S&P has pointed out three key risks that face GCC banks in the coming year—difficult operating environment, a higher cost of risk, and lower liquidity. However, most GCC banks are believed to have sufficient capital buffers to remain resilient to their weakened operating environment. The weak economic environment will continue weighing on the financial profiles of banks in the GCC countries in 2017 and 2018, said S&P Global Ratings in a recent report. The end of the commodities super-cycle has resulted in a significant decline in the economic prospects of the GCC region, implying lower growth opportunities for its banking systems and deteriorating liquidity and the end of the commodities boom has also increased the pressure on GCC banks' asset quality and profitability indicators. “Although we expect to see further weakening in some of these indicators in 2017-2018, we think that GCC banks have built sufficient buffers to make the overall impact on their financial profiles manageable,” said S&P global Ratings credit analyst Mohamed Damak.