UAE has largest Arab banking system

UAE banks control over 18% of Arab bank assets and 28% of capital

The UAE maintained its position as having the largest banking sector in the Arab world for the third consecutive year while the country’s Emirates NBD emerged as the top bank in the region, according to banking data.At the end of the first half of 2011, the UAE controlled just over 18 per cent of the combined assets of the nearly 470 banks grouped in the Union of Arab Banks (UAB) and around 28 per cent of their capital.

Figures by the Beirut-based UAB showed the UAE, the second largest Arab economy, also had the highest deposits and credit level in the region’s banking sector after it overtook Saudi Arabia three years ago.

The consolidated assets of the UAE’s 23 national banks and 28 foreign units totalled around $464 billion at the end of June, up from nearly $437 billion at the end of 2010 and about $413 billion at the end of 2009.

The assets at the end of June accounted for nearly 18.2 per cent of the combined Arab banks’ assets of nearly $2.463 trillion, UAB data showed.The UAE banks’ shareholders equity, covering capital and reserves, stood at round $73.2bn at the end of June, nearly 28 per cent of the total Arab banks’ shareholders equity of around $260bn.

The UAE also controlled the largest deposit and credit base, standing at around $306bn and $285bn respectively, the report showed.Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab economy, emerged with the second banking sector in the region, with assets of around $401bn at the end of June.

The combined shareholders equity of its 12 commercial banks totaled around $56bn while deposits and loans stood at $281bn and $218bn. Conflict-battered Iraq had the third largest Arab banking system in terms of assets, which totalled around $308bn at the end of 2010.The report, which gave no data for 2011, showed its banks’ capital stood at nearly $5bn, far lower than many other countries.

Egypt was ranked fourth by assets, with around $215bn, followed by Bahrain, with assets of nearly $197bn.The bank assets were put at $170bn in Qatar, $153bn in Kuwait, $132bn in Lebanon, $120bn in Morocco, $106bn in Algeria, $51bn in Libya, $50bn in Jordan, $43bn in Syria, $42bn in Tunisia, $41bn in Oman, $17bn in Sudan, $8.7bn in Palestine, $8.1bn in Yemen and $1.5bn in Mauritania.

A breakdown showed the Dubai-based ENBD retained its position as the largest Arab bank by assets and capital for the fourth year running.At the end of 2010, ENBD controlled nearly $77.98bn in assets, the largest in the Arab World.

It also had the largest shareholders equity, standing at nearly $9.19bn while topped in terms of loans, which totalled about $53.7bn,“Statistics from the banking sectors in the Arab World showed that ENBD was ahead of all regional banks in terms of assets for the fourth successive year,” UAB said in the study, published in its June banking bulletin.Next to ENBD was National Commercial Bank (NCB) of Saudi Arabia, with assets of around $75.29bn at the end of 2010.

It also had the second largest shareholders equity of about $8.76bn but the largest deposits of $61.1bn.The report showed that Qatar National Bank (QNB) was ranked third by assets at $61.3bn, followed by Egypt’s Alahli Bank at $52.3bn, Jordan’s Arab Bank, at around $51bn and the Saudi American Bank Group (Samba) at nearly $49.9bn.

Al Rajhi Bank of Saudi Arabia controlled the eighth largest assets of $49.2bn while the UAE’s Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Riyadh Bank of Saudi Arabia had the ninth and 10th largest assets of around $48.5bn and $46.2bn at the end of 2010 respectively.In terms of profits, Al-Rajhi topped the list with around $1.8bn in 2010, followed by Samba with its net income standing at $1.227bn. QNB came third with around $1.15bn followed by NCB and ENBD with net profits of nearly $1.099bn and $911m respectively. 

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