Issue  No. 255
12 December 2019

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


       64.39 USD         1,463 USD


Economic Outlook
  • Saudi Arabia and Russia spearheaded a deal on Friday that will see the OPEC+ group of oil producers commit to some of the sector's deepest output cuts aiming to avoid oversupply and support prices.The figures include an extra 500,000 bpd in cuts to take the OPEC+ target 1.7 million bpd, or 1.7% of global demand.Saudi with OPEC peers and allies led by Russia backed a plan that could see cuts amounted to 2.1 million bpd. Brent oil increased by 2% to more than 64 USD a barrel after the announcement.
  • Saudi Arabia Ministry of Commerce and Investment has given the go-ahead for the electronic service "Your QR Code", which is expected to increase the credibility of commercial establishments by providing information related to the commercial register and related government authorities.
  • It is expected that the EGP will remain relatively stable in 2020, anticipating "limited volatility" within the 15.9-16 EGP/ 1 USD range, according to the Central Bank of Egypt. This forecast is underpinned by expectations that consumer spending will recover, while CAPEX borrowing will see a "slight recovery" and Egypt oil trade balance will improve by 2020.
  • The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) will sell on Monday 1 BN USD in 1-year USD-denominated t-bills. The bills will be issued on Tuesday, 10 December and will mature on 8 December 2020.
  • The US repo rate, the interest rate at which financial institutions borrow overnight, increased reaching 3.95% on Thursday for contracts starting 31 December, raising fears of an uptick in volatility.This is up from 3% a month ago and far higher than the 1.6% rate for current contracts.
  • UAE Central Bank stated on Wednesday that UAE economy is projected to grow by 2.3% in 2019, changing its forecast from September which was expected to grow by 2.4%.
  • Moody's Investors Service confirmed the credit ratings of Kuwait Finance House's (KFH), and its "stable" long-term outlook. Furthermore, Moody's affirmed KFH's baseline credit rating and the baseline credit assessment at "baa3," while counter party risk assessment (CRA) was at "A1(cr)/P-1(cr)."
  • The value of Kuwait non-oil exports declined by 0.9% to 12.1 MM KWD (39.9 MM USD) in November 2019, compared to 13.4 MM KWD (44 MM USD) in the year-ago period.
  • Qatar is aiming to lift production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by 64% to 126 million tons per year by 2027, putting oil majors racing to secure a stake in the Gulf country's expansion plans under pressure to make the best offer.
  • The Central Bank of Lebanon informed the commercial banks on Wednesday to cap their interest rates on deposits in foreign currencies at 5% and to cap the rate on Lebanese pound deposits at 8.5%.
Political Events
  • UAE Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship recently highlighted the two types of transit visas available for passengers. One transit visa is valid for 48 hours and is free of charge, while the other is valid for 96 hours and costs 50 AED. Both are sponsored only by UAE-based airlines and must be processed and approved before entering UAE.
  • Egypt-UAE Business Council will hold its first investment forum in Cairo on Wednesday. The event aims to increase trade and investment between the two countries and promote the private sector as an engine of economic growth.
Major Companies Transaction
  • Samih Sawiris majority-owned Raiffeisen Touristic Group (RT) has acquired the German subsidiary of now-bankrupt British travel giant Thomas Cook. The acquisition, for which no value was disclosed, will bring 280 of Thomas Cook-affiliated agencies under RT, a company based in Burghausen, Germany, with annual revenues of 3.5 BN EUR.
  • Egypt sovereign wealth fund is considering offers from HSBC and Citibank to advise on the sale of a 70% stake of three combined-cycle power plants which are; Siemens, Elsewedy Electric and Orascom Construction.
  • Tribal Credit, a Silicon Valley-based fintech startup co-founded by Egyptian entrepreneurs Amr Shady and Mohamed Elkasstawi, has raised 5.5 MM USD in a seed funding round led by BECO Capital and Global Ventures.
  • Air Arabia, the MENA's first and largest low-cost carrier (LCC), has won another recognition this year, winning the 'Best Low-Cost Airline' in Middle East/Africa at the Airline Excellence Awards.
  • Umm Alqura Company for Development and Construction (UAQ) and Alinma Investment Company announced the successful completion of the launch of the Makkah Real Estate Development Funds, with an investment value exceeding 17 BN SAR (4.5 BN USD).
  • UAE 5G Conference, organized by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), started yesterday with the participation of prominent officials and experts in this field to discuss the reality, prospects, challenges and opportunities related to 5G.
  • SOHAR Port and Freezone signed an agreement with Matrix Prime Logistics (FZC) on December 3, for the development of Phase 2 of the warehousing project, which commenced its operations in 2018.
  • Kuwait Authority for Partnership Projects (KAPP) announced the final results for Shamal Az Zour Al Oula Power and Water Company's initial public offering (IPO), which was wrapped up on 29 November.
  • Property sales in Kuwait declined by 26% y-o-y, in October, recording 211 MM KWD (695 MM USD), on the back of the commercial sector. In Q3-2019, sales grew 2.8% quarter-on-quarter to 825 MM KWD (2.7 BN USD).
  • Kuwait International Bank (KIB) launched the first-of-its-kind service in Kuwait allowing customers to book appointments via a smartphone application at all branches across Kuwait.
  • Fitch Ratings has affirmed Doha Bank Q.P.S.C.'s (DB) Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'A' with a Stable Outlook. At the same time, the agency has affirmed DB's Viability Rating (VR) at 'bb+'.

Sports and Culture
  • Bahrain successfully staged one of the region's biggest sporting, which is the Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship Bahrain, with participation of 1,500 competitors from 90 countries, including Bahrain and GCC member states. Holly Lawrence, a member of the Bahrain Endurance 13 team, won the women's title in 3:52:35 hours while British athlete Philip Gravesthe claimed the men's crown in 3:42:20.
  • RiseUp Summit 2019, MENA's leading entrepreneurship event, has come to a close at the American University in Cairo (AUC) New Cairo Campus after three days of sessions under the theme #JourneytoGrowth hosting 8,200 attendees, 290 startups, 200 workshops, 400 investors and 300 speakers.
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