To read this content please select one of the options below:

Impact of FDI inflows on bank loans in Gulf Cooperation Council economies: an empirical insight

Abdulazeez Y.H. Saif-Alyousfi (Department of Finance, College of Business Administration, University of Hafr Al-Batin, Hafr Al Batin, Saudi Arabia) (Department of Finance and Banking, Faculty of Administrative Sciences, Taiz University, Taiz, Yemen)

International Journal of Emerging Markets

ISSN: 1746-8809

Article publication date: 5 May 2021

Issue publication date: 24 February 2023




The purpose of this paper is to investigate and compare the impact of FDI inflows on bank loans in aggregate as well as at the level of conventional and Islamic banks in GCC countries. The paper also tests hypotheses of direct and indirect impacts of FDI inflow and FDI stock on bank loans.


The sample comprises a total of 70 banks (45 conventional and 25 Islamic banks). The period under consideration is 1995–2017. Static panel and dynamic panel GMM estimation techniques are applied.


Empirical results indicate that inflowing FDI and FDI stock have a significant negative direct impact on loans of GCC banks. The results lend support to the direct channel hypothesis for the effect of FDI on bank loans and find no evidence in support of the indirect channel hypothesis. FDI inflows affect bank loans directly via increased FDI-related liquidity, business activity or excessive competition in the banking market; they are not channeled through macro variables. Loans from conventional banks appear to be more affected than those from Islamic banks.

Practical implications

Given the attractiveness of the GCC economies to foreign investment, the potential volatility of investment-induced instability to the financial system in these economies should be on the radar of the central banks. Attracting more FDI is expected to increase overall national productivity through competition. However, government would be wise to enact a policy to maximize benefits and minimize potential harm to local industry. In addition, to achieve the goal of the new economic model, in turning the GCC economies into high-income and knowledge-driven economies by 2030, enhancement of efficiency and the quality of the workforce will contribute to creating productivity-driven economies.


It is widely recognized that FDI inflows are of great importance to the financial performance development of emerging and developing countries. However, their impact on bank loans has so far not been subject to accurate empirical assessment. This paper aims to fill this gap by providing an in-depth quantitative analysis of the impact of FDI inflow and FDI stock, separately, on bank loans for both conventional and Islamic banks in GCC countries. It distinguishes between direct and indirect channels through which FDI inflows may affect bank loans. The study uses both static and dynamic panel GMM estimation techniques to analyze the data.



Special thanks go to the anonymous referees as well as to Prof. Dr. Michael W. Hansen (Senior Editor, IJOEM) for the useful comments that significantly improved the paper.


Saif-Alyousfi, A.Y.H. (2023), "Impact of FDI inflows on bank loans in Gulf Cooperation Council economies: an empirical insight", International Journal of Emerging Markets, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 505-524.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles