Issue  No.157
08 January 2018

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


        67.78 USD         1,318 USD


Economic Outlook
  • Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) reached a high record of 37.02 BN USD for foreign exchange reserves at the end of 2017 compared to 36.723 BN USD in February 2017 representing an increase of 296.6 MM USD despite repaying 3.2 BN USD to the African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIM Bank) loan and expected to pay 12 BN USD of its foreign debts in 2018.
  • Egypt financial regulatory authority does not permit dealing in cryptocurrencies or even dealing with products related to them. Moreover, investors who will deal in any of these currencies will be subject to legal liability.
  • The Minister of Investment and International Cooperation announced that the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) investments are estimated at 2.7 BN EUR and distributed over 52 projects in variety of sectors including: infrastructure, energy, Sanitation, water and transport.
  • The average yields on Egypt T-bills increased to 19.140% compared to 18.990% for 182-day and increased to 18.186% compared to 17.689% for 364-day. It is worthy to mention that Egypt has raised key interest rates by 700 basis points since it floated the currency in November 2016.
  • The United Nations announced the opening of its African technology innovation lab in Egypt which will be located in Smart Village to develop and implement innovative tech solutions that address global challenges.
  • UAE consumers should not pay value added tax (VAT) to companies have not registered with Federal Tax Authority (FTA).
  • Leading engineering and air conditioning experts will discuss collaboration opportunities between Saudi Arabia and European union on HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning standards), certification and labeling at an upcoming industry event in Jeddah kicking off on the opening day of HVACR Expo Saudi under the initiative of the EU GCC Clean Energy Technology Network and the European Union Delegation to Saudi Arabia.
  • The Saudi Minister of Culture and Information Awwad bin Saleh Alawwad offered a great package of handouts to Saudi Arabian citizens to compensate them for cost of living increases, which will cost the government around 50 BN SAR (13.3 BN USD) this year.
  • Oman revenues increased by 260 MM USD as a result of the amended income tax law as it raised the tax rate from 12% to 15%.
  • Libya earned 14 BN USD from oil revenues in 2017, allowing it to halve its budget deficit, amid a partial recovery in oil output despite continued political and economic turmoil.
Political Events
  • U.S. senators and Trump administration officials met at the White House, hoping to hammer out compromise legislation to tighten restrictions on Iran while keeping Washington in an international nuclear deal with Tehran.
  • The campaign backing Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi had collected over 12 million signatures of Egyptians supporting him to run for a second term in 2018 presidential elections.
  • Egyptian Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr announced that the parliament started to discuss the amendments to the capital market law which is likely to be finalized soon.
  • Israel cracked a Palestinian militant cell suspected of having been recruited and handled by Iranian intelligence officers.
Major Companies Transaction
  • Marseilia Group and Amlak Finance signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop an urban project located in Nasr city and extended over 42,676 sqm. The MoU is sponsored by National bank of Egypt (NBE) and Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).
  • Arab Contractors and Orascom team up to implement Egypt first major monorail in cooperation with Canadian Bombardier company at a cost exceeding 1.4 BN USD.
  • Qalaa' Holding, a leader in energy and infrastructure has posted revenues of 24.7 BN EGP in Q3-2017, 38% increase y-o-y (year on year).
  • Sawiris Ora developers partnered with Pakistani conglomerate Saif Group to launch 2 BN USD project largely in textile, real estate and energy sectors, with a 30% equity component and an equal share of bank financing.
  • Etisalat has announced the successful launch of its first 5G ultra-Mobile broadband experience in Middle East Region, which will create new business opportunities for Etisalat partners in UAE.
  • Lava Company India's fourth biggest smart phone maker aims at injecting 10 MM USD investments into Egyptian market next year.
  • Saudi Aramco appointed Fathi K. Al-Saleem as chief executive of  joint venture to build a shipyard on the kingdom's east coast as part of the government desire to diversify the economy beyond oil, the project will cost more than 20 BN SAR (5.3 BN USD).
  • EFG Hermes plans to tap into insurance, mortgage and payment activities within the next 12-24 months. 
  • Saudi-based Acwa Power closes financing for 61.3 MWP solar independent power project (IPP) project located in the Risha area of Jordan.  
  • UAE-based Emirates Healthcare Group signed a strategic partnership with Egypt Alameda Health Group to help provide more hospital beds and improve the quality of healthcare services in Egypt to cover the increasing demand.
  • Al-Futtaim has worked in partnership with Marks & Spencer since 1998 when it opened Dubai's first M&S store. Following the purchase of 27 M&S stores in Hong Kong and Macau, Al-Futtaim now operates 72 M&S stores across 11 markets in Asia and the Middle East.
  • Gulf Navigation Holding will hike its capital by 448.33 MM AED through an initial public offering (IPO) to increase its paid-up share capital to 1 BN AED in the first quarter of 2018, the paid-up capital will be spread over one billion shares at a par value of 1 AED per share. The capital increase will also support the company's expansion plans as it intends to double its fleet size to 20 vessels by 2020. 
Sports and Culture
  • Emad Meteb will end his contract with Ahly at the end of the season and will start the new contract with Saudi Arabia's Al-Taawoun.
  • Saudi Arabia initiative to grant tourists visas and extend Umrah packages will help encourage tourism and enhance the cooperation between the private and public sectors. The initiative targets four categories: pilgrims and visitors, Muslim business visitors, government guests and Muslim transit passengers.
  • Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University (PNU) in Riyadh started accepting driving instructor applications as it has established a driving academy on campus that will provide theoretical education and practical training. 
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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