Issue  No. 250
01 November 2019

This report is designed to give you a snapshot about the MENA region tackling multiple issues:


       60.21 USD         1,510 USD


Economic Outlook
  • Egypt annual headline inflation rate dropped for the fourth consecutive month to 4.3% in September 2019 compared to 7.5% in August 2019, its lowest recording in nearly seven years.
  • Feasibility studies for Egypt digital currency are expected to be completed next year by the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE). It is still not clear whether the proposed currency would be used only in inter-bank transactions or made available for public use.
  • US Fed Chairman Jay Powell indicated at the post-meeting presser that the so-called "mid-cycle adjustment" was now at an end, meaning that the bank would not make a fourth cut at its December meeting.
  • According to JPMorgan, Saudi Arabia is predicted to become one of the top regional and global business hubs, with the investment bank noting that its business in the Kingdom is growing faster than in any other region in the world.
  • Saudi Arabia nominal GDP will grow by 0.9% in 2019/2020, noting that the country's real GDP increased by 1.1% in H1-2019 which reflects the progress achieved in the economy. The non-oil economy increased by 2.5% in H1-2019, adding that its growth will continue to accelerate.
  • Saudi Arabia expects its budget deficit to widen to 187 BN SAR (49.86 BN USD), or 6.5% of GDP in 2020, compared to 131 BN SAR (34.95 BN USD) by the end of 2019, or 4.7% of GDP, as lower oil prices hit revenues.
  • Real estate transactions have recorded 4.2 BN AED (1.14 BN USD) in Sharjah in Q3-2019, while the total areas covered in the "sales transactions" in the emirate reached 9.5 million feet.
  • Fitch affirmed Abu Dhabi Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) rating at 'AA' with a stable outlook. The rating reflects the emirate's strong fiscal and external metrics and high GDP per capita, balanced by high dependence on hydrocarbons.
  • The value of non-oil foreign merchandise trade through Abu Dhabi ports stood at 136.3 BN AED (37.2 BN USD) during the first eight month of 2019. The eight months witnessed a 15.6% decrease in imports to 64.4 BN AED (17.5 BN USD), while the value of re-exports increased by 9.7% in the same period.
  • Qatar, Kuwait and UAE Central Banks cut its key interest rates by 25 basis points, following a decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve to cut borrowing costs for the third time in 2019.
Political Events
  • Egypt Ministry of Interior has called on everyone with four wheels to head to the nearest moroor as soon as possible to get their new electronic car stickers. The stickers are attached to the windshield and include an RFID transponder that allows authorities to snag your details if you run a red and to read vehicle license information from a distance.
  • Sultan Al-Mansoori, Minister of Economy of UAE, announced that coordination is under way between Saudi Arabia and UAE to issue a joint visa between the two countries so as to enable visitors to UAE to visit Saudi Arabia and vice versa.
Major Companies Transaction
  • Egyptian healthtech startup TakeStep will be one of five African healthcare companies to exhibit at next month's Web Summit 2019 in Lisbon. TakeStep is a tech play focused on substance addiction with a web platform provides fast access to psychiatric help and monitors the patient's progress to prevent relapse.
  • Leading snack food maker Edita's net profit increased 19.2% y-o-y in Q3-2019 reaching 106.6 MM EGP while its revenues reached 1.09 BN EGP, up 7% y-o-y. Edita is having a new factory in Morocco, which is expected to finish before the end of 2019.
  • Egypt Ministry of Finance has selected five international banks to advise on an upcoming USD-denominated bond issuance on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange, naming Citibank, JPMorgan, BNP Paribas, Natixis and Standard Chartered.
  • Elsewedy Electric signed a new 365 MM EGP contract with the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) to develop the electromechanical works for tunneling 8km high voltage cables connecting three substations in the new administrative capital.
  • Heliopolis Housing and Development (HHD) is planning to sale a 10% stake on offer which is a part of a wider plan to offer for sale a 25% stake in the company. HHD is also planning to re-auctioning 50 acres of land plots in Shorouk City which can be used for residential, administrative, or commercial purposes.
  • Raya Holding signed its first securitized bond issuance for its subsidiaries, Raya Electronics, Aman Financial Services, and Aman Microfinance, worth 500 MM EGP. Raya plans to expand in Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Dubai, and Poland without disclosing the sectors.
  • Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) leaders signed three MoU with international partners through the company's national initiative, Nusaned, at the third annual Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh.
  • Arriyadh Development Company has reported a 19.6% y-o-y profit decline in Q3-2019 reaching 40.9 MM SAR (10.9 MM USD) compared to 50.9 MM SAR (13.5 MM USD) in Q3-2020.
  • Union Coop, reported a 16% growth in net profit in Q3-2019 reaching 386.6 MM AED (105.2 MM USD) compared to 332.3 MM AED (90.4 MM USD) in Q3-2018 which is an increase of 54.3 MM AED (14.7 MM USD).
  • Qatar Commercial Bank, the country's third-largest bank by assets, is still looking to sell its 40% stake in Abu Dhabi-listed United Arab Bank (UAB). Commercial Bank continued to classify its shares in UAB as an "asset held for sale".
  • Boubyan Bank has successfully rolled out its Digital Assistant (Msa3ed) with WhatsApp Business API in Kuwait. This was achieved in collaboration with Infobip as a part of the bank's constant efforts towards providing excellent services and a unique banking experience to customers.

Sports and Culture
  • Egypt Nour El Sherbini and Karim Abdel Gawad claim trophies in front of pyramids with the CIB PSA Women's World Championship and CIB Egyptian Squash Open trophy 2019/2020. El Sherbini is the first person to win a World Championship trophy in front of the Pyramids. Also, Gawad became the first man in a decade to win a trophy in front of the Pyramids when he beat Farag and joined El Sherbini in qualifying for the World Tour Finals.
  • His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has launched a national project to create and design UAE nation brand. His Highness called on 49 Emirati artists, seven from each emirate, to participate in designing the UAE nation brand logo to share the country's inspiring story with the world.
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