DUBAI - A unit of Standard Chartered cut more than 100 jobs in its retail business in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) last month, sources familiar with the matter said.

Banks in the Gulf country are increasing digital banking operations and outsourcing back-office work to low-cost locations such as India.

Standard Chartered did not confirm the job cuts, but said in an email: "We are continuously reviewing our businesses and accelerating our shift towards digital and consumer preference."

A sluggish economy and a downturn in the real estate sector have also weighed, prompting rating agency Fitch to warn about risks to the asset quality of banks in the country.

UAE was cited as a low-return market by Standard Chartered in its 2018 annual report.

Standard Chartered's operating income in the UAE in 2018 fell to $637 million from $733 million in 2017, the report said.

(Reporting by Saeed Azhar and Sylvia Westall; additional reporting by Lawrence White in London and Hadeel Al Sayegh in Dubai) ((; +971 44536787; Reuters Messaging: