NCB Capital cuts Saudi banks
Riyadh, March 14, 2012
Saudi banks with significant exposure to the corporate sector may see their net interest margins shrink as competition increases, NCB Capital said, downgrading Saudi Investment Bank and Arab National Bank to "neutral" from "overweight."
The brokerage, however, expects loan growth of 12.4 per cent at Saudi banks in 2012, led by a 16 per cent retail loan growth.
"Improved provision coverage, asset quality and capital base make Saudi banks well-equipped to continue the strong lending growth recorded in 2011," analyst Farouk Miah wrote in a March note for the sector.
He also expects the continued government spending and low interest rates to drive corporate lending and boost domestic liquidity.
The analyst named Al Rajhi Bank, Samba Financial Group and Riyad Bank as top picks in the sector. - Reuters