Understanding the GCC Market Structure

What is a financial market?

A financial market is a spectrum term which means a marketplace where buyers and sellers trade in assets in the form of stock, currencies and derivatives. The demand and supply forces determine the price of these assets.

Depending on what is traded, there are mainly two types of financial markets:

1. Capital market – where securities like bonds, stock, etc. are traded. They are for long-term investment.

2. Money market – where high-liquidity items like US Treasury bills, currencies, etc. are traded. They are for short-term investment with equal chances of big gains and big losses.

Why is financial market important?

The financial markets mobilize domestic savings and foreign capital for productive investments. The economic growth of any country depends on the efficiency of its financial markets. An ineffective financial market would mean that you are not exploiting all opportunities and an inefficient one will cripple you and not let you compete on a global scale.

Its level of sophistication:

• Encourages Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

• Allows domestic corporations to raise funds for growth and expansion

GCC Market Structure Overview

Developing their financial markets has been a priority for GCC since 2002. Their vision has mainly been to promote the development of local marketplaces like UAE market structure and Kuwait market structure, and to make the GCC countries a financial hub in the region. With the oil prices dropping and the depletion of the oil reserves, the GCC region has no choice but to diversify its economy for a sustainable growth.

Current GCC Market Structure

The Saudi Arabia market structure, though solid (none of the banks collapsed in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis in 2008-09), still lacks sophistication. Most domestic companies even now use their retained earnings or traditional bank loans to finance their growth activities. When compared to their Asian and Latin America counterparts, the region forms only 0.8% of the global capital volume says a Deutsch Bank report.

The share of GCC countries is even lower with only 1% says an IMF report. The weak share of the UAE market structure is due to the government’s heavy engagement in the economic activities and the weak private sector.

In order to measure the financial marketplace development, the ratio of financial assets to the GDP is used. The GCC’s 0.8% share of the global financial market to its 1.7% share in the global GDP shows a skewed size of the financial sector.

The Kuwait market structure, however, shows that the financial sector plays a significantly higher role, 14% to be precise, in its share of GDP. For GCC, on a whole, finance chips in only 6% of GDP.

The current GCC capital structure shows that not only are the countries behind in terms of economic potential internationally, but also relative to the development in the region.

Identified problems with the GCC Market Structure

• High banking concentration, especially in the Saudi Arabian market structure, due to limited access for private players. Domestic and public monopoly has led to poor investment environment and restrictive policies. Gradually though, the policies are being revoked to encourage liberalization.

• The weak competition which has led to high prices, fewer varieties of financial instruments, poor services, etc.

• Stock markets in GCC have been far behind in terms of international standards with a concentration on the largest sector in Saudi Arabia. The stockmarket plays a major role in Saudi Arabia capital structure, contributing to 61% of the total domestic financial asset.

• Since it is easy to earn money from government projects, individual entrepreneurship is not supported and financial institutions do not play their part in allocating venture capital and risk.

Final word

Though the liberalization and privatization of the GCC market structure are already under way, the GCC region still has to go a long way. Based on an IMF report, they should focus on the following financial sector reforms:

• Strengthen demand and supply
• Reduce government participation and open up to foreign competition
• Enhance the bank regulatory and supervisory framework
• Develop efficient and effective capital instruments for financing

Export Business in African Countries

For any country, exporting goods internationally is likely to improve its economic condition. However, in the nations, where people have hardly any access to basic services, it seems an irony to export goods to other locations. On second thoughts, people who are struggling to combat poverty in several under developed countries cannot help much but sell their commodities and strengthen their financial condition to some extent.

Export business in African continent

African nations are engrossed with the same plight at present, where exporting business has become an unavoidable necessity. Despite the hardships, they face in absence of ample food products, and other daily use items they have to export commodities to other countries for survival. On the brighter side, several trade agreements have helped African countries to improve their economic condition appreciably with export business. Implementation of African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has been an effective step in this regard and has paved way for trade between U.S and Africa.

