Malaysia: Malaysia visits Japan to push Islamic finance
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Malaysia: Malaysia visits Japan to push Islamic finance

Demand is high, but the volume and diversity of instruments is limited.

"We’re aiming for 50 meetings in five days," says Dato’ Mohd Razif Abd Kadir, deputy governor of Bank Negara Malaysia, and although he claims to be exhausted he shows no signs of it.

He’s in Tokyo as part of a Malaysian delegation promoting with evangelical zeal the developing Islamic finance market, and his country’s own role in fostering it. Demand from investors is high, say Kadir and his colleagues from Negara, the Malaysian central bank, but the volume and the diversity of instruments issued need to grow and it is to that end that they have set off on a tour of Asia.

"Islamic finance is the biggest thing in global finance today," says Datuk Kris Azman Abdullah, director in the issues and investment division of Malaysia’s securities commission. "It’s a new market that is primed to grow. We need to meet investors and issuers and increase the depth and breadth of the market. We’ve had some encouragement in China, and in Japan JBIC [the Japan Bank for International Cooperation] has signed a memorandum of understanding with Bank Negara regarding cooperation on the issue."

Kadir cites an impressive list of issuers taking advantage of the thirst for Islamic bonds: Nestlé, Tesco, Shell, and Japanese retailer Aeon.

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