Middle East: The Gulf's banks improve their Asia focus
Asia’s importance in global trade, helped by China’s ideas, innovation and growth and allied to the Middle East’s drive to improve living standards and diversify should profit every regional bank.
Trade between the Middle East and Asia grows and becomes more complex, integrated and interdependent with each passing year.
An estimated 45% of Middle East trade is now with Asia, against 14% with the US and just 7% with Europe.
China, once a largely passive bystander, has become the region’s dominant commercial and financial partner in the last two decades. While the Belt and Road Initiative was conceived and driven by China, it is powered by Middle East oil and gas.
As nations such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates diversify, construction firms from Japan, Korea and China, as well as India and Singapore, are pouring into the region, keen to build new schools, hospitals and clean-power plants and grids.
Nasser Saidi, a former chief economist of the Dubai International Financial Centre, estimates that the opportunities awaiting Asian investors and companies in the Middle East are worth $3.5 trillion.
All of this furious dynamism and diversification is creating a unique opportunity for the region’s leading financial providers.