Issue  No.155
25 December 2017

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


        64.73 USD         1,275 USD


Economic Outlook
  • Egypt gold holdings have declined by 0.3% in Q4, recording 76.3 tons compared to 76.6 tons last year. On the other hand, foreign reserves surged to 36.723 BN USD by the end of November, compared to 36.703 BN USD in October.
  • Egypt is set to establish two monorails, one to link the New Administrative Capital with East Cairo and downtown with length of 52 kilometers, and the other to link 6th October City with Giza with length of 35 kilometers. In addition, the project will accelerate the development of the New Administrative Capital and will meet passenger demand according to current and future development plans for the years 2020, 2030, and 2050.
  • China has raised its direct investments in Egypt by 106 MM USD representing 75% increase compared to the same period last year. It is worthy to mention that China is ranked the sixth of all source countries of investments in Egypt, compared to the ninth-place ranking in the last year.
  • Alkhabeer Capital, the Saudi asset manager specialized in alternative investments, has won the Best Islamic Investment Fund award by a leading industry publication, Islamic Business & Finance, a member of the CPI Financial publishing group.
  • Saudi Arabia has more than 44 million mobile phone subscribers and an 88% rate of smartphone ownership, which is almost double the international average.
  • The total imports by the UAE from Hong Kong recorded 13.2 BN USD in the first 10 months of 2017, which made the Gulf state remaining Hong Kong's 17th largest trading partner. In addition, Hong Kong was the UAE's 17th largest import supplier. It is worthy to mention that the imports from the UAE to the Hong Kong grew at 2.5% over the last year reaching 3.3 BN USD.
  • The unemployment rate in Jordan has reached 18.5% in Q3-2017. For men, it reached 15.4%, while it recorded 30% among women. This represents an increase by 0.5% compared to Q2-2017.
  • Kuwait Ministry of Finance does not recognize the virtual currency 'Bitcoin' and forbids its trading in the Kuwaiti financial institutions. The Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Kuwait cannot punish trading because they do not recognize it, not to mention it is a virtual currency used for 'exchange' without a central authority or intermediary.
Political Events
  • Russia and Egypt have signed an agreement on cooperation on civil aviation security in a first step to resuming regular Russian flights to Cairo as of February 2018. Moscow had halted civilian air traffic to Egypt in 2015 after militants detonated a bomb on a Russian Metrojet flight departing the tourist resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, killing 224 people on board. 
  • The United States has welcomed an announcement by a Saudi-led coalition to keep the Hodeidah port in Yemen open for a month and allow humanitarian aid to flow through, and condemned a Houthi bombing of a palace in Saudi Arabia. 
  • Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will visit Britain in 2018. The Prime Minister looked forward to welcoming the Crown Prince to the UK in the New Year.
  • Saudi air defenses shot down a ballistic missile fired by Yemen's Houthi group towards Riyadh last Tuesday.
  • King Salman has welcomed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Riyadh. The king reaffirmed Saudi Arabia's support for the Palestinian cause, and the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to establish an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Major Companies Transaction
  • The Emirati LuLu Group has further expanded its presence in Saudi Arabia by opening its 11th Hypermarket in the Kingdom. The new Hypermarket is also the second outlet in Jeddah.
  • Flydubai has sealed the deal on the largest single-aisle jet order in Middle East history with the purchase of 175 737 MAX airplanes from Boeing. Currently valued at 27 BN USD, the deal includes options for the budget carrier, which is an all-Boeing operator, to purchase a further 50 737 MAX jets.
    The model is the best-selling airplane in 
    Boeing history, with 640 orders so far this year.
  • Italy's Piaggio Aerospace has stated last Thursday that its Abu Dhabi owner, sovereign wealth fund Mubadala, would inject 255 MM EUR (303 MM USD) in the company, as part of the group's five-year plan. 
  • Azizi Developments, one of the fastest growing developers in the UAE, will be investing 9.1 BN AED (2.5 BN USD) across its operations in the country next year, significantly higher than its investments in 2017.
Sports and Culture
  • Veteran Lebanese soprano Majida El-Roumy will perform in a ladies-only concert in Riyadh on 28th of December. The event will be held at the Conference and Convention Center of Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University.
  • Dubai Safari, home to the most diverse array of animals in the country, has announced that since opening its doors to the public last week, the number of visitors to the park has crossed the 100,000 visitors.
Cairo Office:
Z epter Office Building  S5-6 ,  Area 5, District 1, 5th Settlement,  New Cairo, Egypt.  P.O. Box:  1147
Dubai Office:
Office No. N 415, North Tower, Emirates Financial Towers, DIFC, P.O Box 506726, Dubai, UAE.
Tel:  +97142820301

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