UAE banks provided 16.5 billion dirhams ($4.49 billion) in loans to the country’s industrial and businesses sectors in the first three months of 2020, a period that includes the initial stages of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report from state news agency WAM.
The new loans bring sectors’ total credit facilities to 818.1 billion dirhams by the end of the first three months of 2020, compared to 802.2 billion dirhams in the same period last year, according to the Central Bank of the UAE.
The central bank added that the credit facilities provided by the national banks of the UAE for the same two sectors stood at 13 billion dirhams, accounting for 79 percent of total facilities provided by all UAE-based banks to the two sectors in the first three months of 2020.
The figures only cover up to end of March, prior to the most significant steps taken by authorities to contain the virus.
The UAE has implemented several measures to combat the economic fallout of the coronavirus, with the country in widespread lockdown to prevent the viruses spread – though certain sectors and public areas are being slowly reopened.
The UAE central bank has previously urged lenders to use the liquidity and capital measures that it has put in place.
“Banks are urged to process more applications from individuals, corporates and SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises) whose business operations are affected by the implications of COVID-19 pandemic,” the central bank said last month.