Banks across the Arab world continue to perform well despite the turbulent political environment, according to The Banker’s Top 100 Arab banks ranking.
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Bahrain's sovereign wealth fund, Mumtalakat, has weathered economic and political uncertainty both at home and throughout the wider Middle Eastern region, and is now back on a path to growth, with its aviation holdings being at the forefront of this turnaround.
The drop in oil prices has not hit Qatar's economy particularly hard, and its central bank governor, Abdulla Bin Saoud Al-Thani, is looking to further diversification, a strong banking sector, infrastructure investment and closer ties with China to keep the country in the fast lane when it comes to economic growth.
As oil prices remain in the doldrums, the spending plans of hydrocarbon-dependent economies within the Arab world appear to be taking a hit. James King looks at how this new environment will affect the region's banks.
China's One Belt, One Road initiative – building a new Silk Road between western Europe and China's east coast as well as improving the Maritime Silk Road – will be a major game changer for international trade. Stefania Palma assesses its possible impact.
Renewable energy is expected to play a significant role in the Middle East and north Africa's future energy mix, and the region's lenders are now paying attention to the attractive opportunities presented by this energy evolution.
Adnan Ahmed Yousif, the president and chief executive of Bahrain-based Al Baraka Banking Group, believes that the scope for international expansion for Islamic finance is huge, and that improved oversight combined with scholarly jurisprudence is the key to a more harmonious global structure in the market.
With its guaranteed long-term liquefied natural gas revenues and ever-expanding array of foreign assets, Qatar boasts a profile that has set it apart from its Middle Eastern oil-exporting peers – even if it has found it necessary to curb some of its prodigious spending growth in the midst of weaker global oil prices seen in the past year.
A snapshot of Qatar’s banks shows a sector in good health, with sound provision levels and growth in public sector credit. But with real estate prices increasing rapidly, concerns remain over the potential for a bubble emerging in the market.
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