01 July 2013

GCC economies set to grow at 5.6pc
GCC economies are expected to grow at 5.6 per cent by the end of this year, said a report citing a top regional banking official.

The region’s economies would continue to benefit from high oil prices, which exceed $100 per barrel, Al Baraka Banking Group chairman and chief executive Adnan Ahmed Yousif told our sister paper Akhbar Al Khaleej.

Kuwait’s acting oil minister Mustapha Al Shamali had said the current oil prices were “fair” and that the state was producing around 3 million barrels of crude per day.

On the local banks’ performance, Ahmed Yousif said the Bahraini banks had increased their profits by an average 10 per cent in the first half of this year, compared with last year’s figures.

Road to wealth smoother now
MORE than 60 per cent of high networth individuals (HNWIs) in the Middle East believe wealth creation is faster today than in the past, more than any other region globally, said a survey.

In the rapid growth economies of the Middle East, nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of respondents have accumulated the majority of their wealth in less than 20 years, according to the latest edition of Barclays Wealth Insights.

The report titled, “Origins and Legacy: The Changing Order of Wealth Creation” is based on a global survey of more than 2,000 HNWIs comprising entrepreneurs, business leaders and investors. 

According to Barclays, the HNWIs in the Middle East are more confident about the increasing speed of wealth creation than those in any other market. Over 60 per cent of respondents in the Middle East agreed that wealth can be created faster today than in the past, in comparison to 43 per cent in Europe and 31 per cent in North America, it stated.

Interestingly, over half (54 per cent) of Middle Eastern respondents stated that personal investments have contributed largely to their overall wealth portfolio, compared to other sources of income such as inheritance at 49 per cent.

Half (50 per cent) of Middle East respondents stated that their level of wealth increased in the recent financial turmoil, substantiating that Mena HNWIs tend to have a more positive view of setbacks and are more persistent in overcoming adversity, the survey revealed.

Mena funds inflows hit $655m
MARKETS in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region continue to impress with their solid performance netting $655 million worth of foreign inflows in May, said an expert.

On an aggregate basis the Mena markets posted around $2 billion of net inflows since the start of this year – also a record level – versus an outflow of $192 million during the same period in 2012, revealed Aleksandar Stojanovski, the research analyst at Deutsche Bank.

Of the $655 million for May, Saudi Arabia led the rally with $308 million of inflows followed by Qatar and Dubai with $131 million and $129 million respectively, he said.

“For Qatar this is a hat-trick of inflows, which is a major reversal of the trend seen throughout 2011-12 when some $1.3 billion of foreign funds exited the country,” he noted.

“Mena markets continue to impress with their solid performance. Dubai has advanced by more than 47 per cent year to date, followed by Abu Dhabi at 39 per cent and Kuwait 35 per cent,” said Stojanovski.

Global takaful market to hit $20bn
THE global takaful business will reach $20 billion by 2017, said a report, adding that the GCC market contributes more than 62 per cent of the gross premiums and, led by Saudi Arabia, grew 17 per cent to $5.7 billion during 2010.

The report by Deloitte titled, ‘The global takaful insurance market: charting the road to mass markets’, studies the emerging regulatory and practice challenges that will impact the Takaful industry, as well as assesses the business structures and strategies, market developments and growth trends globally.

Ten key challenges were identified that would significantly impact the future of the takaful industry. These are grouped into five industry disciplines which are: governance and regulatory compliance; risk management and internal controls; operational and business excellence; product governance and strategy; capacity building.

Saudi non-oil exports dip 2.1pc
SAUDI ARABIA’S non-oil exports during the first quarter fell 2.1 per cent to SR46.84 billion ($12.5 billion) compared with SR47.84 billion during the same period last year, says a report.

Petrochemicals exports led with SR16.88 billion, or 36.05 per cent of total non-oil exports, followed by plastic products at SR14.31 billion or 30.55 per cent and ordinary metals and their products, 7.11 per cent, reported the Arab News, citing figures from the Central Department of Statistics and Information (CDSI).

China was the biggest importer of Saudi goods during the period with 12.98 per cent of the total exports, followed by the UAE at 11.31 per cent and India, 5.79 per cent.

The value of Saudi imports during Q1 increased 13.5 per cent to reach SR154.92 billion compared with the same period of the previous year.

Equipment, machinery and electrical utensils topped the list of imports at SR42.84 billion, or 27.65 per cent of total imports, followed by transport materials, SR27.79 billion, and metal products, SR 19.55 billion.

The largest exporter to the kingdom was the US, sending goods worth 13.32 per cent of total Saudi imports, followed by China at 12.5 per cent, and South Korea, 6.62 per cent.

Cloud gaining ground
A MAJOR shift toward cloud office systems will begin by the first half of 2015 and reach 33 per cent penetration of the global area by 2017, said a report.

There are currently about 50 million enterprise users of cloud office systems, which represent only 8 per cent of overall office system users (excluding China and India), according to a study by Gartner, a leading IT research and advisory company.

“Despite the hype surrounding migration to the cloud, big differences in movement rates continue, depending on the organisations’ size, industry, geography and specific requirements,” said Tom Austin, vice president and Gartner Fellow.

“While 8 per cent of business people were using cloud office systems at the start of 2013, we estimate this number will grow to 695 million users by 2022, to represent 60 per cent.”

Although email remains the world’s primary collaboration tool, others, such as team sites and communities are growing in importance. Nonetheless, email is typically pivotal in decisions to move – or not move – to cloud office systems.

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