FOCUS - Tough Funding Conditions for GCC Corporates
Oil prices declined by around 75% between mid- 2014 and January 2016, with Brent crude prices falling as low as $28 a barrel. Since then, prices have risen back up by nearly 85%, to around $50 a barrel. Nevertheless, persistently low prices are continuing to weigh on liquidity conditions across Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. Firstly, these countries are still heavily dependent on oil, despite efforts made towards greater economic diversification.
Between 2011 and 2014, hydrocarbon revenues accounted for 70% of exports and over 80% of total fiscal revenues, on average1. Secondly, low energy prices have been dragging down governments’ fiscal revenues, which has in turn weighed on the results of corporates and the liquidity of the banking sector. As a result, both financial and business conditions have deteriorated since the beginning of the decline in oil prices. Real GDP growth across the region fell to 1.9% in 2016, down from an average of 4.9% between 2010 and 20152. Growth is expected to edge up marginally, to 2.1% in 2017, supported by the recovery in oil prices.