UAE: A Global Hub for Commerce

Before the skyscrapers, mega malls and hotels, foreign trade was the United Arab Emirates (UAE) claim to fame.  The UAE appeared in trading routes as early as 30,00BC, motivated by the trade in copper, from the Hajar mountains.

Trade continues to be at the forefront of the UAE’s growth.  Trade per capita is approx. $69,000 (£45,000) according to the World Trade Organisation (2011-2013). To put that into context, the same figure for the UK is around $24,000 (£15,000). The World Economic Forum ranks the UAE as the best place in the Middle East and North African (“MENA”) region for trade and number one in the world for transport and communications infrastructure.

The UAE’s success as a dynamic hub for global commerce built on three key factors:

  1. Strategic location between East and West;

  2. Unmatched first world infrastructure; and

  3. Stability and security which have made the UAE a “safe haven” for investors amid the political turbulence gripping the Arab world.

These factors provide optimum trading conditions and mean the UAE is poised to take advantage of economic activity among the world’s fastest growing and developing economies in the emerging markets in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. As such, thousands of Chinese businesses use Dubai as a hub for Africa. Indian traders use the emirate to access the world and, of course, Western multi-nationals and UK corporates use the UAE as a hub for the Middle East and increasingly Africa.


Mashreq London: Connecting the UAE

Mashreq is uniquely placed to connect businesses globally. Established in 1967, it is the second oldest bank in the UAE and the Bank’s heritage is closely linked with the creation of the modern UAE.  It is therefore no surprise that Mashreq has established itself as one of the region’s leading commercial bank with a focus on cross border trade finance.

Based in London, one of the world’s major Global Financial Centres, Mashreq is ideally positioned to support UK companies through our specialist, experienced and dedicated trade finance team.  The London branch acts a window for many of our UK & European clients, not only into the UAE and the Middle East, but also on a world-wide basis. The branch’s time zone alignment is often seen a great advantage.  We follow our clients’ trade finance needs across Africa and into the Indian Sub-Continent and South East Asia.  This footprint and focus is entirely consistent with the UAE’s role being at the centre of Asian, Middle East and African trade. 

As well as London, Mashreq is present in 11 other countries with 22 overseas offices. Its other branches are in Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Egypt and the financial hubs of Dubai, New York, Hong Kong and Mumbai.  These are supported by representative offices in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal and a global network of correspondent banks covering 81 countries. So, if ever you need to trade in many of the world’s fastest growing economies, Mashreq can be your first point of call.

Mashreq has extensive knowledge of world-wide markets, regulations and authorities arising from deep routed experience across these important trading regions. In London branch too, we have a wealth of trade finance experience that we can share with our clients. We work very closely with UK companies, both large and small, and in a great variety of different industry sectors, in order to support their businesses. We cover clients with exports ranging from oil and fertilisers to tractors and scrap steel. We also work with major commodity companies providing relevant solutions to mitigate their documentary trade risk.

Whilst our Middle East capabilities are traditionally strong, the bank’s strengths extend credibly throughout Africa, across the Indian sub-continent and into South East Asia, where we have been doing business in countries there for very many years.  


Mashreq UAE: A Window of Opportunities  

As well as its extensive trade finance capabilities world-wide, Mashreq offers a diverse range of other banking products and services to clients in the UAE from deposit-taking, cash management and lending to contract & project finance and treasury & capital markets services amongst others.   

With the UAE real economy’s ongoing development, Mashreq is uniquely placed to link clients who aspire to participate in the phenomenal array of development projects in the region. The Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries in the Middle East region have grown their economies by being among the world’s lowest cost producers of energy. The past decade has seen these countries diversifying away from oil; billions of dollars have been invested in developing world class infrastructure, transport connectivity and logistics, which provides tremendous opportunity for corporates and contractors alike.

In 2014, the UAE was upgraded from Frontier to Emerging Market status on the MSCI index, bringing to the country increased equity investment flows. Also there has been significant increased appetite for Middle East bank paper in the last couple of years as investors look for attractive yields in new and stable credit and economic environments.  In this context, and as part of the bank of diversifying the Bank’s funding sources, Mashreq launched its own Certificate of Deposit (CD) programme in November 2014, with CDs offered and issued through its London branch. The programme itself is rated at A-2 / P-2 (Standard & Poor’s / Moody’s).

Our specialist Treasury & Capital Markets division can provide support across the full range of our Middle East treasury, fixed income, derivatives and equity products. In the asset management arena, the Bank also has one of the longest and most successful investment track records in Middle East equities and fixed income markets with various investment options delivered via discretionary investment mandates and attractive fund formats. 

Whilst Mashreq is a conventional lending bank, it also has a well-established Islamic Banking division, Mashreq Al Islami, offering Sharia compliant banking services. This allows the Bank to provide a variety of financing, hedging and investment solutions to its clients. This is increasingly important for corporates and FIs looking to develop their Middle East business against the backdrop of the rising demand for Islamic solutions.

Mashreq also enables clients to forgo extra infrastructure costs and the deployment of resources by providing them a state-of-art electronic banking platform right in their office. The centralised processing capability, coupled with robust core banking platform, presents itself in the most user-friendly yet standardised look and feel across our network.


Mashreq: Market Recognition 

Mashreq’s growing banking credentials in the UAE and the Middle East have been favourably recognised with an increasing number of awards and accolades gained in retail, corporate and investment banking. Amongst many awards received in 2014, these included from EMEA Finance-Middle East Banking, “Best Loan House in the UAE”, “Best Cash Management Services in the Middle East” and, for Global Trade Services, “Best Local Bank”.  John Iossifidis, Head of International Banking Group commented, “these awards are clear evidence that we are delivering on our promise to deliver our clients the most rewarding banking relationships. The most pleasing thing is we are doing this by harnessing the product capabilities we possess in different groups, to seemlessly deliver to our clients wherever they are.”

Mashreq: We Make Possible

At Mashreq, our culture is relationship driven. We believe that our success depends on establishing lasting, mutually beneficial partnerships. Mashreq clearly understands its role in the financial eco system where it is a banker to most local banks in the fastest growing emerging geographies; and at the same time being a very important service provider to our clients in the financial value chain connecting domestic businesses globally. Our services underline our philosophy of ‘We Make Possible’.

Mashreq would very much like to be your bank of choice in the UAE.

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