Low oil prices are taking a heavy toll on Saudi Arabia’s economy, which is facing even greater austerity under deputy crown prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud’s plans to raise $100 billion a year from subsidy cuts and new levies.
Despite tightening liquidity in the Gulf banking sector, Bahrain’s largest lender reported robust profits in 2015. After leading a slew of product launches, AUB’s group CEO and managing director believes the bank’s prudent risk management will underpin its expansion. He spoke to Global Finance at the bank’s headquarters in Bahrain.
By any measure QNB has major ambitions. It is the largest bank in Qatar and one of the leading financial institutions in the Middle East and Africa. It does not stop there. QNB has set its sights on becoming a global bank by 2030. QNB’s group chief executive discusses with Global Finance the regional downturn, success in Africa and its plans for a global presence.
Global Finance’s list of Who’s Who in Middle Eastern finance
There are big changes at the top of the rankings this year, and there is greater geographical diversity in the list. Companies in the region are dealing with a number of serious headwinds and broader economic and market changes, which are starting to take their toll.
The Middle East is characterized by high youth unemployment and political and economic uncertainty, but new business and technology start-ups and young entrepreneurs are providing hope for future generations.
The Middle East is no stranger to political and economic uncertainty, but simmering religious and political tensions and stubbornly low oil prices have dealt the region a difficult hand. The question now is: How will countries play in order to win?
Changing fortunes in the region’s oil-rich economies have made the secretive world of sovereign wealth fund asset allocation even more opaque.
Project financing is booming in Saudi Arabia, which leads the Middle East in deals, with a total of eight in 2015, worth more than $13 billion.
Capital Markets | Equity Offering
A potential partial privatization of Saudi Arabia’s state oil company, Saudi Aramco, would require the company to remove its veil of secrecy.
Saudi Arabia is the Gulf Cooperation Council’s largest economy, but major economic, political and social challenges threaten the kingdom’s immediate economic future. Reducing its dependence on oil and gas is now a case of when, not if.
Kuwait Financial Centre (Markaz) has been among the Arab region’s leading asset management and investment banking institutions since 1974. Speaking with Global Finance, CEO Manaf Alhajeri explains that economically challenging times have a bright side: a chance to find value for long-haul investors.
The country’s dominant bank sees future growth coming from the small-business market and from regional customers.
Riding a wave of government spending, Kuwait’s financial institutions are thriving despite the drop in petroleum revenues—for now.
The prospect of the lifting of economic sanctions against Iran has investors excited about the return of this market to the global economic community. But the message is: Proceed with caution.
Nations slash subsidies in the face of cheap oil and regional conflicts.
Capital Markets | Banking Licenses
Saudi Arabia cracked open the door to direct investments in its stock market by qualified foreign institutions in June, when HSBC became the first foreign firm to receive a license.
Sovereign wealth funds have expanded dramatically in recent years. High commodity prices and large foreign exchange reserves have contributed to their significant growth in global markets.
Some green shoots lurk beneath the region’s raging civil wars, economic woes and political unrest.