Annual remittances sent home by expatriates in the Gulf States are estimated at $40 billion and may reach $50 billion this year, said Muhammad Al Ansari, chairman and managing director of UAE Al Ansari Exchange, during the Money Transfer Dubai Conference 2010 (March 22nd).
Al Ansari expects that the UAE remittance markets would witness significant growth in 2011, pointing out that the remittances to East Asia represent 40% of the total amount, followed by Middle Eastern countries with 30% and 30% going to the remaining regions.
The GCC region has over 12 million expatriates and is the second largest source of private financial transfers, second only to the US.
Outside funds boost Kuwait money supply
In Kuwait, the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) reported on Wednesday (March 24th) that the money supply increased 2% in March compared with February, up 512 million dinars, boosted by a large inflow of outside funds in February.
This resulted in a 469 million dinar growth in Central Bank of Kuwait's (CBK) net foreign assets. Much of these funds subsequently found their way to local banks, where deposits increased by 481 million dinars.
NBK also noted that personal facilities and real estate loans fell 41 million dinars and 52 million dinars in February. These sectors were the growth leaders in 2009.
Government Provides Aid to Dubai World
The Dubai government committed to supporting the plan to restructure Dubai World's debt by infusing $9.5 billion into the entity, said Dubai Supreme Fiscal Committee Chairman Sheikh Ahmad bin Saeed Al-Maktoum in a statement on Thursday (March 25th).
The government will provide $8 billion of new money to Nakheel, and the fiscal committee would convert its existing $1.2 billion debt claim in Nakheel into equity, the statement added.
According to the statement, Dubai World and Nakheel will announce today their plan to restructure their liabilities to become key partners in the economic development of the UAE and Dubai.
Qatar Investment Authority Expands Activities
In Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani, prime minister and Qatar Investment Authority chief executive said on Tuesday (March 23rd) that the state-owned authority invested $30 billion in 2009 and plans to do the same this year.
In November 2009, QIA, which believes that it holds $70 billion in assets, announced that it will continue investing in Europe and revealed plans to extend activities to the US.
QIA invests in a number of companies, including the British supermarket chain J Sainsbury, German Porsche, British Bank Barclays and Songbird Estates and its main subsidiary, London's Canary Wharf business centre.
Large Islamic bank to open in Syria
Esam Janahi, chief executive officer and board member of Gulf Finance House (GFH) announced that the institution will establish one of the largest Islamic banks in Syria under the name of Syria Finance House as part of its expansion plan.
The new 15 billion Syrian pound bank will be one of the largest Islamic banks in Syria, and it plans to provide a series of commercial and investment activities catering to the growing demands in the Syrian market.
GFH's expansion plan includes expanding its investments and establishing banks that specialise in infrastructure funding in MENA, in addition to the Bahraini Khaleeji Commercial Bank and the First Energy Bank.
Foreign investment to increase in Saudi Arabia
Siraj Capital issued a statement on Wednesday (March 24th) saying that Saudi Arabia's foreign direct investment (FDI) is expected to grow 20% in 2010.
"We expect FDI to witness additional growth in 2010 in the range of 20% annually compared to 2009, mainly due to the continuing global recession where international capital is looking for alternative markets to earn the high returns they had grown accustomed to," said Tarek Kabrit, Principal of Private Equity at Siraj Capital.