Saudi regulator says aims to expand sukuk market

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Saudi Arabian authorities intend to expand the country's market in Islamic bonds by making it easier for companies to issue sukuk, the head of the Capital Market Authority said on Sunday.

"We are not satisfied with the current situation of the sukuk market. It does not exceed 3 percent of gross domestic product," while overseas debt markets can account for 50 to 100 percent of GDP, said Mohammed binAbdulmalik Al al-Sheikh.

He said most Saudi companies were at present finding it considerably easier to raise bank loans than to issue sukuk in the public market.

"We are working on improving debt facilities. We are currently conducting a study and once we finalise it, we will announce the results," Al-Sheikh said at a securities industry conference, without elaborating on the planned reforms.

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