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Letter from the Editorial Director

Hani Al Maskati, Editorial Director & Publisher

Dear reader,

I would like to welcome you to the second edition of Cash & Trade magazine. following the launch issue, the magazine has enjoyed very positive and encouraging market feedback. We are pleased to see that the mix of comment and technical content has struck a chord with our readers.

It is our aim at Cash & Trade to bring the cash management and trade finance community in the Middle east the most in-depth and well-researched analysis of the current trends affecting both corporates and their banks. In this issue, we hear from a range of major players that are facing up to the challenges ahead.

And whilst it’s fair to say that conditions are challenging for many, 2010 should not only be seen as a series of challenges. demand is down and business confidence needs to recover, but there are signs that for those who are properly financed and equipped, the beginnings of a recovery are imminent.

This will require full commitment from corporates and their banks as they seek to return to growth. businesses in the region are more than ever in need of good advice and sound financial support from their banking partners. In this issue we look at what Middle Eastern companies need from their banks, and what efforts the banks – both local and multinational – are making to fulfil this.

Of course, the banking sector as a whole is still feeling the bruises of the past two years. and while some of the larger multinational banks are taking stock of the fallout from the banking crisis, this presents a clear opportunity for local banks to stake more of a claim in the cash management and trade finance space.
It is evident, listening to some of the large corporate players, that local banks still have some way to go in order to match the offerings of their international counterparts. The sophistication and reach of some of the region’s banks clearly does not yet match up to the demands of their increasingly globally-focused clients.
Yet the signs are there that local banks are taking seriously the need to offer more in order to be the partner of choice for Mena corporations. The market for trade finance offers such an opportunity and 2010 will be a crunch year. Will the region’s banks seize the opportunity presented by some of the larger players’ difficulties? It will be interesting to watch.
This will be played out against the wider global debate on corporate governance. The issue of how banks are financed and companies run is now firmly at the top of both the corporate and media agendas. Transparency in dealings has become a watchword, and we have examined this issue in detail in our feature on page 12.
We will be covering this and other fascinating areas in great depth over the coming year. We would also, of course, welcome your feedback on the debate and suggestions. you can email your comments to hani.almaskati@cashandtrademagazine.com and we will be happy to publish a selection of your letters in the coming editions of the magazine.

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