Banking & Finance

Where have all the IPOs gone?

It has not been a good year for stock market listings in the Middle East. In the first half of 2018, there were only 13 flotations, raising a total of $1.3bn in capital, according to consultancy firm EY, and there has not been much activity since then. Most of the market debuts were by real estate investment trusts (reits), and if these are excluded, only five companies came to market, raising a total of $149m.

Public deposits support Qatar’s banking sector

Perhaps more than anything, Qatar’s government must be thankful for the huge savings it had built up before this year. The economy was faced with a potentially destabilising shock in early June, when Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE imposed their boycott. Imports fell sharply and customers withdrew bank deposits in large volumes. However, Doha’s willingness to reach into its own pockets meant nerves were soothed and banks stayed liquid.

Will privatisation work in the GCC?

One of the most important pillars of Saudi Arabia’s economic reform programme is the push for more private sector investment and, as part of that, the privatisation of some key state assets. Privatisations are complex affairs and there are legitimate questions as to whether Riyadh will be able to sell everything on its list. But if it is successful, it will offer encouragement to other governments keen to follow suit.