Issue  No.78
13 June 2016

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


        50.58  USD          1,283  USD


    Economic Outlook
  • Egypt has signed a cooperation agreement worth 174 MM USD loans with Germany. Egypt will pay 2% interest rate over 30 years. The loan will be used to finance sectors of renewable energy, climate change, environment, SMEs, and vocational training which is expected to create more job opportunities in the country.
  • As an attempt to decrease the cost of borrowing, Iraq's Minister of Finance is anticipating the sale of 2 BN USD Eurobonds in Q4-2016, this was a result of the drop in oil prices and the reduction in its revenue which represents 95% of government income. Accordingly, the government sought international support and 600 MM USD are expected to be financed by the International Monetary Fund.
  • Agriculture sector in Jordan witnessed a 24% decrease in exports of fruits and vegetables in the first four months in 2016, as a result of the shutdown of the biggest Jordanian markets namely Syria and Iraq which consumed around two-third of Jordan's vegetable produce. Jordan's Agriculture Ministry is attempting to solve the congestion in Jordanian markets though facilitating selling fruits and vegetables to Russia.
  • The annual Urban Consumer Price Inflation in Egypt increased in May to 12.3% compared to 10.3% in April. This was a result of Central Bank's devaluation of the Egyptian pound by 13% and increasing interest rate. Moreover, the core inflation also increased to 12.23% in May compared to 9.51% in April.
  • GCC countries are launching 17 million jobs for expat workers as well as providing more job opportunities for women as a way to fight poverty. The countries also plan to join UN 2030 program to decrease poverty. GCC recorded that around 80 BN USD is sent from GCC by non-citizen workers to their home counties.
  • According to Byblos Bank's Real Estate Demand Index, demand for properties in Lebanon has decreased by more than 12% in Q1-2016 compared to Q4-2015. The reasons behind the drop in demand are the war in Syria, the political uncertainties, and the economic slowdown. It is also worth mentioning that most of the foreign direct investments in Lebanon were related to real estate sector.
  • The World Bank forecasted that the UAE and the rest of GCC region will continue to experience economic pressure due to the drop in oil prices as well as tightened fiscal and monetary policies. The World Bank forecasted that the UAE growth in 2016 will be 2% compared to last year's GDP of 3.4%.
  • The Central Bank of Morocco announces that it is aiming to introduce a flexible exchange rate system instead of the current fixed exchange rate system early 2017. In a previous attempt to offer greater flexibility, the Central Bank of Morocco decreased the euro's weight in the currency basket to 60 % from 80%, and increased the weight of the dollar to 40% from 20%.
  • Addressing members of the World Trade Organization in Geneva, the UAE announced that it is working on a new foreign investment law that will allow full or partial ownership of foreign investments in sectors that enhance economic diversification.
  • Saudi Arabia is planning to loosen the mechanism of issuing visas to investors by reducing the country's visa requirements in order to attract more investors and foreign capital and to diversify the economy.
  • The Omani government sold 2.5 BN USD of bonds in an attempt to finance its budget deficit that resulted from the drop in oil prices. This was the first issuance for Oman in the international debt market since 1997. 
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