The first year of HSBC’s accelerated growth strategy in the Middle East is getting an added boost from Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) economies that are set to end 2022 among the world’s fastest growing with their strongest performance in a decade.
“We’re seeing clear results in the first year of execution of a strategic growth and investment plan that aligns directly to the substantial growth that is evident in this region and underpinned by many of the world’s most ambitious economic transformation programmes.
“Our origins in this region date back to 1889 and our active support in its growth and development ever since is reflected in the strength and depth of the sovereign, institutional, corporate and personal banking client relationships we have built over the decades,” said Stephen Moss, regional chief executive for the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey (MENAT).
Moss said, “Our substantial on the ground presence and heritage gives us a unique perspective on the scale of the opportunity ahead, the channels and flows of global capital, and the role we can play in opening those up for our clients by connecting customers from Asia, Europe and the US to the huge long term potential there is in the Middle East, and helping customers from the region grow within it, or expand outside of it.”
HSBC’s financial performance in MENAT is indicative of that increased demand from clients, with revenue growth of 15% in the first six months of the year compared with the same period a year ago helping deliver profit before tax of $765mn.
HSBC’s Qatar business was an important contributor to that performance.
“Qatar’s international connectivity, together with the government’s National Vision 2030 programme, gives clear focus to the investment plans of HSBC’s clients. My regional management team and I saw this first hand on our recent visit to Doha,” said Moss.
The MENAT region is recovering strongly from the effects of the global Covid-19 pandemic, with the GCC states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE bolstered by revenues from robust energy prices that fund investment-led, sustainably-focused economic transformation initiatives.
The bank’s economists forecast GCC GDP growth of around 6% in real terms in 2022 – the strongest in at least a decade, above all other key regions of the world – and around 4% in 2023, citing particular strength in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.
Abdul Hakeem Mostafawi, CEO of HSBC Qatar, highlighted the work being done with different stakeholders in the financial sector to support the country’s plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2030, as an example of such close working relationships.
“Our collaboration with QFC and Masraf Al Rayan promotes the development of the financial services sector in Qatar, supports the country’s carbon reduction goals, and aligns well with HSBC Group’s own strategic priority to lead the global transition to net zero and our ambition to provide and facilitate between $750bn and $1tn of sustainable finance and investment by 2030.
“Qatar’s extensive economic diversification initiatives have created new opportunities in key growth sectors including aviation, manufacturing, education, healthcare, agriculture, e-commerce and professional services, alongside substantial investment programmes in energy, infrastructure, transport, ports, and the promotion of free zones to encourage inbound investment,” Mostafawi said.
He added: “These are areas in which the team in Qatar have built substantial expertise and deep relationships and where we see strong growth potential. The country’s sovereign wealth fund, one of the largest in the region, is also making global investments and is another area where we have built close relationships and provide expertise.”