Hit hard by the global financial crisis and a stagnant domestic political scene, Kuwait is now emerging as a stable, pro-business destination with a buoyant private sector and an economy moving away from its reliance on oil, as James King discovers.
The governor of the Central Bank of Kuwait, Mohammad Al-Hashel, has every reason to look to the future with optimism, given that the country's banking sector is coping well with low oil prices, welcoming foreign entrants, bringing down its NPL ratio and helping diversify the country's economy.
Despite its small size, Kuwait has long been a key player within the global Islamic finance industry, and with its sharia-compliant institutions posting strong figures in 2014, this position only looks likely to strengthen.
Kuwait’s banks are slowly recovering from the global financial crisis and bankers are optimistic for 2015. However, issues remain, including high exposure to the real estate market, outstanding debt settlements and a funding shortfall for the country’s SMEs.
The dual blow of declining oil prices and increasing instability in neighbouring Iraq hit the Kuwait Stock Exchange hard in 2014. But hopes are high that it will rally in 2015, after a modest rise in the weighted index in January.
With the eurozone flirting with deflation, solutions to this problem are urgently needed. One of them – the integration of markets and institutions – offers hope, according to Italy's minister of economy and finance, Pier Carlo Padoan.
After decades of high and volatile inflation, Turkey has enjoyed years of single-digit inflation rates. The country's central bank governor, Erdem Başçı, tells Stefanie Linhardt how continuing to lower this rate, while also increasing foreign exchange reserve buffers, are key to Turkey's continued economic well-being.
Regulators are playing an important role in how banks guard against cyber risks, but their emphasis is very much on guidance and co-operation rather than rules and coercion.
Global Risk Regulator
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