The combined assets of UAE banks gained nearly Dh38 billion in the first two months of 2012 to maintain their position as having the largest bank asset base in the Middle East, according to the Central Bank. Deposits with the country’s 23 national banks and 28 foreign units also soared by nearly Dh40 billion but lending remains weak, with credit rising by just Dhone billion in the same period, the Central Bank said in new figures. From around Dh1,662 billion at the end of December 2011, total assets of the 51 banks swelled to nearly Dh1,700.2 billion at the end of February. The increase meant that UAE banks still control the largest assets in the region after overtaking Saudi banks five years ago. The combined assets of Saudi Arabia’s 12 commercial banks stood at around Dh1,600 billion at the end of February, according to the Saudi central bank. The report showed deposits with the UAE banks jumped to nearly Dh1,109.8 billion at the end of February from Dh1,069.7 billion at the end of 2011. But loans edged up by only around Dhone billion to Dh1,072.3 billion from Dh1,071 billion in the same period, the figures showed. The monthly report on the country’s monetary aggregates showed money supply M0 (currency in circulation +currency at banks) grew by around1.5 per cent from Dh52.3 billion at the end of January to Dh 53.1 billion at the end of February. Money supply M1 (currency in circulation plus monetary deposits, i.e., current accounts and call accounts at banks) increased by 1.6 per cent, from Dh272 billion to Dh 276.3 billion in the same period. Money supply M2, covering M1 and quasi-monetary deposits (resident time and savings deposits in Dirhams, commercial prepayments in Dirhams and resident deposits in foreign currencies), rose by about 2.5 per cent from Dh835.6 billion at the to Dh 856.3 billion, the report showed. Money supply M3 (M2 plus government deposits at banks and the Central Bank) increased by 2.7 per cent from Dh1,008.6 billion to Dh 1,036.2 billion.