United Arab Emirates personal loans grew at the fastest pace in more than two years in the second quarter.
Personal loans in the second-largest Arab economy expanded 2.1 per cent in the three months ended June 30 to Dhs259 billion ($71 billion), according to central bank data. That’s the fastest growth since the third quarter of 2009, data compiled by Bloomberg News show UAE interbank lending rates have fallen the most in the Gulf Cooperation Council this quarter to a record 1.30375 percent on Aug.12.
The property market of Dubai is stabilising as economic growth quickens. Banks are taking on greater risks by expanding consumer loans, including credit cards and mortgages. Loss rates on personal loans fell 50 per cent from 2009 levels, according to estimates of Dubai-based Emirates NBD PJSC, the nation’s biggest bank.
“Two factors are playing out: liquidity is back in the market in a significant way and so banks have more money to lend,” Suvo Sarkar, the head for retail banking at Emirates NBD, said in an interview yesterday. “And the loss rates have gone down tremendously in the last 12 to 18 months for all banks.”
UAE banks that were taking losses on as much as 6 per cent of personal loans three years ago are now seeing defaults on 2 percent to 3 percent, Sarkar said. For credit cards, industry loss rates may have fallen to between 5 percent and 10 percent from 20 percent in 2009 and 2010, he said.
The three-month Emirates Interbank Offered Rate, which banks use as a benchmark to price some loans, fell 20 basis points so far this quarter to 1.3225 percent today, narrowing the premium over the equivalent London Interbank Offered Rate to 89 basis points from 107 at the end of June.