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Issue 05 September / October 2010

Islamic finance: the next horizon

Islamic trade finance, far from being a mature industry, is nevertheless, faced with exciting prospects going forward especially in developing new product in structured trade finance, trade funds and trade receivable-related derivative. MUSHTAK PARKER reports In the scheme of global trade flows, Islamic trade finance is a mere drop in the ocean but the potential is huge given that the ... Read More »

Corporate banking stays in top spot

In broad terms, corporate banking remained a prime business segment for banks within Saudi Arabia, whether measured as a percentage of assets, liabilities or operating and net income, writes. CAROLINE MAGINN, Cash Management Matters – CMM trade partner As global trade continues to recover banks are playing an important role in financing it. They are providing a range of traditional ... Read More »

Open account trading: how to lower the risks

An increasing proportion of the Middle East’s international trade is being conducted on open account, with a corresponding decline in the use of letters of credit. FARAZ HAIDER, of Citi, looks at what can be done by exporters (and their banks) to reduce the risks of trading on open account. As global trade continues to recover, banks are playing an ... Read More »

Youth, money and investment create an ‘economic carnival’

A swift exit from recession has shown that there is more to bountiful Brazil than commodities, according to ALEXANDER GORRA, director at BNY Mellon ARX Brazil weathered the global economic downturn better than many countries and performed robustly in 2010. In 2011, it offers substantial promise amid expectations for strong growth led by domestic demand. The charismatic Luis Inacio Lula ... Read More »

The trade see-saw

Should the Middle East refocus attention on markets in Europe and the Americas, or continue to explore opportunities in relatively new markets in Asia? ALEXANDER R. MALAKET, CITP, reviews developments in the trade activities of businesses in the Middle East at a time when some world economies have all but regained pre-crisis growth rates, while others continue to struggle against ... Read More »

ECA success in MENA

Export credit agencies have successfully closed more capital equipment financing transactions in the Middle East and North Africa. It’s now considered that, with much of the impact of the financial crisis behind it, the Middle East is entering a period of economic recovery with firmer oil prices and stronger public finances. It is also seeing the start of a return ... Read More »

Banks asked for ‘risk reports’

The UAE Central Bank has asked banks in the country to provide data on potential risks in its financial reports in order to enable it to make provisions accordingly. The data will also help banks reduce risks, according to Trevor Skinner, head of the Department of Inspection and Control of Banks, UAE Central Bank. He also emphasised the importance of ... Read More »

MENA banks to open ‘China accounts’

Standard Chartered has signed renminbi (RMB) cross-border trade settlement account agreements with five MENA -based banks. This will allow them to open RMB accounts in China to facilitate trade activities. The five banks are: Alinma Bank Saudi Arabia, Bank Al Falah Pakistan, BankMed Lebanon, Habib Metropolitan Bank Pakistan and Union Bank Jordan. The agreements were signed recently at the Annual ... Read More »

Islamic ‘first’ for Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered Bank has launched the first Islamic US dollar nostro account in the United States. Islamic banks across the world will now be able to earn Shariah-compliant profits on their account balances at Standard Chartered Bank New York by using this facility, which will operate on the Islamic finance principle of Commodity Murabaha. Profits will be paid on a ... Read More »

Moody’s on the move

Moody’s Investors Service has announced that its Dubai-based regional office, Moody’s Middle East Limited, has moved to permanent and larger premises within the Gate District of the Dubai International Financial Centre. “The move reflects Moody’s continued commitment to its customers in the Middle East,” said Jehad El-Nakla, general manager of Moody’s Middle East Ltd. “As the global economy gradually emerges ... Read More »

Paying by phone

Qatar National Bank has announced the launch of “eazypay”, an innovation that allows retail customers to transfer funds to friends and family using their mobile phones. The funds are transferred almost instantly, and confirmation SMS text messages are sent to both the sender and receiver. The platform used by eazypay is said to be one of the most secure and ... Read More »

Deposits tumble

Foreign banks reduced their deposits in the UAE by nearly Dh40bn in the first half of 2010 to push them to their lowest level in nearly four years and reverse a massive inflow of speculative money, according to recent official data. From around Dh93bn at the end of 2009, their deposits with the UAE ’s 51 banks dropped to nearly ... Read More »

Saudi banks on upswing

Saudi banks appear to be performing better in the second half of this year as they resume lending to the government and their credit to the private sector edges up, a local investment firm said recently. The combined net profits of the 12 commercial banks in the world’s oil superpower stood at around SR 3.1bn in July, their highest monthly ... Read More »

Good news for APICORP

The Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP), a multilateral bank owned by the 10 member states of the Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries, in August reported an above-budget net income of $47m for the first six months of 2010, a 95 per cent rise over the same period the previous year. Assets at the end of June had climbed to ... Read More »

FDI’s biggest beneficiaries

The UAE and Saudi Arabia received 80 per cent of the total $278bn worth of foreign direct investments (FDI) that flowed into the GCC over the past two decades, according to the latest report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD ). The UAE was the second largest recipient with $73.4bn, or 26 per cent of the ... Read More »

New service for cash management

Standard Chartered Bank has launched a new cash management service for corporate and institutional clients in the UAE . Client Account Services (CAS ) is an innovative, web-based solution designed for organisations to manage customer funds. This is a first-of-its-kind solution, says Standard Chartered Bank, and it enables clients to open downstream customer bank accounts online. CAS can be used ... Read More »