The UAE's banking sector still leads the rest of the GCC in terms of assets, a new report has reconfirmed.
"Data released by the respective GCC central banks for 2009 has reaffirmed the UAE banking system's position as the largest within the GCC, with total assets expanding to $414 billion (Dh1.52 trillion)," said an update on the UAE's banking sector, issued by research firm Prime Holdings.
The report pointed out that assets of the UAE banking sector grew 4.3 per cent year-on-year in 2009 against a 35 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2004 and 2008.
The report puts UAE banking assets ahead of Saudi Arabia's, which reported assets of $365bn.
"During 2008-2009, timely support from the UAE government has helped the sector fill in a large portion of the liquidity gap [415 bps y-o-y decline in the LD ratio to 104 per cent] and recapitalise [600 bps y-o-y rise in CAR to 19 per cent], thereby limiting the impact of the global liquidity crunch," the report stated.
The agency is bullish on the future growth of the country's banks. "Overall, despite the medium-term challenges for the banks, we continue to remain optimistic on the sector backed by solid macro-fundamentals," the report said.
"The UAE, supported by strong crude oil prices and rapid development in Abu Dhabi [$180bn worth of spending in the capital over the next five years] is expected to record a 2.5 per cent real GDP growth in 2010, combined with fiscal and current surpluses equivalent to 1.8 and 4.5 per cent of GDP, respectively," it said.