, said.

“The share of conventional banks’ assets at the end of 2017 Q1 is 80.3 per cent of the total, while the share of the Islamic banks assets is 19.7 per cent. Islamic banks’ financing growth has been dominating the conventional banks’ loans increase in the first quarter of 2017 in almost all subcategories, with exception of financing to government and GREs.”

Gross credit of the Islamic banks in the UAE recorded a 8.4 per cent growth to AED 343 billion, or nearly double the rate of 4.4 per cent growth rate of gross credit of the conventional banks in the first quarter of 2017.

Similarly, domestic credit growth of the Islamic banks also rose 7.4 per cent to AED 325 billion in the first quarter of 2017. The growth rate is nearly double than the 4.1 per cent growth in domestic credit growth of the conventional banks.

Higher assets and gross credit growth rates empower the Islamic banks to fund the Halal industries and help fuel the growth of Halal or Islamic economic activities. By nature, Islamic banks engage in ethical finance and asset-based lending – that eliminates speculation-based high-risk financial activities and insulate the sector from economic crises – witnessed during the 2008-09 global financial crisis – when the asset-based ethical finance emerged stronger and helped Islamic banks to overcome the stress tests by a wider margin compared to the Conventional lenders – many of whom collapsed and had to be bailed out by governments.

Islamic banks’ credit to individuals recorded a 7.6 per cent to AED 126 billion in the first quarter, compared to 2 per cent growth in the conventional banks’ credit to individuals that reached AED 224 billion in the first quarter of 2017.


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