It was a somewhat mixed bag for the Middle East’s banking sector for 2009 according to a recent Global report. Surprisingly Kuwait’s Banks appear to have doubled their profit capacity for the year.
In the Gulf area their banks saw a 2% increase in gross loans and their NPL loans ( Non Performing Loans) increased by close to 100%.
The UAE witnessed the highest growth rates for the year and this rate was closely followed by Oman and Qatar banks respectively.
Oman saw the most significant growth in provision charges, an increase of almost 900% and subsequently the UAE had a growth rate in excess of 130 % in provision charges, despite having many significant customers defaulting on their loans.
In Saudi Arabia they managed a 94% rise despite ongoing fears that loans that are currently performing could still default in 0210. The GFH however is still predicting that the sector as a whole will see further improvement during the year ahead.
Uncertainty surrounding some Saudi Multi-nationals the most notable being Algosaibi and Saad still caused a lot of uncertainty In Saudi’s banking sector in the first half of 2009. This was followed by the unsettling news of Debt Restructuring plans in the second half of the year and all this combined to weaken the Credit position of Saudi Arabia’s sector during 2009 Global Analysts stated.
While a substantial improvement is predicted for this year it is feared bank Middle East banks are far from over the situation yet.Paul Holdsworth, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News