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01 December 2023

Loan provisions double in 2 years

Bank assets in the country surged by Dh113.7bn in 11 months (FILE)

By Vicky Kapur

The UAE Central Bank said provisions for bad loans among UAE banks surged almost 36 per cent to Dh44.3b at the end of December 2010, up Dh11.7b from Dh32.6b in December 2009.

Banks in the country have seen a rising level of non-performing loans since the onset of the global financial crisis in late 2008, and have seen their provisions for bad loans more than double in two years, from Dh19.7b at the end of December 2008 – an increase of 125 per cent in two years.

General provisions, on the other hand rose 17 per cent in 2010, from Dh10.7b at the end of 2009 to Dh12.5b in 2010. General provisions too have surged 136 per cent in two years, from Dh5.3b at the end of 2008.

Meanwhile, total bank assets declined by Dh27.2b, or 1.66 per cent, month-on-month at the end of December last year. Bank assets stood at Dh1,605.6bn in December compared with Dh1632.8b in November 2010, UAE Central Bank data showed.

However, bank assets grew by Dh86.5b, or 5.7 per cent, during full-year 2010. Assets surged by Dh113.7bn in the first 11 months of the year, from Dh1,519.1b at the end of December 2009, but the month of December saw a reversal in that trend, with bank assets declining month-on-month for the first time in almost a year.

Loans and advances, however, have nearly stagnated at a little over Dh1 trillion, rising from Dh1,017.7b at the end of December 2009 to Dh1,031.3 at the end of December 2010, a growth of just 1.3 per cent. Loans and advances have grown from Dh993.7b at the end of 2008, or 3.8 per cent in two years.

Banks in the country have kept interest rates high despite an increase in liquidity, and the Central Bank recently said that it would intervene to rationalise some of the high charges that banks in the country have been arbitrarily levying on customers.