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With Lebanon's economy feeling the strains of political infighting and the two-year civil war in neighbouring Syria, its banks have been looking overseas in search of growth, establishing footholds in countries such as Turkey and Iraq, as well as seeking to consolidate their presence in Egypt and the Gulf.
Saudi Arabia's investment banking industry is gaining momentum, thanks in large part to a region-wide uptick in bond issuance, in mergers and acquisitions and growing demand for project finance. But the evolution of this sector is far from over, as the country's bankers turn their minds to deepening the markets and encouraging the liberalisation of the stock exchange.
Government spending has kept the Saudi Arabian economy buoyant over the past few years, allowing the country's banks to maintain a healthy profit level in 2012. And their prosperity is showing no signs of waning, with an ambitious home ownership target spurring growth in the mortgage market and momentum building in the small and medium-sized enterprise space.
Over the past few years, Saudi Arabia has been putting its vast oil wealth to work, upgrading its limited infrastructure in a bid to cater to the rising demand for office space, housing, schools and healthcare.
Largely unaffected by the political and economic turbulence outside the country, Kuwait's banks recorded strong growth in 2012, and are looking to improve on this in 2013, by seeking growth abroad and taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the government's $130bn national development plan.
In the past year, political turbulence has dented Kuwait's otherwise healthy economy, with political infighting effectively blocking the government's $130bn economic development plan (EDP). But a new government, elected in December 2012, looks set to put an end to the country's political problems and kick-start the EDP.
Kuwait’s banks are looking to external markets as they pursue growth, a strategy that has the potential to strengthen Kuwait’s economic relationships with the countries in which it operates.
Mohammad Al-Hashel is settling into his role as Kuwait’s central bank governor, taking over responsibility for a banking sector that is well capitalised and highly liquid.
One of the few countries to remain largely unaffected by the global financial downturn, Saudi Arabia's economy is growing at a pace and, despite its expansionary fiscal policy, it continues to post a budgetary surplus. It has now started to put this capital to work in tackling pressing social issues, such as its high unemployment rate and housing shortage.
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