Issue  No. 241
02 September 2019

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


       60.43 USD         1,520 USD


Economic Outlook
  • Credit rating agency Moody's has maintained Egypt rating at B2 with a stable outlook. The affordability of Egypt debt will "remain very weak" and its financing needs "very large"; between 30-40% of annual GDP in the coming years.
  • Suez Canal revenues decreased to 49.1 BN EGP (2.98 BN USD) in H1-2019, down 1.4% y-o-y compared to 49.8 BN EGP (3.02 BN USD) in H1-2018. Revenues in June 2019 reached 7.8 BN EGP (472.6 MM USD), down 10.3% y-o-y compared to 8.7 BN EGP (527.2 MM USD) in June 2018.
  • Egyptian 10-year bonds are an "extremely attractive" option for investors looking for higher yields and duration return as the country begins to cut its short-term interest rates.
  • UAE Central Bank has announced that gross bank assets, including bankers' acceptances, increased by 0.6% reaching 2.97 BN AED (810 MM USD) in July 2019 compared to 2.95 BN AED (805 MM USD) in June 2019.
  • A joint working team has been formed to reinforce the strategic partnership between UAE and Saudi Arabia in the housing sector by providing a unified housing services and launch joint projects, as part of the work of the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council.
  • The trade surplus of Saudi Arabia decreased in H1-2019 by 6.1% reaching 251.49 BN SAR (67 BN USD) compared to 267.93 BN SAR (71.4 BN USD) in H1-2018 affected by the volume of trade in June 2019.
  • In Saudi Arabia, the employees in the real estate activities recorded 36,152 in Q1-2019 of whom 26,287 were expatriates representing about 72.8% and 9,865 Saudis at the ratio of 27.2%.
  • The Kuwaiti government has signed six maintenance contracts a total of 14.35 MM KWD (47 MM USD) since the beginning of 2019. Each of these contracts carries an execution period of 36 months.
Political Events
  • Russia provision of nuclear technology to countries throughout Africa, part of efforts to shore up its influence in the continent, has attracted criticism for being unsuitable and unlikely to benefit the continent's poorest people.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump will host Kuwait ruling emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, at the White House on September 12 to discuss regional developments, bilateral security cooperation, and counter terrorism issues.
Major Companies Transaction
  • Mass transport app Swvl will move its headquarters from Egypt to Dubai by November 2019. The company, recently valued at 157 MM USD, already has a team in place in Dubai, and has listed a vacancy for the role of global market launcher on its website.
  • Equitativa, the largest Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) manager in the GCC and manager of Emirates REIT is looking at investing up to 54.4 MM USD (200 MM AED) in new real estate acquisitions in several sectors for Emirates REIT by early 2020.
  • Abu Dhabi General Services Company (Musanada) has revealed that 89% of the 4.4 BN AED (1.2 BN USD) New Al Ain Hospital project, being executed in collaboration with Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha), is now complete.
  • Alexandria Mineral Oils Company's (AMOC) net profits fell 69.7% y-o-y to 450 MM EGP (27.1 MM USD) in 2018/2019 due to increased sales costs. Company revenues were up 4.5% y-o-y to 14.66 BN EGP (885.3 MM USD).
  • Orascom Construction profits drop 38% y-o-y in Q2-2019 to 31.3 MM USD, compared to 50.6 MM USD in Q2-2018. The company managed to reduce its debt at the end of Q2-2019, returning to a net cash position of 69.2 MM USD, compared to a net debt position of 78.6 MM USD at the end of Q1-2019.
  • Egyptian fintech startup NowPay has raised 600,000 USD in seed funding from Silicon Valley's Endure Capital and 500 Startups. The startup helps corporate employees in emerging markets access their salaries and manage their finances through the app.
  • Egypt National Authority for Military Production signed a cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia Newton to establish a new joint stock company to market products of military production companies abroad.
  • Saudi Chemical Company's pharmaceutical sector has received 180 MM SAR (47.9 MM USD) investments noting that the increase in the company's capital will be funded by provisions and retained profits. The company's net profit after zakat and tax grew 11.15% y-o-y to 30.9 MM SAR (8.2 MM USD) in Q2-2019.
  • Omani Qatari Telecommunications Company (Ooredoo Oman) announced that its major shareholder Ooredoo QPSC has executed a share transfer of its shareholding in Ooredoo Oman.
  • Kuwait Airways plans to spend about 2.5 BN USD on 28 new aircraft due to be delivered by 2026. The planes will be financed with bank debt, the airline's own capital and through the sale and re-leasing of the carrier's planes.

Sports and Culture
  • Egypt delegation in Rabat-held African Games has broken the records regarding the number of the medals obtain, as they won a total of 273 medals, including 102 gold, 98 silver and 73 bronze. Noting that there are two Egyptian tennis players won gold medals; Mayar Sherif and Mohamed Safwat and are now set to make history as the first Olympic tennis competitors from Egypt.
  • Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly scored a goal into his own net to hand Juventus a 4-3 victory after the visitors had fought back from three goals down. Goals from Danilo, Gonzalo Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo gave the Italian champions a 3-0 lead with less than half an hour remaining.
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