During 2019, Islamic banks achieved approximate profits of QR7bn, which indicates a growth rate of 6% over the previous year.
The country’s Islamic banking sector witnessed the completion of the merger of Barwa Bank with the International Bank of Qatar, which “significantly boosted” the performance of Islamic banks during the year, Bait Al-Mashura Finance said.
Dr Khalid al-Sulaiti
Last year, Islamic bank assets achieved a higher growth rate of 18.8% compared to 6.2% for traditional commercial banks. Deposits also grew by 15.9% and finances increased by 22.2%, tending more towards consumer and real estate sector.
In Takaful insurance sector, the assets of policyholders in Takaful insurance companies grew by 7.7%, and the contributions of Takaful insurance increased by 5.5%.
Most of these companies achieved insurance surpluses amounting to QR29.7mn, Bait Al-Mashura Finance noted.
In 2019, the assets of Islamic finance companies decreased by 3.2%. However, the revenues of finance activities of these companies increased by 2% and their business results varied between profits and losses.
The total profits achieved by this sector amounted to QR96mn in 2019, which denotes a decrease of 9% over the previous year.
In Islamic investment companies, the assets of The First Investor Company grew by 1.3% and achieved profits of QR8.3mn.
In the field of Sukuk, 2019 witnessed a remarkable increase in bond issuances, which amounted to QR19.1bn with a growth of 51.8%.
Sukuk issuances of Islamic banks increased by 115% and governmental sukuk increased by 24.4%. Some of these sukuks were listed on global exchanges.
The assets of investment funds amounted to QR903mn and the performance of these funds was mostly “positive” during the year. In Qatar Stock Exchange, QE Al Rayan Islamic Index recorded an increase of 65.97 points at the rate of 1.7%, to close at the end of the year at 3,950.88 points.
In his foreword, HE the Qatar Central Bank Governor Sheikh Abdulla bin Saoud al-Thani said the presence of Islamic finance in Qatar was boosted in 2019 with the completion of the first banking merger in Qatar between Barwa Bank and the International Bank of Qatar. This, he said, was “in light of successful measures that demonstrated the flexibility of the regulatory and supervisory system of Qatar Central Bank.”
Thanks to this merger, he noted Islamic banks achieved high growth rates during the year. The past year also witnessed success for Islamic banks in Qatar at the international level, represented in the successful listing of their Sukuk on the global stock exchanges, which reflected the level of confidence in the Qatari economy and Islamic banking.
Sheikh Abdulla said, “The banking system in Qatar has maintained its stability and growth thanks to adoption of regulatory standards aimed at strengthening the banking sector and ensuring its ability to absorb shocks. Despite the events that occurred in the past year, which affected global growth, the financial and banking sector in Qatar is still healthy, safe and robust, and its sectors have achieved positive growth rates.
He said, “Digitalisation, financial innovation and their rapid developments that we are witnessing nowadays may reshape the banking scene in the world and this requires keeping pace with these developments with more regulatory frameworks and continuous development of legislation, which is what Qatar Central Bank is keen on as part of its strategic plan. In this context, preparations are being made to launch the Financial Technology Strategy and ‘Sandbox’.
“In addition, financial and banking institutions shall direct their efforts towards developing the services and products they provide to customers and adopting the latest technologies.”
Sheikh Abdulla said the “future of technology and innovation-based financial and banking sector” requires more coordination between financial, research and academic institutions to support specialised research studies and provide the financial and banking industry with the results of these studies. This is in order to ensure building sound strategies and expanding the circle of financial knowledge.
Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti, vice-chairman, Bait Al Mashura said, "Our keenness at Bait Al Mashura to present these studies and reports on the Islamic finance sector in Qatar stems from our mission through which we seek to spread the culture of Islamic financial industry inside and outside the State of Qatar and to serve this important sector by highlighting its developmental role and reviewing the progresses of its performance."