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

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

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.


Saudi private sector rebounds with growth at 10-month high

Updated 04 December 2020

Saudi private sector rebounds with growth at 10-month high

Saudi private sector rebounds with growth at 10-month high
  • Steep rise in sales and growing business confidence spark jump in purchasing, hiring activity

RIYADH: Business activity in Saudi Arabia has risen to its highest level since January this year, showing the Kingdom’s economy is beginning to overcome the worst effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to IHS Markit’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) Survey, the acceleration of output growth in the Saudi economy in November was driven by a steep rise in sales and strengthening business confidence.

The survey found that input purchasing rose, while employment growth also returned for the first time since January. Input cost inflation also quickened, leading to a stronger increase in average output charges.

The index has now registered above the 50.0 no-change mark for three months in a row, highlighting a sustained recovery after the economic downturn due to the pandemic.

The Saudi PMI rose to 54.7 in November from 51 the previous month — the strongest improvement since January. The indices vary between 0 and 100, with a reading above 50 indicating an overall increase compared with the previous month, and below 50 an overall decrease.

Both domestic and foreign sales rose last month, marking only the second upturn in new export orders since February.

Business confidence for the year ahead also improved notably during the month. In particular, firms were encouraged by the Saudi government’s easing of lockdown curbs and news of a breakthrough in the development of a vaccine.

Accelerated rises in output and new orders led Saudi firms to sharply expand purchasing activity during November. In addition, hiring activity turned positive and a number of companies linked increased employment to rising demand.

Commenting on the latest survey, David Owen, an economist at IHS Markit, said: “A third successive rise in the Saudi Arabia PMI pointed to an economy getting back on its feet in November. Supported by output and new business growth reaching 10-month highs, the data suggests a strong end to the year for the non-oil private sector. Notably, employment started to rise, while business confidence strengthened in the wake of encouraging vaccine news and sharper demand growth.”

Saudi economist and financial analyst Talat Zaki Hafiz told Arab News: “The improvement is due to many factors, such as the reopening of the market with the ease in lockdown and, finally, the lifting of the curfew. The return to normality has had a significant impact on private sector performance.”

Hafiz added: “Things will get much better by the next year. We have also noticed an improvement in oil prices recently and this will improve things significantly.”