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The impact of COVID-19 on Islamic banks in Bangladesh: a perspective of Marxian “circuit of merchant’s capital”

Mohammad Dulal Miah (Department of Economics and Finance, University of Nizwa, Nizwa, Oman)
Yasushi Suzuki (College of International Management, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Oita, Japan)
S. M. Sohrab Uddin (Department of Finance, University of Chittagong, Chittagong, Bangladesh)

Journal of Islamic Accounting and Business Research

ISSN: 1759-0817

Article publication date: 4 August 2021

Issue publication date: 3 September 2021

306

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to assess the probable impact of COVID-19 on the Islamic banking system in Bangladesh. More specifically, it attempts to test the hypothesis that Islamic banks are exposed to increased risk because of their role as a provider of “merchant capital” including financing for trade, commerce and working capital, which are believed to be severely disrupted by the COVID-19.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws upon the Marxian tradition on the identification of the circuit of “merchant capital” separated from the circuit of “interest-bearing capital.” Moreover, the research adopts the balance sheet approach to trace the sectoral distribution of investment as well as sources of income of Islamic banks.

Findings

The research supports the hypothesis that the investment pattern of Islamic banks is skewed toward the trade and merchant’s financing. More than two-third of Islamic banks’ investment, and income thereof, is concentrated on working capital and trade finance. As these sectors are largely vulnerable to the economic shock resulting from COVID-19, Islamic banks in Bangladesh are likely to be affected through this channel.

Research limitations/implications

The research focuses only on Islamic banks in Bangladesh. Further study can assess the impact of COVID-19 on conventional and Islamic banks in other countries to find similarities and differences with the findings of the current research.

Practical implications

The finding of this research will be useful for bank managers, policymakers and users of financial services. In particular, this study provides important information useful for regulators in devising appropriate policies which aim to mitigate the adverse impact of COVID-19.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study that attempts to examine the impact of COVID-19 on Islamic banking system in Bangladesh, a country where Islamic banks occupy one-third of the total banking system’s assets.

Keywords

Citation

Miah, M.D., Suzuki, Y. and Uddin, S.M.S. (2021), "The impact of COVID-19 on Islamic banks in Bangladesh: a perspective of Marxian “circuit of merchant’s capital”", Journal of Islamic Accounting and Business Research, Vol. 12 No. 7, pp. 1036-1054. https://doi.org/10.1108/JIABR-11-2020-0345

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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