Higher returns for the GCC banking sector in 2011 were due to a combination of higher asset growth, increasing non-interest income, and a slight widening of margins.
Although the trend is positive, the rate of asset growth is still subdued and there are significant differences among the six countries. By far the highest asset growth was recorded in Qatar where the sector expanded an impressive 29 per cent.
Following Qatar, the next highest increase was in Oman’s banking sector with growth of 19 per cent, followed by Saudi Arabia with nine per cent. Kuwait rose by around six per cent with the UAE growing by only four per cent and Bahrain just two per cent.