Issue  No. 190
03 September 2018

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


       77.42 USD         1,200 USD


Economic Outlook
  • Egypt got the approval of a 500 MM USD loan from the World Bank Group's International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), to go towards the five-year supporting Egypt Education Reform project, which aims to modernize the public-school system.
  • The Central Bank of Egypt announced that remittances from Egyptians abroad increased 21.1% to 26.5 BN USD in 2017/2018 compared to 21.9 BN USD in 2016/2017. Egyptian expats' remittances recorded 7 BN USD from April to June 2017/2018 compared to 6 BN USD during the same period in 2016/2017.
  • Egypt M2 money supply grew by 17.84% y-o-y in July 2018 compared to 18.49% in June 2018. The money supply at the end of July stood at 3.47 TR EGP (194.40 BN USD).
  • International ratings agency Moody's has raised its outlook on the Egyptian government long-term issuer status to positive from stable because it became more positive about the economy than before, due to the recent development in the government's balance sheet and trade balance. For the first time, Egypt economy achieved primary surplus after 15 years by 0.2%, worth 4 MM EGP (223 MM USD), in its 2017/2018.
  • Egypt cotton exports increased 6.9% in Q3 of the agricultural season of 2017/2018. Total cotton exports amounted to 160,100 metric quintals in Q2-2018, compared to 149,700 metric quintals in Q3-2016/2017. The drop in Egyptian cotton consumption was mainly driven by textile factories' tendency to use imported cotton.
  • The sales of agricultural supply centers of the Abu Dhabi Farmers' Service Centre (ADFSC), jumped by 22.6% in H1-2018 reaching 3.6 MM AED (980.125 USD) compared to 2.89 MM AED (786.822 USD) in H1-2017. This was due to the demand from farmers to purchase seeds and fertilizers, which accounted for the large rate of sales.
  • UAE government announced that it would issue 10-year visas for professionals and investors and will also allow 100% foreign ownership in mainland companies as part of reforms to attract the best talent available in the world and also to lure foreign direct investment into the country. It is expected that the new reforms will be focused on those professions and industries that meet the UAE strategic needs.
  • A recent volatility in the price of the Indian rupee proved to be an advantage for the Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange (DGCX), which witnessed its highest ever one-day volume of trading in futures contracts for the currency. Almost 126,055 contracts totaling 4.17 BN USD were traded on the Indian rupee (INR) on 13th of August 2018, leading to a 45% increase in volumes for the year-to-date.
  • Saudi Arabia reserves decreased by 7% y-o-y in July 2018. Reserves also slipped 0.01% compared to its level in June 2018, as it reached 573.67 BN SAR. The Saudi government current account amounted to 24.1 BN SAR in July 2018, compared to 32.5 BN SAR in July 2017.
  • Foreign remittances by expats working in Saudi Arabia increased by 7.3% y-o-y in July 2018 reaching 12.2 BN SAR (3.2 BN USD), compared to 11.3 BN SAR in July 2017.Remittances also increased by 14.8% compared to June 2018, as it recorded 10.2 BN SAR (2.7 BN USD).
  • In Kuwait, the Inflation continued to ease in Q2-2018, registering 0.5% y-o-y in June 2018, a slight drop from the 0.6% recorded in March 2018. Inflation has been trending lower since late 2016, when it reached a peak of 3.8%. The main drivers are the housing sector in addition to low food and beverage inflation.
  • The Manpower and Government Restructuring Program (MGRP) is carrying out distinguished efforts towards increasing the percentage of employing Kuwaitis and limiting future unemployment. The program employs efforts towards achieving the targeted increase in Kuwaiti labor percentage in the private sector by making 17,000 job opportunities available soon.
  • The value of loans from Chinese lenders to energy and infrastructure projects in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) increased between 2014 and 2017, from 300 MM USD to 8.8 BN USD, with policy lenders China Development Bank and China Exim particularly active in helping bridge the MEA infrastructure gap.
Political Events
  • Kuwait Wataniya Airways has come under fire from the country's aviation authority following recurring delays and cancellation of flights. The Kuwaiti Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has warned the airline that its permit may be suspended for three months, starting from September 6, if it fails to fulfil its duties properly. The warnings came after a number of airline passengers were left stuck in Istanbul, Baku, and Sarajevo over lack of flights.
  • Egypt Minister of transportation, Khaled Fouda, has officially opened Taba land port after it was redeveloped over an area of 27,000 square meters, with a total cost of 49 MM EGP. Redevelopment works included the port infrastructure, administrative buildings, and fire systems. The port will be the eastern gateway to Egypt top touristic spots, such as Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab, and Nuweiba.
  • The new Ethiopian ambassador, Azanaw Tadessea, arrived from the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to Egypt. Tadessea will start submitting his papers to the Egyptian Foreign Ministry in preparation for assuming his duties, replacing former ambassador Taye Atske-Selassie Amde. The former Ethiopian ambassador will serve as Ethiopia representative to the United Nations in New York.
  • Insurance companies have announced that only 45% of the cars in Saudi Arabia are insured despite the new car insurance policies. The new insurance policy will hardly affect insurance rates and its market. The new policy was drafted to rectify some of the mistakes in the old policy.
