DGCX to launch region’s first Shariah-compliant spot gold contract

Saudi Arabia’s gold demand is estimated between 60 and 85 tons, according to the World Gold Council. (Reuters)
Updated 19 August 2017

DGCX to launch region’s first Shariah-compliant spot gold contract

DUBAI: The Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange (DGCX) will develop and launch the region’s first Shariah-compliant spot gold contract as the precious metal is getting a bigger role on Islamic finance.
DGCX is partnering with Saudi conglomerate Ayedh Dejem Group to make the $7.5 trillion gold market more investable for the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims, who are limited by the type of gold instruments they are allowed to investments in due to Shariah restrictions.
“We are looking at this product to develop local markets and unlock the potential of gold trading in the region. We are delighted to collaborate with the Ayedh Dejem Group as we believe the new spot gold contract will encourage new and existing institutional participants to invest and trade in Shariah-compliant products,” said Gaurang Desai, the chief executive DGCX.
“Bringing Shariah-compliant products to a wider audience will continue to garner interest from the local populous as well as other global entities that are looking for a route into the newest and fastest growing sector of the mainstream financial markets.”
Shariah-compliant gold investments are now estimated to be worth $2 trillion, and the decision to launch the spot gold contract should further attract the interest of regional Islamic financial institutions and banks, DGCX said.
“We believe our partnership with DGCX supports our vision to enhance cross-border collaboration as it offers access to the regional gold and commodities market, providing customers with improved hedging and investment solutions in compliance with Shariah law,” said Ayedh Bin Dejem, the chairman for Ayedh Dejem Group.
Gold has traditionally played a minor role in Islamic finance because of uncertainty on what are religiously permissible investments on the precious metal, which in turn has slowed product development and constrained investor demand.
In December, Bahrain-based Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions, working with the World Gold Council, came out with guidelines to clarify existing Islamic rulings on gold trading and make it easier to conduct complex transactions.
One of the rules called gold transactions to be fully backed by physical metal and settled on the same day to adhere to Islam’s distinction between real economic activity and speculation.


Big week for Big Tech as earnings, hearings loom

Updated 25 October 2020

Big week for Big Tech as earnings, hearings loom

  • The four giants drawing the most scrutiny — Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google — have been wildly successful in recent years

SAN FRANCISCO: Big Tech is bracing for a tumultuous week marked by quarterly results likely to show resilience despite the pandemic, and fresh attacks from lawmakers ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

With backlash against Silicon Valley intensifying, the companies will seek to reassure investors while at the same time fend off regulators and activists who claim these firms have become too dominant and powerful.

Earnings reports are due this week from Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and Google-parent Alphabet, whose combined value has grown to more than $7 trillion.

They have also woven themselves into the very fabric of modern life, from how people share views and get news to shopping, working, and playing.

Robust quarterly earnings results expected from Big Tech will “highlight the outsized strength these tech behemoths are seeing” but “ultimately add fuel to the fire in the Beltway around breakup momentum,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said in a note to investors.

The results come amid heightened scrutiny in Washington of tech platforms and follow a landmark antitrust suit filed against Google, which could potentially lead to the breakup of the internet giant, illustrative of the “techlash” in political circles.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans have voted to subpoena Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executives of Twitter and Facebook respectively, as part of a stepped-up assault on social media’s handling of online political content, notably the downranking of a New York Post article purported to show embarrassing information about Democrat Joe Biden.

CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google are already slated to testify at a separate Senate panel on Wednesday examining the so-called Section 230 law, which offers liability protection for content posted by others on their platforms.

The four giants drawing the most scrutiny — Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google — have been wildly successful in recent years and have weathered the economic impact of the pandemic by offering needed goods and services.

Google and Facebook dominate the lucrative online ad market, while Amazon is an e-commerce king.

Apple has come under fire for its tight grip on the App Store, just as it has made a priority of making money from selling digital content and services to the multitude of iPhone users.

The firms have stepped up lobbying, spending tens of millions this year, and made efforts to show their social contributions as part of their campaign to fend off regulation.

“For the most part, tech companies know how to do this dance,” said analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group.

“They don’t spend a lot of time bragging about how well they have done any more.”

Ed Yardeni of Yardeni Research said the outlook for Big Tech may not be as rosy as it appears.

“For one, regulators at home and abroad are gunning to rein in some of the largest US technology names,” Yardeni said in a research note.

Of interest to the market short-term will likely be whether backlash about what kind of content is left up and what is taken down by online titans causes advertisers to cut spending on the platforms.

Economic and social disruption from the pandemic also looms over tech firms, which benefitted early in the pandemic as people turned to the internet to work, learn, shop and socialize from home.

“Performance will be best for those providing solutions for people working at home,” analyst Enderle said.

Amazon, Google and Microsoft each have cloud computing divisions that have been increasingly powering revenue as demand climbs for software, services and storage provided as services from massive datacenters.

Amazon has seen booming sales on its platform during the pandemic, and viewing surge at its Prime streaming television service.

Enderle expressed concern that with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases and a lack of new stimulus money in the US, tech companies could reveal in forecasts that they are bracing for poorer performance in the current quarter.