AGOA has diversified African exports appreciably and simultaneously it has enhanced the business environments in many African nations. At present, thirty-nine African countries from the Sub-Sahara region qualify to gain form AGOA benefits, where they get opportunity to do trade with non-African nations. Several foreign agencies like USAID also provides apt funding to support several African Regional Trade Hubs.

Keeping up with the trend to benefit the economically weaker sections of Africa, the European Union also contributes significantly. The EU buys 40% of agricultural exports from Sub-Saharan Africa, which includes many commodities such as tea, coffee, vegetables, citrus fruits, and so on. In the past decade, the trade has almost increased to two fold, with the exporting business between Africa and EU having an upper hand over the trade between African nations themselves.

Imports to Africa

Thankfully, African countries do not confine themselves to exporting goods to other locations in the contemporary times. Instead, they expect business from several non-African nations that eye growth possibilities in this continent in various sectors. Just to cite an example, most of the developing nations withstand the pressure to increase the yields in their farms in order to intensify and sustain production.

The scope for them is wide open to supply light machinery and fertilizer to various African economies. The demand for semi-durable goods has also soared in the dynamic markets of the African continent, especially among the rapidly growing middle class segments. This in turn makes way for foreign countries to supply the intended goods and ensure good financial returns.

Overall, the state of African nations is more or less heading toward attaining a steady state. However, there is still a lot to do to improve the economic condition of the African nations. Notably, the Sub-Saharan Africa alone reels under an excessive poverty pressure, where above 800 million of population earns below $1.25 per day.

The Real Cost of Accurate IP Translations

For companies aspiring for global business, investing in accurate quality translations can potentially increase global IP protection and revenue, while reducing the overall cost of patent ownership.

With substantial growth in global patent activity, to and from Asian language markets, translation errors in patent applications have become more common.

Companies of all sizes and value the need to file patents in multiple jurisdictions to protect their IP, in the view of resulting global revenue these patents generate. When it comes to getting the quality translations of necessary documentation to file the patent in multiple foreign jurisdictions, many filers get the shock of life by the excessive costs and fear that this expense will likely to limit the scope of their filing strategy.

With more and more companies filing for patents globally, as per World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the most patent applications are received for China, the United States and Japan. These countries are also home to the three languages recently reported as having the most patent errors related to translation.

How translation errors impact the cost of patents for companies? The cost of translation errors comes from:

• Long Wait for a patent to be granted due to office actions
• The hidden risk of an unenforceable patent
• Unexpected internal and external costs,
• Limiting the number of patents filed due to unexpected internal and external costs that exceed budget

And, this is a real problem which all companies face. Having accurate translations is imperative to limit the cost of accurate translations.

Need for Transition to a Streamlined Translation Model

The solution to this is developing a new model for defining and producing quality IP translations. A model that enables patent filers to better manage and reduce the overall cost of their patent portfolio, while improving scientific and legal accuracy as well.

A centralized and streamlined process for patent translation can be adopted, by both legal teams and patent translation service providers for ensuring quality and efficiency in patent translations. In this approach, the patent translation is managed by a translation company, with global operations centralized by use of technology solutions. This is performed at the beginning of the application process. This has several benefits:

• This allows law firms and foreign agents to focus on legal work only.
• Clients get quality translations from highly skilled and certified translators who are not only highly skilled in language, but also have technical expertise in the client’s field of business.
• Clients are benefited from technology solutions that improve translation process, quality and security of their documents, and create efficiency over time with terminology management and translation memories.

Document Translation Services

Document translation services includes quality and accurate IP translations. After incorporating the best streamlined model for IP translations, the results of translation process and quality will show sign of:

• The elimination of translation and clarity-related office actions for clients
• Time advantage by achieving double the goal
• The company’s total cost of patent ownership to be reduced by almost 30 percent

When you truly categorize and account for the real benefits, the costs of IP translations, as mentioned above, a streamlined model for translation makes the most sense for you regardless of your any size company.