UAE bank credit falls for first time since May; deposits rise

UAE bank credit falls for first time since May; deposits rise
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Updated 07 December 2021

UAE bank credit falls for first time since May; deposits rise

UAE bank credit falls for first time since May; deposits rise

Gross credit in the UAE declined by a monthly rate of 0.8 percent in October to hit 1.76 trillion dirhams ($480 billion) on falls in both domestic and foreign credit, according to data published by the country’s central bank.  

The October decline in gross credit is the largest since March and is in contrast to September's performance, when it rose 0.3 percent month-on-month. 

Domestic credit went down due to drops related to the government, public, and private sectors. Credit provided to non-banking financial institutions rose by 2.7 percent, the central bank said in a press release issued Dec. 6.

In September, domestic credit increased by 0.2 percent to 1.6 trillion dirhams, while foreign credit, which includes loans, trade bills and advances to non-resident companies other than banks, grew 0.8 percent to 164.4 billion dirhams. 

Bank deposits in the UAE went up by a monthly rate of 1.3 percent in October to hit 1.97 trillion dirhams. This was the fifth consecutive month of growth and is the highest monthly rate since June.

This was mainly attributed to a 1.7 percent rise in residential deposits, offsetting a 1.7 percent drop in non-residential deposits. 

Outside of residential deposits, government and public sectors experienced the highest increases, jumping by 5.5 percent and 3 percent, respectively. At the same time, private sector deposits edged up slightly, rising by only 0.6 percent.

The monthly rate of growth in deposits accelerated from 0.7 percent recorded in September when resident deposits grew 0.3 percent to 1.7 trillion dirhams while non-resident deposits jumped 3.7 percent to 243.2 billion dirhams.    

The central bank also said that the gross banks’ assets increased by 0.7 percent in October when compared to the previous month. The balance stood at 3.27 trillion dirhams by the end of the month.

The UAE’s monetary base, which includes currency issued and bank reserves among others, grew by 1.3 percent month-on-month in October. This was driven by widenings in both issued currency and banks’ current accounts and overnight deposits with the central bank.

Moreover, M1, a monetary aggregate encompassing currency outside banks and short-term monetary deposits, underwent a 0.5 percent monthly increase in October. This was attributed to jumps in both of its components.

Additionally, a wider measure of money, M2, rose by 0.8 percent on more quasi-monetary deposits and a higher M1. Quasi-monetary deposits consist of residential time and savings deposits in local currency in addition to residential deposits in foreign currencies.

Similarly, M3 increased due to larger government deposits as well as higher M1 and M2.


Profits of the National Bank of Kuwait hit $1.2bn in 2021

Profits of the National Bank of Kuwait hit $1.2bn in 2021
Updated 17 sec ago

Profits of the National Bank of Kuwait hit $1.2bn in 2021

Profits of the National Bank of Kuwait hit $1.2bn in 2021

RIYADH: The National Bank of Kuwait, known as NBK, recorded a 47 percent jump in profits in 2021, reaching 362 million Kuwaiti dinars ($1.2 billion).

The bank attributed the hike in profits to higher net operating income, which was up over 3 percent to 547 million Kuwaiti dinars, as well as lower provision charges for credit and impairment losses.

The bank recommended cash dividends of 30 fils ($555) per share for the fiscal year 2021, it said in a statement to the Kuwaiti bourse.

Shareholders will also receive five bonus shares for every 100 shares, the statement revealed.


Qatar to launch first green bond to secure ESG funds

Qatar to launch first green bond to secure ESG funds
Updated 16 min 59 sec ago

Qatar to launch first green bond to secure ESG funds

Qatar to launch first green bond to secure ESG funds

RIYADH: Qatar intends to launch its first green fund as it aims to secure Environmental, Social, and Governance funding, Bloomberg reported.

The finance ministry is in contact with global banks in an attempt to accrue billions of dollars via green bonds.

Such a move may cause disputes among ESG investors given the Persian Gulf country’s vast carbon emissions on a global level, according to Bloomberg.

Qatar will appoint several banks to develop a plan on how the money is going to be spent.

A potential deal with state owned petroleum firm Qatar Energy could be sealed soon.

The Middle Eastern country aims to cut emissions by 25 percent by 2030.

