U.A.E. Banks Look Outside of Their Home Turf to Boost Loan Deals

(Bloomberg) -- Some of United Arab Emirates’ biggest banks are looking outside of their home turf to make up for relatively slow loan growth in the Gulf nation.

First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC, the country’s biggest lender, has participated in 51 syndicated loan deals overseas this year as of Sunday. Most of them were in Asia, where the bank is ranked 13th among foreign currency loan bookrunners, according to Bloomberg League Tables, up 10 places from this time last year.

Lending by banks in the U.A.E., the second-biggest Arab economy after Saudi Arabia, has risen 4.2 percent in the 10 months through October as the country recovers from two years of slowing economic growth. While that’s sizable compared with last year, a breakdown of the central bank’s data shows that domestic credit advanced 3.5 percent, while lending to foreign borrowers jumped by more than 12 percent.

U.A.E.’s Top 5 Banks by AssetsNo. of Overseas Deals 2018 No. of Overseas Deals 2016
First Abu Dhabi Bank5133
Emirates NBD2312
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank50
Dubai Islamic Bank23

* FAB data for 2016 is a combination of deals by National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank, which merged in 2017

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.