(MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency) The banking sector of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council continued to grow rapidly in the first half of 2012.
The collective assets of the largest 50 banks in the region increased by 7.7 percent in the year to June 30, reaching 1.28 trillion.
Profits were also up by 5.4 percent, compared to the first half of 2011, reaching 12 billion.
While 76 percent of banks in the group were profitable, with average profit growth of 13 percent, only 11 out of 50 saw a decline and only one bank in the group recorded a net loss, according to a report of Qatar National Bank (QNB) Group, published today by Arab News.
Saudi and Emirati banks make up the bulk of the top 50, in terms of both number - 12 and 14 respectively - and aggregate assets, 33 percent and 28 percent respectively. Qatar is in third place, and eight of its banks are included in the group, representing 13.5 percent of total assets.
As many as 15 of the top 50 banks are Islamic and represent 19.5 percent of total assets.
Overall, the GCC banking sector appears to be in good shape, according to QNB Group. High oil prices, rising consumer spending and major infrastructure projects should all contribute to continuing strong growth in the coming year.