The Institute of International Finance (IIF) estimated in its latest report that the assets of Islamic Banking industry in the GCC has reached a total of $314bn by the end of 2011, representing about 19 percent of the total assets of the Gulf banks that amounts to about two trillion dollars.The IIF estimated the assets of Islamic banks around the world $1.6trn..
Saudi Arabia, with an estimated $92bn assets, leads in terms of the size of the Islamic banking market in the region, followed by the United Arab Emirates- $80bn and Kuwait at about $ 70bn. Bahrain 's assets has been estimated to$ 38 bn, an Arabic daily quoted IIF report as saying.
In terms of the number of banks, Bahrain tops with 19 bank followed UAE-10 and Kuwait-9 banks. The IIF expects the industry to grow at an annual rate of 15-20 percent driven mainly by reforms in the regulatory frame work, high oil prices and the increase in demand for Islamic products.
The GCC is key for the global Islamic banking sector with the presence of some of the largest banks in the Islamic world, including Al Rajhi Bank in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait Finance House in Kuwait, with total assets worth $ 46bn and $40bn respectively.
In terms of the share of Islamic banking industry by country, the Kuwaiti banking sector represents 34.3 percent of the total banking assets of that country. Qatar ranks second with 19 percent. While the Islamic banking sector represents 15.9 percent of Saudi's total banking assets, UAE and Bahrain has 14 percent and 10.9 percent respectively.
The IIF report noted the region's Islamic financial institutions will continue to attract new players and further boost the sector. The report underpinned the need for the Islamic banking industry bringing in reforms in their regulation to further boost the banking sector.
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