Qatar's Masraf Al Rayan sees 8-10 pct profit growth in 2016 - chairman

DOHA, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Qatar’s largest sharia-compliant bank Masraf Al Rayan is expected to post annual profit growth of between 8 and 10 percent in 2016, Chairman Hussain Ali al-Abdulla said at the bank’s annual general meeting on Tuesday.

Masraf Al Rayan reported last month a 3.6 percent rise in full-year net profit in 2015 to 2.07 billion riyals, although its fourth-quarter earnings dipped slightly according to Reuters calculations.

Speaking separately to reporters on the sidelines of the AGM Abdulla said the bank had no plans to issue sukuk, or sharia-compliant bonds, this year as there was no need for additional liquidity.

“In Qatar, we don’t have any problems with liquidity. The economy is small but strong and we have huge reserves,” he said.

Falling liquidity is expected to be one of the main issues facing banks in the Gulf region in 2016, as governments remove cash on deposit to help replace lost revenue from lower hydrocarbon prices.

Its impact has been cited for the cancellation of both treasury bill auctions by the central bank this year, as well as the rationale behind commercial banks approaching the central bank to discuss the possibility of reducing the repo lending rate.

Reporting by Tom Finn; Writing by David French; editing by Susan Thomas