Business normal, says Kuwait’s NBK

National Bank of Kuwait, the country’s biggest lender by assets, said on Sunday was not affected by the troubles of smaller lender Gulf Bank and expected to meet its 2008 profit target. “Business is going normally. On the contrary, there is a flight to quality. We are seeing deposits are coming to us,” Chief Executive Ibrahim Dabdoub told Reuters after the central bank said it had to support Gulf Bank after it suffered losses from derivatives trading. Dabdoub said he expected NBK to meet its 2008 net profit target of around 350 million dinars ($1.30 billion) after making 273.6 million dinars last year, but 2009 would be a tough year as demand for credit was lower due to the global credit crisis. “We expect to have reduced demand on credit. There is no appetite,” he said. Dabdoub said he saw no impact on the Kuwaiti banking sector as a whole after the central bank measures, describing the case of Gulf Bank as “single event.” “I’m not worried. Kuwaiti banks have a very tough supervision. Once the government announces a guarantee of deposits everything will be better,” he said. “There will be an impact on the stock market for sure, but the stock market is already sinking,” he added. Reuters

Par La Rando MIDDLE EAST