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Issue 17 September / October 2012

Letter from the editorial director

Dear Reader, If there’s anything guaranteed to arouse interest in the banking and corporate space it’s a secure payment system that eschews documentation. That is why MENA is now looking favourably at SWIFT’s Bank Payment Obligation (BPO). The BPO is an electronic instrument that can be transmitted between two banks in a trade finance transaction to provide an irrevocable undertaking ... Read More »

Misys ties up with IDB Group

The Islamic Development Bank Group has signed a service agreement with Misys, the global provider of financial application software and services for banking and capital markets, to enhance the treasury and investment departments within the IDB Group. Misys will provide various solutions, including Opics Plus, Opics Risk Plus, Sophis VALUE and Eagleye, to enhance the capacity of the treasury and ... Read More »

Gulf banks to beat eurozone turmoil

Gulf banks are expected to continue their steady recovery from the 2008 crisis and remain isolated from eurozone turmoil for the rest of 2012 and 2013, according to a Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services report. “We believe the trend of declining loan loss provisions will continue for most of the banks in the Gulf Cooperation Council, resulting in further recovery ... Read More »

UAE GDP set to pick up

The UAE’s real economy expanded by around 3.2 per cent in 2011 mainly because of higher oil prices and production and is projected to pick up by about 3.5 per cent in 2012, according to a UN group. The other members of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are also expected to record strong GDP performance through 2012 in contrast ... Read More »

New names in global transaction banking

Deutsche Bank’s global transaction banking (GTB) division has announced key appointments in its trust and securities services and cash management for financial institutions (TSS/CMFI) business, including four TSS/CMFI region heads who will be responsible for strengthening local relationships, aligning the bank’s global resources and providing clients with bespoke solutions and services. Sriram Iyer will assume the new role of TSS/CMFI ... Read More »

Analysts positive about Gulf debt

More than $76bn of Gulf bond and sukuk debt is expected to mature by 2014, according to Kuwait Financial Centre (Markaz) research. Around $20.6bn of sukuk and bond is expected to mature this year, $14bn in 2013 and a massive $41.4bn in 2014, according to the Kuwait-based investment bank. In total, there is around $205.6bn of outstanding debt and sukuk ... Read More »

Surge for Dubai online payment services

The online payment services provided by Dubai eGovernment Department through the internet and mobile phone for instant payment of government fees are experiencing increasing demand by the public with more than AED 2bn collected in the first half of 2012, representing a 21 per cent increase over the previous year. ePay enables customers to electronically settle their dues for various ... Read More »

IMEX hits the mark again

Surecomp, a leading provider of global trade solutions for banks and corporations,  has announced that IMEX, its high-volume back-office trade finance solution, has been awarded the SWIFTReady Trade Finance application label for the 14th consecutive year. The SWIFTReady label programme verifies the compliance of business applications against SWIFT standards, messaging services and connectivity. Using stringent SWIFT-specific criteria, SWIFTReady label status ... Read More »

Saudi banks lending at fastest pace

Saudi banks will cut their bad loan ratio to the lowest since the region’s biggest corporate default three years ago as lending grows on the back of government spending, according to Moody’s Investors Service. The ratio of non-performing loans at Saudi lenders will drop to about 2.5 per cent this year, the lowest since at least 2009, Khalid Howladar, a ... Read More »

Eurozone will survive, say investors

More than 75 per cent of private investors believe that the eurozone will survive its crisis, according to a J.P. Morgan Private Bank study revealing the views of High Net Worth investors in Europe, who were asked for their opinions on current market conditions and risk appetite. The study polled more than 300 High Net Worth investors in 15 cities ... Read More »

BPO could be a winner!

MENA is now looking favourably at SWIFT’s Bank Payment Obligation. LIZ SALECKA considers its advantages. While SWIFT’s Bank Payment Obligation (BPO) has attracted significant interest in Asia, a positive picture is also emerging in the Middle East, where it is poised to provide a viable alternative to both open account trade and letters of credit. The recent BPO deal, between ... Read More »

Banks prosper on revival of trade

Trade finance income has risen in the UAE thanks to a resurgence of exports and imports. CAROLINE MAGINN, trade partner at CMM, looks at what has been a most impressive performance from the banking sector With a majority of reporting banks posting figures far in excess of AED 100 million, trade fees and commissions rose by an average of seven ... Read More »

Saudi Arabia: the new horizon

A new law in Saudi Arabia will be a game changer for the housing finance and real estate development market and will propel Islamic finance to the next level in the Kingdom. MUSHTAK PARKER explains Judging by the burgeoning number of transactions successfully closed and the utterings of senior officials and bankers in Saudi Arabia this year, it is easy ... Read More »

Rise in total global trade finance

The Dealogic Trade Finance Review for the first half of 2012 shows that trade finance volumes were up seven per cent on the same period for the previous year Total global trade finance volume stood at $90.4bn in 1H 2012, up seven per cent from $84.5bn in 1H 2011, though down slightly on 2H 2011 ($96.1bn). However, activity fell to ... Read More »

Confronting the challenges

Islamic finance is one of the world’s fastest-growing asset classes. However, a number of barriers are currently preventing the sector reaching its full potential – particularly the lack of a uniform set of rules and regulations for Sharia compliance, says CARSTEN KAYATZ, senior product manager for financial institutions at Commerzbank Contemporary Islamic banking has its origins in Egypt. The first ... Read More »

Avoiding the tripwire

Banks are pausing for thought after the latest controversy regarding sanctions concerning Iran. PAUL MELLY reports If in doubt, stay out. That’s likely to be the watchword in future for banks wondering whether there is a legitimate means of serving customers linked to a country that is the subject of international sanctions. This summer saw the New York State Department ... Read More »