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Islamic Finance

UAE Islamic banks market share in 2019 lowest in five years as assets dip

Islamic banking market share in the UAE in 2019 was the lowest in the last five years as assets dropped, according to Salaam Gateway calculation of preliminary 2019 figures from the central bank.

Shariah-compliant banking assets in 2019 decreased by 1.75% to 572.407 billion dirhams ($155.86 billion) compared to 582.576 billion dirhams in 2018. 

Comparatively, conventional banks last year gained 9.95% in assets to 2.513 trillion dirhams from 2.286 trillion dirhams in 2018.

Total assets of all banks in the UAE rose 7.58% to 3.086 trillion dirhams compared to 2.869 trillion dirhams at the end of 2018.

Shariah-compliant domestic loans, advances, overdrafts and real estate mortgage loans, all of which account for a substantial proportion of assets, dropped by 3.28% in 2019 to 285.753 billion dirhams from 295.453 billion dirhams in 2018. 

Conventional loans, advances, ODs and real estate mortgages nudged up by 1.02% to 797.349 billion dirhams.

Overall, conventional domestic credit and investments surged 7.54% to 1.372 trillion dirhams while Islamic banks saw this category drop by 2.29% to 383.746 billion dirhams.

Table: UAE Banks Assets in million dirhams 2015 - 2019

Year Islamic assets Conventional assets  Total assets % Islamic market share
2015 464,151 2,014,074 2,478,225 18.73
2016 505,499 2,108,112 2,613,611 19.34
2017 550,171 2,143,636 2,693,807 20.42
2018 582,576 2,285,940 2,868,516 20.31
2019 (preliminary) 572,407 2,513,432 3,085,839 18.55

Data source: Central Bank of the UAE 


60 national, foreign and wholesale banks are licensed to operate in the UAE, according to central bank data. 21 are locally-incorporated, five of which are standalone Islamic banks—Dubai Islamic Bank (acquired Noor Bank in January), Emirates Islamic, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Sharjah Islamic Bank, and Ajman Bank—while many others have Shariah-compliant subsidiaries or offer Islamic banking and financial products and services.

($1 = 3.6725 Emirati dirhams)

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