Latest articles from Middle East

Benjamin Netanyahu: Israel’s prime minister in waiting

July 2, 2004

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s finance minister, tells Karina Robinson about Israel’s economic turnaround and his thoughts on returning to power.

Bahrain’s roaring success

June 2, 2004

Stephen Timewell reports on how a major new financial centre, a strong regulatory environment and a plethora of projects are set to cement Bahrain’s reputation among its Gulf neighbours.
Brimming with confidence after its successful Formula 1 grand prix in early April, Bahrain is ambitious to project its long-established role as the Gulf’s premier financial and banking hub and capitalise on the booming economies in the region.

Qatar builds the dream

June 2, 2004

Qatar is on the verge of becoming the richest country in the world in terms of GDP per capita as it sees the fruits of its investments in extraction of huge liquefied natural gas reserves. By Stephen Timewell in Doha.

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.