However, gas remains a crucial commodity and the country is investing an estimated $30 billion to increase production capacity by 50 percent in the upcoming six years.

This comes as the gas shortages in Asia and Europe are partly attributed to the lack of proper spending in fossil fuels, Bloomberg reported, citing Saad Al-Kaabi, Qatar’s energy minister.

 


IMF urges El Salvador to remove bitcoin as legal tender

IMF urges El Salvador to remove bitcoin as legal tender
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Updated 17 min 40 sec ago

IMF urges El Salvador to remove bitcoin as legal tender

IMF urges El Salvador to remove bitcoin as legal tender
  • Bitcoin shot up in value in 2021 as Wall Street showed a growing appetite for cryptocurrency

he IMF on Tuesday called on El Salvador to change course and stop using bitcoin as legal tender, citing "large risks" posed by the cryptocurrency.


The small Central American nation in September became the first country in the world to embrace the digital money, allowing consumers to use it in all transactions, alongside the US dollar.


The call by the Washington-based crisis lender came as the cryptocurrency dropped in value amid wider volatility on Wall Street in recent days, undoing much of the gains it had made during a record-setting climb in value last year.


The IMF staff had previously called on El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele to reconsider putting bitcoin at the center of his country's finances.


The latest pronouncement used much stronger language and came from the IMF's board, which is comprised of representatives of member governments including the United States.


The board's directors "urged the authorities to narrow the scope of the bitcoin law by removing bitcoin's legal tender status," according to a statement.


They "stressed that there are large risks associated with the use of bitcoin on financial stability, financial integrity and consumer protection" and with issuing bitcoin-backed bonds.


Bitcoin was trading at about $37,000 on Tuesday, having lost about half its value compared to the record of $67,734 hit in November.

Bitcoin shot up in value in 2021 as Wall Street showed a growing appetite for cryptocurrency, while Tesla boss Elon Musk's controversial tweets about the digital assets helped the market rise and fall alike.


The trend was not lost on Bukele, who was elected in 2019 with promises to fight organized crime and improve security in his violence-wracked country.


His move last September to legalize bitcoin in El Salvador drew worldwide attention and sparked protests on the streets of the capital San Salvador that were also over his administration's judicial reforms, which critics said threaten democracy.


Thousands took to the streets carrying signs reading "No to bitcoin" and at one point burning one of the bitcoin ATMS that had been installed nationwide.


They didn't appear to deter Bukele, who announced in November plans to build the world's first "Bitcoin City," powered by a volcano and financed by $1 billion cryptocurrency bonds.


His administration had also taken advantage of price drops to buy the digital asset for the country.

The IMF was wary of the cryptocurrency's adoption from the start, with spokesman Gerry Rice saying before Bukele made the move official, "Adoption of bitcoin as legal tender raises a number of macroeconomic, financial and legal issues that require very careful analysis."


In Tuesday's statement from the board, they noted the fund supports the aim of "boosting financial inclusion" which could be advanced using the country's "Chivo" e-wallet, but warned about the high levels of volatility in the cryptocurrency's exchange rate.


Bitcoin's value has shown some correlation with Wall Street equities, but pressure has also come from China's crackdown on the trading and mining of cryptocurrencies, and also the risk of wider regulatory action from the likes of Europe and the United States.


Analysts also say it faces increased competition in 2022 from rival digital assets like ethereum.


Spain’s Santander launches buy now, pay later platform across its markets

Spain’s Santander launches buy now, pay later platform across its markets
Updated 35 min 40 sec ago

Spain’s Santander launches buy now, pay later platform across its markets

Spain’s Santander launches buy now, pay later platform across its markets
  • Santander said Zinia’s BNPL service offers customers the opportunity to pay in interest-free instalments in a matter of seconds

#Spain’s Santander announced on Wednesday the launch Zinia, a new buy now, pay later platform it plans to roll out across its markets this year, starting in the Netherlands and Spain.


The initiative is part of a wider strategy by European lenders aimed at boosting their revenues as they struggle with low interest rates while trying to fend off competition from technology firms.


Buy now, pay later services have exploded in popularity in tandem with the acceleration in e-commerce during the pandemic.


However, they have drawn scrutiny from regulators over concerns they will lead to excessive indebtedness, especially among younger consumers.


