Issue  No.173
30  April 2018

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


       73.06 USD         1,327 USD


Economic Outlook
  • The petroleum Egyptian minister Tarek El Molla, aims that foreign investment in the oil and gas sector will reach 10 BN USD in the fiscal year 2018/2019, marking a 25% increase compared to last year. The 25% gain comes as a result of foreign companies investing in major gas projects in the Mediterranean. It is worthy to mention that Egypt wishes to increase its gas production from newly discovered fields, which include the mammoth Zohr asset.
  • The Egyptian Trade Minister, Tarek Kabil, clarified that the trade budget deficit improved by 2%, due to the increase in exports of Egypt chemicals, fertilizers and clothes manufacturing sectors. Non-oil exports in Q1-2018 had increased by 15% reaching 6.324 BN USD compared to 2017.
  • Dubai real estate sector is now ready for new investments, after a turbulent few years during which the price of property dipped and rents experienced a readjustment. The Emirate property market has gone through a period of re-evaluation in the recent years.
  • Kuwait Energy PLC started producing natural gas from Siba, the first gas field to be brought on stream in the south of Iraq. Siba began producing gas at an initial rate of 25 million cubic feet (mcf) a day, which should rise gradually to 100 mcf/d by the end of the year. Iraq expects by 2021 to end gas burning, which costs nearly 2.5 BN USD in lost revenue for the government and would be sufficient to meet most of its unmet needs for gas-based power generation.
  • In Kuwait, the Public Authority for Housing Welfare (PAHW) clarified that the cost of new housing projects has increased in the new fiscal year to 916.6 MM KWD compared to 911.3 MM KWD last year, with a difference of over 5 MM KWD. The budget will include 28 main projects including public facility buildings, road projects, various amenities, housing plots and services.
  • Bahrain national origin exports in Q1-2018 amounted to 538 MM BHD, decreasing by 9% comparing to 594 MM BHD for the same period last year. On the other hand, the value of imports increased by 15% reaching 1.293 BN BHD in Q1-2018 compared to 1.124 BN BHD for Q1-2017.
  • In Jordan, the tax income ratio to the gross domestic product (GDP) is low when compared to other countries in the world. It stands at 15.5%, compared to 45.8% in Denmark, 28.6% in France, 22.1% in Japan and 18.2% in Turkey.
  • Algeria launched a 530 km-long gas pipe to supply its biggest southern city, Tamanrasset, with 700,000 cubic meters per day. The project has cost around 190 MM USD. Algeria produces 94 billion cubic meters of gas per year, 55 billion cubic meters of which are exported. The new gas pipeline is linked to the "In Salah" gas field.
  • Algeria value of imports of cereal, semolina and flour increased by 8.5% in Q1-2018. Algeria has been trying to reduce imports of grain and other food products to cut spending due to lower energy earnings since mid-2014. Imports bill for durum wheat, soft wheat, semolina and flour rose to 816.2 MM USD in Q1 compared to 752.5 BN USD a year earlier.
Political Events
  • After a long separation and 65 years of split, the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un and the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in met shaking hands in the Korean summit. The two leaders declared in front of the 80 million Korean people and the whole world that there will be no more war on the Korean peninsula and thus a new era of peace has begun.
  • The building site of the new Egyptian museum near Giza Pyramids has been on fire yesterday, without resulting significant damage or injuries. The firefighters were working to turn off the fire, which appeared to have consumed wooden scaffolding at the site.
  • The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Saudi Arabia, meeting the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir in Riyadh, as the United States aims to support new sanctions against Iran. Pompeo's three visits (Riyadh, Jerusalem and Amman) was arranged according to the U.S. President Donald Trump approval in order to decide whether to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal despite the heavy pressure supported by European powers.
  • Kuwait ordered the ambassador of Philippines to leave within a week and recalled its own envoy for consultations after embassy staff tried to "rescue" Filipino domestic workers. After a three-month conflict whereas several Filipinos had been driven to suicide by the abuse of Kuwaiti employers, the decision was finally taken.
  • Despite the great steps taken by the Saudi Ministry of Justice to give women more balanced rights, many Saudi women still do not have enough knowledge of their rights. Therefore, the ministry has started a campaign in cities all over the Kingdom to spread awareness among women of their legal rights.
  • Lebanon will have a first opportunity in nine years to vote in a general election on 6th of May under new rules, expected to bring some changes to parliament but will always preserve a unity government combining its main political blocs.
Major Companies Transaction
  • The National Bank of Egypt, the country's largest bank by assets, is seeking to raise 600 MM USD club loan, which will be provided most probably by international banks and some United Arab Emirates lenders with a three-year debt facility.
  • The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, ADNOC, and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, CIPD, have signed an agreement to collaborate in enhancing the capability and expertise of ADNOC Human Capital staff in support of the company's 2030 Strategy to develop a highly skilled world-class workforce.
  • Dubai Commercial Bank International (CBI) announced its financial results for Q1-2018, three-months ending 31 March 2018, the net profit has reached 40 MM AED compared to 21 MM AED in Q1-2017, while the operating profit increased by 12% reaching 103 MM AED compared to 92 MM AED in Q1-2017.
  • Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) announced its collaboration with Nasdaq Dubai to design and implement new initiatives that complement Dubai success in emerging as a leading global Sukuk-listing hub in order to boost the emirate economic growth. The cooperation will introduce retail instruments that allow individuals to invest in the Sukuk market in order to expand the investor base while providing diverse investment options.
  • Abu Dhabi Al Hilal Bank PJSC uncovered internal fraud worth more than 500 MM AED (136 MM USD). Some employees at the Abu Dhabi national Islamic lender extracted funds from inactive customer accounts. Money was then transferred from the Al Hilal accounts to fake accounts before being withdrawn. A total of 38 people were arrested last summer for the "unlawful confiscation" of 635 MM AED from a UAE bank.
  • Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), the world's fourth-biggest petrochemicals company, stated a 5.4% increase in Q1 net profit, reaching 5.51 BN SAR (1.47 BN USD) up from 5.23 BN SAR in the same period last year. The reason behind this increase is the high average selling prices and the high sold quantities.
Sports and Culture

  • AS Roma had signed a deal with Qatar Airways worth 40 MM EUR (48.92 MM USD) for three seasons, along with having the airlines as the team's official shirt sponsor until 2021. It was the largest deal ever signed by the club and one of the biggest ever agreed by an Italian team.
  • Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah scored two goals and marked two assists against his former clubAS Roma in the Champions League semi-final. Salah leads the race to win the Golden Boot for the top scorer in the league.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding have been signed between the Dubai Police and a company that specializes in smart alarm system, FogGuard, in order to introduce a new security system in the emirate. The system triggers heavy smoke when break-ins happen at commercial establishments but cannot stop the theft.
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