Posted on August 28, 2015

Qatar had the highest earnings growth in GCC in the first half of 2015, with the rest of GCC countries recording a decline, a recent report by Kuwait Financial Center (Markaz) said on Wednesday. according to the official KUNA news agency. Poor earnings in the first half of 2015 in the rest of GCC states were attributed to fall in oil prices, strengthening U.S. dollar and company specific issues. According to the report, GCC corporates posted a negative 7.2 percent growth in the first half of 2015 (1H15), compared to same period in 2014. 

Total earnings in 1H15 came in at $34 billion, driven by strong performance from banks and real estate. Aggregate net profits for banks came in at $16.7bn in 1H15, a rise of 9 percent over 1H14. According to Markaz, earnings from real estate came in at $3.7 billion, marking a growth of 44.5 percent year-on-year. Robust growth in the earnings of banking sector, which accounts for 49 percent of earnings, could not prevent overall corporate earnings from declining by 7.2 percent year on year in 1H15. Telecom sector continued its negative run from 2014, with overall profits declining by 35 percent. 

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Earnings in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia contracted by 19 percent and 16 percent respectively year on year in the first half of 2015. UAE, Bahrain and Oman also registered negative earnings growth of 2 percent, 5 percent and 7 percent respectively. The real estate and banking sectors have been the star performers in the region for 1H15, registering growth of 44.5 percent and 9 percent respectively. Despite signs of slowing down towards the end of last year, the real estate sector had a great run in the first half of 2015, the Markaz report said. 

Commodities sector, the second biggest in terms of net earnings, was impacted by lower oil prices. Telecom sector, fourth, was affected by the reduction in average revenue per user (ARPUs) as well as company specific losses. The report expected GCC corporate earnings to contract by 0.3 percent in 2015 over the financial year 2014 to reach $69.7 billion. UAE, Qatar and Bahrain earnings growth are expected to be robust at 8 percent, 6.2 percent and 6 percent respectively for the full year of 2015 compared to 2014. Corporate earnings in other GCC countries are also expected to decline during the same period with earnings in Saudi declining the most at 7.9 percent.