The technology behind Zinia has been operating in Germany for the past year where it has acquired more than two million customers, making the bank one of the leading players in the business in Europe by customer volume, Santander said.


The lender did not provide financial details but said its expansion to other markets under the Zinia brand would help leverage Santander’s position in consumer finance, where it has 19 million customers.


Traditional banks are scrambling to keep up with fintechs, such as the Sweden’s Klarna, that are leading the market in much of Europe and the United States.


Among other markets, the platform will also be rolled out in the Nordic countries, Britain, France and Italy, and in its US market, a Santander spokesperson said.


Santander said Zinia’s BNPL service offers customers the opportunity to pay in interest-free instalments in a matter of seconds, either online or through physical points of sale.


BNPL services tend to rival credit card providers in terms of the interest rates they charge.


Zinia is the first project developed by Santander’s Digital Consumer Bank (DCB), which combines Santander Consumer Finance (SCF) and its digital Openbank.


It uses artificial intelligence-based credit assessment to make real-time credit decisions with the standards expected from a regulated bank, it said. 


ADNOC debt issuer holds investor meetings ahead of debut bonds

ADNOC debt issuer holds investor meetings ahead of debut bonds
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 47 min 50 sec ago

ADNOC debt issuer holds investor meetings ahead of debut bonds

ADNOC debt issuer holds investor meetings ahead of debut bonds
  • The ability to tap the debt capital markets will give ADNOC flexibility to raise debt with longer tenors and potentially better pricing

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company’s newly set up debt-issuing unit, ADNOC Murban, began holding investor meetings on Tuesday ahead of its debut bond sale expected this year, an investors’ note seen by Reuters showed.


The meetings, coordinated by JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley, will run through Friday and will target investors in Asia, Europe, the United States, and the Middle East and Africa, according to the note.


ADNOC and JPMorgan did not respond to emailed requests for comment. Morgan Stanley declined to comment.


The ability to tap the debt capital markets will give ADNOC flexibility to raise debt with longer tenors and potentially better pricing.


In an investor presentation reviewed by Reuters, ADNOC Group’s chief investment officer said ADNOC has traditionally financed itself with equity and limited use of bank loans.


“We think it’s useful for modern treasury to add access to the debt capital markets to our financing toolkit, to complete the set of instruments available to us,” CIO Klaus Froehlich said.


Regional peer Saudi Aramco issued its debut bonds in April 2019, raising $12 billion ahead of its record $29.4 billion initial public offering.

Qatar Energy also raised $12.5 billion in last year’s largest bond sale out of emerging markets.


“For clarity, we do not intend to access the markets in the same way our regional peers have done with a jumbo inaugural debt offering. More likely, we will be accessing the market in sizes of around $3 to $5 billion per annum,” Froehlich said.


Proceeds from the upcoming bond sale will be used to refinance loans, he said. ADNOC has $6 billion in loans maturing this year and $10 billion over the following three years.


“But, just so that you understand, we just paid back a $3 billion bank line in cash, so this bond program is not necessarily a necessity to refinance bank loans, but a proactive move in order to build a curve,” Froehlich said.


Investors have previously been offered bonds carrying ADNOC risk indirectly.


ADNOC billed Murban as a “superior proposition for bondholders” in the investor presentation, in part due to a prospective “highest ranking position in ADNOC’s cash waterfall.”


ADNOC Murban investors get paid before ADNOC Group royalties, most operating expenditures, and tax, the presentation said.


Named after ADNOC’s flagship crude grade Murban, the debt-issuing unit is expected to be rated AA by S&P, Aa2 by Moody’s and AA by Fitch, ADNOC Murban said in a statement earlier on Tuesday.


It said the ratings are aligned with its shareholder, the emirate of Abu Dhabi, a regular issuer in the debt capital markets.


Debt issued by ADNOC Murban will not receive guarantees from ADNOC or the Abu Dhabi government, S&P said in its rating report on Tuesday.


“Murban takes momentary ownership of the Murban barrels assigned to it by ADNOC under the assignment agreement and immediately sells the same... barrels to ADNOC Trading and ADNOC,” S&P said.


“Murban has effectively been inserted in the crude oil value chain such that it owns no reserves and bears no production costs, royalties, or taxes, but has the first claim on the cash proceeds from these Murban crude oil barrels.”