By Shane McGinley
British lender says it is bullish on Middle East’s prospects, despite political uprisings
Credit quality and bank liquidity has improved in the Gulf following a sharp ease in loan impairment charges last year, the global CEO of Standard Chartered Bank said.
“I think there is generally an improvement [in the] situation with regards to credit quality across the region,” Peter Sands, group chief executive at Standard Chartered Bank said at a press conference in Dubai.
The bank saw net profit in the Middle East and South Asia region more than double to $841m in 2010, aided by an improving loan portfolio.
“We saw sharp improvement in loan impairment charges in 2010 versus 2009, which was one reason why we had such a marked increase in profit,” Sands said.
Standard Chartered saw income in the UAE soar to more than $1bn in 2010, a rise of six percent on the year-earlier period.
Despite widespread political unrest in the Middle East wiping $140bn off the region’s largest stock exchanges, Sands said he remained bullish on the year ahead.
“Political changes loom large and are significant developments but, from an economic perspective and a business perspective, I remain very confident about the outlook for the region this year,” he said.
The British bank said this week it would invest $140m in the construction of new 13-tower premises in central Dubai.
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