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Banking & Finance

Banking & finance news from the Middle East. All the important stories, exclusive interviews, plus authoritative opinion and analysis

UAE Egypt central bank governors

UAE and Egypt sign currency swap agreement

The central banks of the United Arab Emirates and Egypt have signed a bilateral swap deal in local currencies to boost trade and bolster financial stability. The agreement allows for the exchange of UAE dirhams and Egyptian pounds with a nominal amount of up to AED5 billion ($1.36 billion) and EGP42 billion, the UAE state-run […]


Abu Dhabi’s IHC to sell stake in two Adani entities

International Holding Company (IHC), an Abu Dhabi-headquartered investment firm, is to sell its stake in two of India’s Adani Group companies. The conglomerate’s subsidiaries, Green Energy Investment Holding RSC and Green Transmission Investment Holding RSC, have entered into definitive agreements with a buyer to sell their stake in Adani Green Energy Limited and Adani Energy […]

Adnic Allianz SF

Abu Dhabi insurer Adnic takes over Saudi’s Allianz SF

Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company (Adnic) is to take a majority stake in one of Saudi Arabia’s top insurance companies as it looks to increase its presence in the kingdom. Adnic announced to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) on Thursday that it plans to acquire 51 percent of share capital of Allianz Saudi Fransi […]

Abu Dhabi North American fund

Abu Dhabi backs $5bn fund for North American firms

Wells Fargo is teaming up with private equity firm Centerbridge Partners to launch a fund with a capacity to lend more than $5 billion to North American middle-market companies, the groups said on Tuesday. The move highlights the increasing intertwining of private capital providers and traditional banks in offering credit to companies and consumers since […]

World Bank president sees over $100bn lending boost

World Bank Group President Ajay Banga on Tuesday said proposed new contributions from wealthy countries combined with balance sheet changes could boost the bank’s lending capacity by $100 billion to $125 billion over a decade. Banga told a council on foreign relations event that the contributions would come outside the bank’s normal shareholding structure and […]

Israeli hi-tech firms raise $1.7bn in Q3 2023

Israeli high-tech firms raised $1.7 billion in the third quarter, preliminary data showed on Tuesday, in a sign that investment in startups is stabilising. The amount raised in the third quarter was down 38 percent over the same period in 2022 but only 14 percent lower from the second quarter, the IVC Research Center and […]

TioCem Cement ICSID arbitration

Foreign investors turn to World Bank for Mena disputes

Foreign investors are increasingly filing cases at the World Bank’s arbitration unit to resolve disputes with countries in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region. The World Bank launched the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in 1966 to enforce investor rights that are guaranteed within bilateral investment treaties between countries. In […]

Mohammed Al Jadaan, Saudi minister of finance. The kingdom has appointed an executive specifically to lead its virtual assets and digital currency programme

Saudi’s crypto economy shrugs off regional decline

Saudi Arabia was one of only six countries in which the volume of cryptocurrency deals grew over the last year, according to a new report. The majority of its Middle East neighbours recorded double-digit declines. The kingdom’s crypto economy grew by 12 percent between July 2022 and July this year, as per the 2023 Geography […]

Hewlett Packard Enterprise has opened a Saudi headquarters

More companies set up Saudi HQs as deadline nears

Saudi Arabia has had limited success so far in its plan to tempt major companies to open regional headquarters in the kingdom, but more are obliging as the deadline to do so draws nearer. Among the companies relocating their main offices – or at least creating a presence in the kingdom – are international names […]

Turkey lira reserves

Turkey begins rolling back ‘costly’ lira protection scheme

Turkey’s central bank has begun rolling back a costly scheme that protects lira deposits from FX depreciation by removing minimum interest rates, according to a document sent to banks and seen by two bankers. Last week the central bank raised its interest rate to 30 percent, which would have been the new minimum rate for […]

Talks between Egypt and the UAE over the loan deal to purchase wheat from Kazakhstan are in early stages

Egypt in talks with UAE bank to fund wheat purchase

Egypt is in talks with an Abu Dhabi-based bank for a loan facility that would finance wheat purchases from Kazakhstan, three traders told Reuters. The move could give Egypt a cheap alternative to grain from Russia, which has supplied an increasing share of Egypt’s wheat since last year but recently blocked a deal for a […]

A Bako electric car in Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia. Clean transport is one of the many sectors that can benefit from HSBC's $1bn fund

