BMI View: Despite only being founded in 1971, the UAE has become the financial hub of the GCC area. Itsbanking, insurance and asset management sectors are leading the region and are expected to continue theirtremendous growth. The stock exchange sector, however, is second to Saudi Arabia. Nevertheless, growingcalls for consolidation within the market might make it serious challenge to the Tadawul stock exchange.
Banks operating in the UAE have recognised that a significant share of non-performing loans (NPLs) havecome from SMEs. Payment delays in both the construction and contracting sectors - as well as theanticipated job losses in SMEs - are likely to continue the growth of NPLs, as was the case in the last fewquarters. In a positive development for gender diversity, Emirati women were reported to make up 70% ofthe workforce in the national banking sector by the end of Q317. This high proportion is attributable to thecontinued encouragement and support from the UAE's leadership.