Coronavirus Will Impact Borrowing and Lending in the Middle East Banking Sector

Mar 8, 2020

Editor's note: Oliver Wyman is monitoring the COVID events in real time and we have compiled resources to help our clients and the industries they serve. Please continue to monitor the Oliver Wyman Coronavirus hub for updates.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - March 08, 2020: Leading management consultancy Oliver Wyman warns that the resulting impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on the global economy could lead to reduced borrowing and lending that will affect banks with a bearing on corporate and personal finance in Dubai and the Middle East.

The Middle East has shown resilience demonstrating the ability to weather previous outbreaks diligently including the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in 2012 however, today the region faces new challenges with the outbreak of COVID-19. Growing anticipation of a cyclical economic downturn accelerated by the impact of COVID-19 has worsened credit quality and limited funding, placing greater pressure on the liquidity of financial institutions, particularly banks.

The Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) earlier this week formally requested banks to implement measures to counteract the effects of COVID-19 including rescheduling loans, offering temporary deferrals on monthly loan payments and reducing fees and commissions.

The banking sector requires capital to lend in order to function and operate a sustainable business. For companies and individuals, credit quality reflects their ability to repay debt. Poorer credit quality increases the reliance on the banking sector to provide loans and fund development, placing greater pressure on liquidity levels.

Impaired liquidity in the banking sector limits funding, which could raise a barrier toward business growth and personal finance relief that could lead to a detrimental cycle in the region.

COVID-19, officially declared as a global emergency by The World Health Organization (WHO), continues to evolve with far-reaching effects on people worldwide. More than 5,000 cases have been recorded across the Middle East, most of which in Iran that follows China, South Korea and Italy in the number of new confirmed cases at more than 1,200 and almost 130 deaths*. Several cases have also been confirmed in the UAE. The outbreak has depressed global financial markets and had severe implications on trade, supply chains, and economies globally, subsequently deteriorating cash flows in sectors such as tourism, travel and hospitality, most impacted by the outbreak.

Oliver Wyman believes the global economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak depends on its duration, how far it spreads and the extent quarantine disrupts the labour market.

For more Oliver Wyman perspectives on Coronavirus please visit: www.oliverwyman.com/coronavirus

*Editor’s note: WHO numbers correct at the time of filing this alert and will have changed by the time of publication. This outlook may evolve as the effects of the Coronavirus unfold.

Editor's note: Oliver Wyman is monitoring the COVID events in real time and we have compiled resources to help our clients and the industries they serve. Please continue to monitor the Oliver Wyman Coronavirus hub for updates.

About Oliver Wyman 

Oliver Wyman is a global leader in management consulting. With offices in 60 cities across 29 countries, Oliver Wyman combines deep industry knowledge with specialized expertise in strategy, operations, risk management, and organization transformation. The firm has more than 5,000 professionals around the world who work with clients to optimize their business, improve their operations and risk profile, and accelerate their organizational performance to seize the most attractive opportunities. Oliver Wyman is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies [NYSE: MMC]. For more information, visit www.oliverwyman.com. Follow Oliver Wyman on Twitter @OliverWyman.