According to many analysts, global sukuk issuance may receive better pricing than other types of bonds given the relatively comfortable liquidity levels of Islamic institutions vis a vis their conventional counterparts.  For instance, the Abu Dhabi-based Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), whose inaugural $1bn conventional bond tranche under a$3bn Global Medium Term Note (GMTN) Program this past summer was oversubscribed while being priced to yield 390 basis points over U.S. Treasuries, is hoping to raise close to another $1bn for general corporate purposes, per two unnamed bankers.  Among other current endeavors, TDIC is working on “spin-offs” of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums in the UAE capital.  Additionally, last month the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank raised $850 million through a five-year sukuk priced at par that yielded 40 basis points over five-year mid-swaps, and 77 points over five-year benchmark U.S. Treasuries respectively.  Meanwhile, ratings agencies Fitch and Standard & Poor’s both assigned an AA rating to the TDIC issue, while Moody’s assigned Aa2.  Per S&P, the sukuk market has languished in 2009, falling roughly 16%.  That said, the agency sees a “strong pipeline” of issuance in waiting.  Nevertheless, citing a tepid investor response to a four-year lockup period, HSBC recently delayed the launch of its first Sukuk-based fund.

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