Emerging Markets Roundup: Middle East


By Gordon Platt

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, the kingdom’s central bank, issued new regulations governing the enforcement of foreclosures as part of a new mortgage law that has been debated for years.

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The law could boost residential lending to about $32 billion a year, according to Capitas Group International, which develops financial platforms and oversees real estate investments.

Over the next 10 years, spending on housing in Saudi Arabia will total $346 billion, according to a new study by National Commercial Bank (NCB). Some 2.4 million new housing units will be built, easing the country’s housing shortage. An increasing number of young people with rising incomes are creating significant demand, the bank says.

Meanwhile, NCB Capital has become the first Saudi wealth manager to establish a shariah-compliant funds platform in Ireland under the European regulatory framework UCITS. The bank will offer a fund that invests in Saudi Arabian equities and another that invests in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) markets. NCB plans to market the funds internationally.

Elsewhere in the GCC, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are seeking to purchase up to $7.6 billion of missile defense systems from Lockheed Martin. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency in the US, which oversees foreign arms sales, approved the potential transactions. The Pentagon also announced that Saudi Arabia plans to buy $6.7 billion of C-130 military transport planes and refueling aircraft from Lockheed Martin. It said the kingdom needs the planes to “sustain its aging fleet.”