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GCC Broader Public Sector Debt Poses Fiscal Risks

Government-related entity (GRE) debt is a significant and growing contingent liability for some governments of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The high public sector debt reflects heavy state involvement in the economy and the use of GREs as a key tool of economic policy. 

Saudi Islamic Banking Dominant; Asset Quality Weakened and Profitability Improved

Saudi Islamic banks remain well placed in the banking sector as they have the largest retail franchises, supporting a lower cost of funding and better asset quality. Saudi Arabia has the largest Islamic banks' financing base (78%) of any country that allows commercial banks to operate alongside Islamic banks.


Fitch Downgrades Lebanon to 'CCC'

September 05, 2019
10:30am (BST) | 5:30pm (HKT)

Fitch Ratings is hosting a webinar with Jan Friederich and Toby Iles in the Global Sovereign Ratings group after Lebanon’s recent downgrade to ‘CCC’.

Speakers: Toby Iles, Primary Analyst Jan Friederich, Head of Middle East and Africa Sovereigns

Register Now

Saudi Aramco's strong cash flow generation and its net cash position could support further acquisitions. The company's growth strategy focuses on vertical integration and includes its recent acquisition of a 70% stake in SABIC and the negotiations to acquire a 20% stake in Reliance Industries' refining and petrochemicals business. 

Fitch Publishes Dubai Aerospace Enterprise's 'BBB-' Rating; Outlook Stable

Fitch Ratings has published Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) Ltd's Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of'BBB-' with Stable Outlook, DAE Funding LLC's senior unsecured long-term rating of 'BBB-' and DAE's senior secured long-termerm rating of 'BBB'.

Lebanon Targets Deficit Reduction; Financing Pressures Continue

Lebanon's draft 2019 budget targets fiscal consolidation, but we do not expect full implementation, and additional fiscal and structural reforms would be required to stabilise government debt/GDP. Proposals to issue T bonds at below-market rates, most likely to the central bank, reflect the difficulty of cutting spending and tight liquidity in the financial system. 

Karaiskos: Fitch Learning launches first international Credit Academy and certification in Egypt (Arabic)

Interview in Arabic: Andreas Karaiskos spoke about Fitch Learning bringing its international Credit Academy to Egypt . The Academy aims to support development of finance professionals as economy continues to reform. It is a blend of e-learning, assessments, workshops and certification. In the case studies, Fitch Ratings’ research and Fitch Solutions Connect platform were used.

rating actions

Jordan's 'BB-' Rating; Outlook Stable

Jordan's ratings are supported by a track record of fiscal and economic reforms and resilient availability of domestic and external financing linked to the liquid banking sector, growing public pension fund and funding from Jordan's external partners.

Escalation in Iran-US Tension Would Be a Risk to GCC Sovereigns

Elevated tensions between the US and Iran have raised the prospect of disruptions to oil and gas shipments in the Gulf. A conflict could have a significant negative impact on budgets in the region, although large buffers would cushion the impact for the richer sovereigns. An escalation could also affect ratings if it caused us to reassess geopolitical risks for the sovereigns. 

OPEC+ Has Capacity to Offset Iran Crude Supply Cuts

OPEC+ is likely to mitigate the decline in Iran's production due to US waivers ending. This will not necessarily mean an increase in the alliance's overall production and could be effectively achieved through ramping up output within existing quotas or redistribution of quotas. The alliance has adjusted its output to offset fluctuating global supply and demand since its formation in 2016. Crude price volatility is increasing in the short term, however.

rating action

Saudi Arabia Affirmed at 'A+'; Outlook Stable

Saudi Arabia's ratings are supported by strong fiscal and external balance sheets, including exceptionally high international reserves, low government debt and significant government assets. These strengths are balanced by oil dependence, weak World Bank governance indicators and high geopolitical risks. 

Middle East in Ambitious Drive for Renewables Generation

Several governments in the Middle East have set ambitious targets for the development of renewable energy, which will give rise to large capital requirements in the region. The sovereign rating may be a critical factor in our assessment of credit strength of renewable projects due to the government-related entity status of many off-takers or entire projects. 

Aramco's SABIC Deal Echoes Oil Majors' Vertical Integration

Saudi Aramco's acquisition of SABIC (both rated A+/Stable) echoes efforts made by global oil majors and national oil companies to integrate further into downstream and petrochemicals. Refining and petrochemical margins are countercyclical to oil prices and represent a hedge against low oil prices.

Rating Action

Fitch Rates Saudi Aramco's Debut Bonds Final 'A+'

Saudi Aramco is the world's largest oil producer and the national oil company of Saudi Arabia (A+/Stable). Its standalone profile corresponds to a rating of 'AA+', which sits at the upper boundary of the Fitch rating spectrum for oil and gas companies, and reflects the company's high production, vast reserves, low production costs and very conservative financial profile. 

Milken Institute MENA Summit - New Opportunities From a World in Transition

James McCormack, global head of sovereign and supranational group, discusses how Fitch Ratings is approaching a world in transition at the Milken MENA Summit in Abu Dhabi.


Fitch Ratings Overview on Global Islamic Finance

Now Available On-Demand


Listen now to Fitch Ratings' latest webcast on Global Islamic Finance. The presentation provides an overview of Fitch’s Global Islamic Finance Coverage, Islamic Finance Performance and Outlook in key markets, Fitch’s Islamic Finance Rating approach, with Sukuk rating Criteria in focus


Listen Now

Rating Action

Fitch Publishes Abu Dhabi National Oil Company's 'AA' First-Time IDR

ADNOC is the national oil company of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and is one of the largest oil producers globally. On a standalone basis ADNOC's rating corresponds to 'AA+' and reflects the company's high upstream output coupled with low production costs, significant reserves, downstream integration and a conservative financial profile. The Outlook is stable. 

Fitch Ratings Authorized to Conduct Credit Rating Activities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Fitch Ratings today announces it has obtained authorization from the Capital Market Authority (CMA) to conduct credit rating activities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. To support the ongoing development of Saudi Arabia's capital market, Fitch Ratings will establish an on-the-ground presence in Riyadh.


Saoud Al Behairi

Saudi Arabia

Saoud Al Behairi

General Manager for Saudi Arabia

+966 11 484 7140

Wael Mourad

Middle East

Wael Mourad

Financial Institutions – Director

+971 4 424 1204

Ahmed Hassan

Middle East

Ahmed Hassan

Corporates – Senior Director

+971 4 424 1255

Ameer Toma

Middle East

Ameer Toma

Investor Development – Director

+971 4 424 1265

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