Dubai, one of the 7 emirates comprising the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is the Middle East’s commercial and financial capital. Dubai has historically been hub of trade between the Arab world, the Indian sub-continent, Iran, and East Africa. Due to its limited oil resources, Dubai focused on this heritage by developing a world class seaport and airport. It has also diversified from a trade and real estate-based economy to one that is service and tourism-oriented. In order to benefit from its geographical location between East and West, Dubai set up the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) which has helped Dubai become the region’s main financial hub.
ING Group has been operating in the Middle East since 1978 through various entities including BBL and Barings Asset Management. However, ING Wholesale Banking opened its first office in Dubai in July 2007, after obtaining a license from the Dubai Financial Services Authority (the regulator within the Dubai International Financial Centre).
The primary geographic remit of ING Wholesale Banking Middle East is the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which comprises of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The GCC had a combined population of 50 million and nominal GDP of USD 1.56 trillion at the end of 2014. The GCC accounts for approximately 40% of the oil and 23% of the world’s gas reserves.
As part of ING’s Wholesale Banking UK region, the Dubai office operates essentially as a relationship management office, developing and maintaining relationships with corporate clients (mainly sovereign-related), wealth funds and top financial institutions in the GCC. The focus is on payments and cash management and general lending, structured finance, and financial markets transactions for GCC and international corporate clients, working together with product specialists from other parts of ING’s global network.
Currently, the Dubai office has no booking capabilities and does not provide local currency accounts or transaction services.
Country trade view Saudi Arabia
As a trademark for Gulf countries, Saudi Arabia’s economy is dominated by crude oil production. This lack of diversification means it is highly sensitive to oil price developments.
The government budget, the trade balance and the foreign exchange reserves have all been hit hard by the recent crash in oil prices. Can Saudia Arabia recover? What will happen to exports and imports?
More about the current state of trade and our expectations for the future in our Country trade view Saudi Arabia (May 2016, PDF, 1712 kB).