Mena companies can tap $1bn HSBC climate tech fund

HSBC has set aside $1 billion to help finance early-stage climate tech companies around the world, and “transformative investment opportunities” exist in the Middle East and Turkey, according to its regional chief.  “The Middle East has a key role to play in the transition to a net zero global economy,” said Patricia Gomes, regional head […]

Palestine startups

Funding options on the rise for Palestine startups

Palestine is home to a wealth of entrepreneurial talent but its startups have struggled to gain access to funding. A number of initiatives are aiming to change all that by doubling the amount of startup funding available and offering mentoring opportunities. Support is also being offered to Palestinians living in the Middle East and North […]

The Fuze team, from left: CTO Srijan Shetty, CEO Mohammed Ali Yusuf and COO Arpit Mehta

Digital assets startup Fuze raises $14m in seed round

UAE digital assets provider Fuze has raised $14 million in a funding round, in what it claims is the “largest” seed investment in a digital assets startup in the Middle East and North Africa.  The investment was led by Abu Dhabi-based Further Ventures, with participation by US-based Liberty City Ventures.  The startup enables banks, fintechs […]

The private funding round values Israeli cybersecurity startup Cato Networks at $3 billion

Israeli cybersecurity startup Cato Networks raises $238m

Israeli cybersecurity company Cato Networks said on Tuesday it had raised $238 million in a private funding round that valued the company at $3 billion. The round, one of Israel’s largest this year and Cato’s biggest, was led by LightSpeed Venture Partners, with the participation of Adams Street Partners, Softbank Vision Fund 2, Sixty Degree […]

Climate health risks

Al Jaber: climate change health risks need more investment

Cop28 participating nations must increase financing to identify and mitigate climate change’s risks to human health, the summit’s president designate Sultan Al Jaber has said. “The connection between health and climate change is evident, yet it has not been a specific focus of the Cop process – until now,” Al Jaber told the UN General […]

Saudi businesses are making more use of crowdfunding

Saudi crowdfunding takes off as loans double in 2022

The number of new businesses taking on debt through crowdfunding platforms has soared in Saudi Arabia. The value of loans raised has more than doubled to SAR771 million Saudi riyals ($206 million) in 2022, the Saudi central bank (Sama) said in a new report.  Crowdfunding is a process in which multiple investors lend money to […]

UAE minister of state for financial affairs Mohamed bin Hadi Al Hussaini has hailed the 'strong results' of the bond offering

UAE’s $1.5bn bond issue oversubscribed five-fold

The order book for the UAE government’s US dollar-denominated $1.5 billion bond issue exceeded $7.4 billion, representing strong demand from domestic, regional and international investors, the finance ministry said in a statement. The 10-year bond, maturing on September 2033, was issued with a yield of 4.91 percent. This represented a spread of 60 basis points […]

Alibaba's investment in Turkey will involve data and logistics centres in Ankara and an export centre at Istanbul Airport

China’s Alibaba plans $2bn investment in Turkey

China’s e-commerce major Alibaba Group is planning to invest around $2 billion in Turkey, according to a local media report. The plan was shared by Alibaba president Michael Evans during a meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Daily Sabah newspaper reported, citing a statement from the company’s Turkish unit. No timeframe was given but the […]

DAE's credit facility was increased to more than twice the proposed initial target following significant investor demand

Dubai plane lessor increases credit facility to $1.6bn

Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) has signed a new facility worth $1.6 billion with a group of 26 financiers, its largest bank loan financing to date. The transaction was increased to more than twice the proposed initial target following significant investor demand, the state-owned company said in a statement published on the UAE Wam news agency. […]

Dubai VC funding SMEs

Dubai SMEs turn to banks as VC funding declines

Small businesses in Dubai are turning to traditional banks for financing as the global slowdown in venture capital funding continues. Emirates NBD, Dubai’s largest bank by assets, reported that it funded 34 percent more small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) over the opening seven months of 2023 compared to the same period last year. Lucy Chow, […]

Standard Chartered bank in Singapore, from which the bank received 14% of its income in H1 2023

Standard Chartered still attractive to possible buyers

Standard Chartered will remain in the sights of cash-rich potential buyers thanks to the bank’s relatively cheap valuation and hard-to-replicate footprint, analysts told AGBI. It is listed and headquartered in London, yet 87 percent of its half-year income was derived from Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Over the past decade, Standard Chartered has sold […]