Issue  No. 237
29 July 2019

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


       63.46 USD         1,418 USD


Economic Outlook
  • The European Union (EU) provides Egypt with 8.3 BN EGP (500 MM USD) funding as part of a finance strategy until 2020. Under the EU's funding plan, priority will be given to youth empowerment projects in the upcoming period.
  • Egypt economic growth is expected to slow to 5.5% in 2019/2020 which is below the 6% of the government's target, and 5.8% in 2020/2021.
  • The Export Development Fund's (EDF) board of directors approved 6 BN EGP (361 MM USD) worth export subsidies 2019/2020. Noting that the export subsidies will be allocated for each sector separately.
  • Saudi Arabia state grain buyer SAGO stated that it it will start the next phase of the sale of its flour mills on Wednesday, which will see pre-qualified bidders perform due diligence and present financial offers.
  • About 926,726 Haj pilgrims arrived in Saudi Arabia from abroad through air, land, and seaports  last Friday which represents an increase of 91,44 pilgrims (11%), compared to the number of arrivals during the same period last year.
  • Saudi Arabia General Authority for Audiovisual Media has invited investors who are interested in opening or operating cinema theaters in small cities to communicate with the authority.
  • The DIFC and the Government of Maharashtra signed an MoU entailing plans for both entities to mutually support FinTech start-ups based in their respective markets, whilst facilitating the development of their business ecosystems through collaboration and the sharing of resources.
  • Dubai came in fifth in the International Shipping Centre Development Index (ISCDI) for the second consecutive year. Singapore topped the list for 2019, with Hong Kong second and London third and Shanghai fourth.
  • Qatar real estate rental market is witnessing a noticeable weakening phase. The sales transaction volume accumulated to 9.5 BN QAR (2.6 BN USD) in value during the first five months of 2019.
  • Kuwait crude oil exports reported a 5% month-on-month decrease in May 2019 registering 1.986 million barrels per day (bpd) compared to 2.090 million bpd in April 2019. On an annual basis, Kuwait exports of oil registered a 1.68% decrease compared to 2.020 million bpd in May 2018.
Political Events
  • Tunisia lost its first democratically elected president Beji Caid Essebsi at a state funeral attended by foreign leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron and Qatar emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. Essebsi died aged 92 on last Thursday.
  • The Egyptian Ministry of Finance (MoF) has announced that, in collaboration with the Arab Organization of Industrialization, it will provide new kiosks (caravans) where real estate tax can be collected, only in seasonal places far from tax missions.
Major Companies Transaction
  • The Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum (MoP) announced that Belayim Petroleum Company (Petrobel) has affirmed a new natural gas discovery in El Qaraa area in Nile Delta. Up to 20 million cubic feet is expected to be produced daily from this discovery which is currently at its final stages of preparation.
  • Saudi Egyptian Investment & Finance revealed its financial results for the fiscal period starting January 1, 2019 and ending June 30, 2019. The company posted net profits of 14.88 MM EGP (896,331 USD) in H1-2019, compared to 13.7 MM EGP (825,251 USD) in H1-2018.
  • Saudi Fas Energy plans to launch new waste-to-energy (WtE) plants in Egypt with total investments of 4.98 BN EGP (300 MM USD). The new plants to be implemented over 5 phases, of which the first phase will cost 996 MM EGP (60 MM USD) with a total production capacity of 20MW and the projects' production will be sold to the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC).
  • A Chinese steel company is negotiating with the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) on licensing incentives to invest about 16.6 BN EGP (1 BN USD) in the Ain Sokhna area.
  • Al Hammadi Company for Development and Investment (Al Hammadi) posted its net profits after zakat and tax increased 0.4% in Q2-2019 reaching 20.01 MM SAR (5.33 MM USD) compared to 19.9 MM SAR (5.30 MM USD) in Q2-2018.
  • Saudi Aramco came 6th among the world's biggest companies, according to Fortune list for the biggest 500 companies in the world. The company generated 1. 33 TR SAR (355.9 BN USD) in revenue and achieved 415.91 BN SAR (110.9 BN USD) in profits in 2018.
  • SoftBank Group has officially announced the launch of Vision Fund 2 (VF2), an investment mega-fund aimed at the fast-growing global sectors of high technology and artificial intelligence. VF2 will be bigger than the 97 BN USD raised in the first fund, noting that Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF) discusses investment in VF2, which could reach 150 BN USD.
  • Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, which formally merged with Al Hilal Bank and Union National Bank (UNB) in 2019, reported an 11% decrease in Q2-2019 profit, as both net interest income decreased by 7% to 2.59 BN AED, while non-interest income dropped 9% to 656 MM AED.
  • Pakistan has raised 500 MM USD through an Islamic syndicated loan provided by a consortium of 12 banks. 
  • United Development Company (UDC), a leading Qatari shareholding company and the master developer of The Pearl-Qatar and Gewan Islands, has signed an agreement with QNB and the Commercial Bank to finance the development of Gewan Island project with a credit ceiling of 1.25 TR QAR (343.31 BN USD).
  • Qatar Petroleum has entered into an agreement with Eni and Total to acquire a 25% participating interest (13.75% from Eni and 11.25% from Total) in blocks L11A, L11B and L12 located offshore Kenya.

Sports and Culture
  • The Egyptian Farida Osman won the silver bronze medal for the women's 50m butterfly at the 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships held in Gwangju, South Korea. Osman finished in the 3rd place with a time of 25.47, while Sweden Sarah Sjostrom won the gold with a 25.02 and the Netherlands Ranomi Kromowidjojo won the silver medal with 25.35.
  • UAE continue to improve and move up in the world of football by climbing two places to 65th in latest Fifa rankings having a total of 1360 points. UAE are two spots ahead of World Cup regulars Saudi Arabia, who are placed 68th in the rankings. Saudi Arabia moved one spot with 1342 points.
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