In our September edition, Euromoney explores the challenges and opportunities for some of the world’s leading financial institutions in the Middle East, including a special investigation into Iran’s tentative economic and political rehabilitation in the eyes of international markets, Lebanon’s economy, UAE-India ties and Saudi Arabia’s equity-market revolution.
The security crisis brought on by the rise of Islamic State could turn Iran from pariah to much-needed partner to the west. Financial sanctions have hit both Iran’s economy and its banks hard. Inflation is rampant, NPLs are soaring, while banks lack capital. Corporates can’t get the funding they need. Local bank chiefs are itching to open their doors once again to foreign counterparties. If sanctions are lifted, what will the world’s bankers find in Tehran and beyond?
After the Iranian Revolution overthrew the Shah in 1979 and the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini launched the Islamic Republic that exists today, there were a lot of assets the Shah and his followers had left behind as they fled Iran.
The economic ties between the UAE and India have gone from strength to strength in recent years and are set to deepen further. The UAE not only offers India the promise of investment in its creaking infrastructure, but a compelling investment environment for Indian companies and a staging post for expansion. Conversely, Asia’s third largest economy offers Arab companies growth opportunities
Lebanon’s economy was already under pressure before the arrival of countless refugees from Syria. The IMF has flagged up serious problems in the public finances and the country itself recognizes the need for reform in many areas. Nevertheless, a stable political base and strong banking sector offer cause for optimism.