Thain added that although he sees the Gulf as a long-term growth region for the bank, there is “no question that over the short term, these economies will slow”.
He said the theory that the Middle East economy was decoupled from the rest of the world was now discredited.
“Energy-producing countries will be somewhat protected from the global economic slowdown but world demand for oil is going to slow and that is resulting in the huge declines in the oil price,” says Thain.
He added that the global financial system would take “multiple years to recover” from the current crash.
Thain was in Dubai on 20 October as part of a regional tour to meet government figures and regulators in Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.