Gulf banks’ dividends decline by $6.6 billion in 2020

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Mubasher: Dividends for bank shareholders in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries decreased in 2020 by about $6.6 billion; As banks in the region were effectively prevented from paying dividends due to the facilities approved by regulators to contain the repercussions of the Corona virus pandemic.

According to a report issued by KAMCO Invest today, Sunday, dividends paid to bank shareholders in the Gulf amounted to $8 billion last year, compared to $14.6 billion in the fiscal year 2019.

This decline came after 17 banks in the region canceled their dividends for the fiscal year 2020, mainly due to problems related to the pandemic.

Dividends for the fiscal year 2019 also declined, in light of the fact that some banks reduced their dividends even for the previous year, as cash dividends for 2019 decreased by 21% compared to dividends of $18.5 billion in fiscal year 2018.

The decline in cash dividends was evident throughout the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, in light of the fact that banks operating in all Gulf countries cut dividends.

Bahraini banks made the largest percentage reduction in dividends, which amounted to 72.4%, and Saudi banks reduced cash dividends by 64.1%, or $2.4 billion, to reach $1.3 billion in fiscal year 2020.

UAE-listed banks reduced their dividends by 36.4% to $3.3 billion, which is the highest cash dividend in absolute terms in the GCC for this year.

On the other hand, Qatari banks witnessed the lowest rate of decline in dividends during the year by 25.4%, as they paid cash dividends of $2.1 billion.

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