Latest articles from Middle East

Economy rises

June 2, 2004

Abdulla bin Khalid Al-Attiya, governor of the Qatar Central Bank, talks about Qatar’s financial future.
Q The Qatar economy is seen to be booming; how do you see its prospects and the years ahead?
A The economy has been growing strongly, reaching 8.8% growth in 2003 and a GDP total of Qr70.8bn ($19.5bn). Other factors have been positive, too, with the balance of payments surplus rising 34.2% to Qr10.9bn in 2003 and inflation, although rising, kept at 2.3% last year. Clearly the economy is influenced by developments in the oil and gas sectors, and the growth in gas revenues has and will be significant, with gas revenues expected to be higher than oil revenues by 2010.

Rich flow of opportunity

June 2, 2004

Huge hydrocarbon reserves and modern infrastructure are creating a gold-rush mentality among bankers, with local banks’ profits rising and foreign institutions trying to get a look in. By Stephen Timewell in Doha.
Qatar’s booming economy is proving to be a bonanza for banks. Well-established local institutions have boosted profits and new regional players are buying in to get a slice of the huge opportunities available. Despite events in Iraq, investors and bankers are seeing the massive potential offered by Qatar’s unique hydrocarbon reserves and the modern infrastructure put in place in recent years.

New kids on the block

June 2, 2004

Banks in the Gulf have rarely taken minority stakes in banks elsewhere in the region but in recent weeks two prime players, Bahrain’s Ahli United Bank and National Bank of Kuwait, have been drawn to the attractions of the Qatar banking market.

Keeping cash clean

May 3, 2004

His Excellency Sultan bin Nasser al Suwaidi, governor of the central bank of the UAE, tells Nick Kochan that the fight against money laundering is not new.

Squaring up for business

May 3, 2004

Nick Kochan finds Dubai and Bahrain are competing hard for the region’s growing business opportunities.
The announcement in April of a new federal law governing Dubai’s embryonic financial centre heralds a battle royal between the Gulf states of Dubai and Bahrain. Dubai is the upstart in the imminent struggle, while Bahrain is more established but there can be no doubting Dubai’s enthusiasm, ambition and ‘can-do’ approach.

Bahraini banks buck global trend with impressive rise in profits

April 5, 2004

Profits at Bahrain’s locally incorporated banks more than doubled during 2003, compared with 2002.

Market upswing sees Saudi banks’ profits soar

April 5, 2004

The country’s financial sector is reaping the rewards of favourable market forces in the kingdom.

Israel determined to sell off two top banks by 2005

March 3, 2004

Israel’s finance minister Benjamin Netanyahu is prioritising the sale of the banks in which the government has controlling interests. He is intent on selling off Israel’s largest banks, Leumi and Discount, within the coming year and a half.

Saudi’s new laws set to send

March 3, 2004

Imminent changes in capital markets and insurance legislation will give the kingdom’s banks the chance to expand their capabilities.

Springboard for growth

March 3, 2004

Hopes are high that laws passed, but not yet implemented, will reshape the financial sector and open up business opportunities for banks in the kingdom. By Stephen Timewell in Riyadh.