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Awards for excellence - Middle East

BEST BANK
HSBC

BEST CASH MANAGEMENT HOUSE
HSBC

BEST DEBT HOUSE
Citigroup

BEST PROJECT FINANCE HOUSE
BNP Paribas

BEST TREASURY HOUSE
Arab Banking Corporation

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The financial sector in the Middle East can rarely have enjoyed such benign conditions as in the past 12 months. Most of the region's banks have taken full advantage, delivering record profits.

Continued high oil prices mean that the region is deluged with liquidity; governments have spent money on infrastructure projects and, just as important, paid contractors more promptly. Private business has also benefited from the vibrant economies and investors have enjoyed booming stock markets.

As a result most banks are turning in excellent profits and the difficult times of only a few years ago, when several banks got into difficulties with bad loans and the poor investment judgement of the US markets, now seem an age away.

Only in Oman, where there has been the debacle of Bank Muscat's attempted takeover of National Bank of Oman, is the financial sector looking poorly managed and lacking direction.

The figures in the leading countries in the region, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are stunning.

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