  • Yemeni demonstrators protesting against Yemen deteriorating economic situation and weakening currency. They blocked major roads and burned tires in the southern city of Aden. The Yemeni rial has lost more than half its value against the US dollar since the start of a civil war in 2015 between the internationally recognized government, based in the south and backed by Saudi Arabia, and the Iran-aligned Houthi movement which controls the north including the capital Sanaa.
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Major Companies Transaction
  • Orascom Construction reported a 113% y-o-y hike in net profit Q2-2018, recording 50.6 MM USD (907.35 MM EGP). Moreover, the revenues declined to 750.1 MM USD (13.3 BN EGP) in Q2-2018 compared to 947.2 MM USD (17.8 BN EGP) in Q2-2017. The global engineering and construction contractor's consolidated profit reached 87 MM USD (1.5 BN EGP) in H1-2018, compared to 58.8 MM USD (1 BN EGP) in H1-2017.
  • Eighty-five local companies aim to implement the services of the solar energy projects in Benban Aswan after the registration of their data and getting approvals to work in the projects by Hassan Allam company, which is responsible for managing services at the projects' location. Around 33 companies, among 85 are owned by the people of Benban. If the cost of the service exceeded 100,000 EGP, the services would be launched in a tender for all companies.
  • Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) launched a commercial license for technology startups at a nominal cost of 700 USD (2,570 AED), inviting entrepreneurs to raise funds and later list those startups on the financial exchange. The new license is highly flexible, offers four residential visas and meets the requirement for a registered address.
  • Dana Gas cash flows amounted to 2.25 BN AED in H1-2018 due to an improvement in sales prices. It is expected that the firm will continue its good performance in H2-2018 until 2019. Also, the company allocated about 367.5 MM AED to repurchase more sukuk in the coming nine months.
  • Lebanon-based engineering company Sets has been awarded a major contract by Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF) to provide traffic and transport consultancy services for the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) project in Riyadh. The scope of work includes the preparation of a baseline traffic impact study for the original master plan and an updated traffic impact study to support the delivery of a new master plan for the project.
  • The Saudi Industrial Property Authority (MODON) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Women and Children Social Commission to boost cooperation, increase efficiency, promote women's participation in the labor market, and empower them to find suitable job opportunities in industrial cities.
  • Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB), announced the launch of a new salary transfer promotional campaign, "Free for One Year", offering customers up to 12 months profit free financing when they transfer their liabilities to QIB. Customers opening new salary accounts with QIB until end of December, will also receive Absher points equivalent to their salaries, which will be redeemable online for any airline bookings, global hotels & car rental, thousands of electronic products, and other products and services.
  • Vodafone Qatar has launched its 5G network to be the first telecom operator in the GCC country to deploy the latest data technology evolution on its network. The new service involves speed internet, providing a shorter time for streaming data between two points.
  • Kuwait-based telecommunications group Zain got the approval of a five-year, 700 MM USD revolving credit facility with several regional and international banks. The new facility refinances an 800 MM USD revolving syndicated loan completed in 2014 and will be used for general corporate purposes. Arab Banking Corporation, MUFG Bank Ltd, Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Citibank, Natixis and Union National Bank acted as joint mandated lead arrangers.
Sports and Culture
  • Amjad Al-Amari made history in Jeddah when she won the first karting championship for women by receiving a Petromin trophy and a cash prize of 5,000 SAR (1,350 USD). The Petromin championship aims to encourage women's participation in motorsports by giving them an outlet to new experiences in Saudi Arabia. The 22-year-old won the race after overtaking her closest rival in the 5th lap.
  • UAE-based developer Miral has partnered with Microsoft for an ambitious digital-transformation project to create a seamlessly connected destination of world-class theme parks and attractions on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. Miral vision is to transform Yas Island into a globally recognized wall-less destination, increasing annual footfall to 48 million visitors by 2022.
  • A team of doctors at the King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah has won international recognition for their work on a new medical device that helps patients avoid surgery. They developed a "KAU rasping tool," an instrument that sculpts the cartilage of the body without the need for surgical intervention.
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Cairo Office:
Z epter Office Building  S5-6 ,  Area 5, District 1, 5th Settlement,  New Cairo, Egypt.  P.O. Box:  1147
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Office No. N 415, North Tower, Emirates Financial Towers, DIFC, P.O Box 506726, Dubai, UAE.
Tel:  +97142820301

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