Issue  No. 180
25 June 2018

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


       75.55 USD         1,267 USD


Economic Outlook
  • The Minister of Petroleum Tarek El-Molla announced that the gasoline prices are raised by up to 50%. This raise will help Egypt save up to 50 BN EGP (2.8 BN USD) in allocations for state subsidies in the 2018/2019 state budget. The price for 95 octane gasoline was raised to 7.75 EGP per liter from 6.60 EGP; 92 octane was raised to 6.75 EGP per liter from 5 pounds and 80 octane was raised to 5.50 EGP per liter from 3.65 pounds. This was the third fuel price raise since November 2016, when Egypt floated the local pound currency.
  • The Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait announced that Egypt will receive the next 2 BN USD tranche of the 12 BN USD IMF loan in the second half of July. This would be the fourth tranche of the loan, agreed in late 2016, and would bring the total amount received so far to 8 BN USD. The IMF loan requires Egypt to apply tough economic austerity measures. The latest fiscal reforms have included sharp cuts to electricity and fuel subsidies.
  • Egypt, one of the world top wheat importers, had bought 3.4 million tons of its local production of the grain so far this season. The Minister of Supply Ali Moselhi announced that wheat strategic reserves are at 4.4 months.
  • Emirates Transport (ET) has announced a net profit of 244.2 MM AED (66.4 MM USD) in 2017, with an increase of 34% compared to 2016. In addition, revenues increased to 2.558 BN AED (697 MM USD), recording an increase of 6.8% compared to 2017.
  • The UAE biggest education provider, GEMS Education has announced a freeze in teachers' salary increments for the academic year 2018/2019. The decision was made following an announcement by the Dubai Executive Council to freeze school fees thus easing the financial burden on the students' parents. However, GEMS education also insisted that the cumulative salary increase for teachers is at 25-48% when the Education Cost Index only increased by approximately 11%.
  • Turkish Exporters Assembly revealed that its olive and olive oil product exports to the UAE are growing at a rapid pace. In 2018, it grew from 1.6 MM USD to 2.8 MM USD signifying a growth of 79%. Olive oil represents the country fastest growing food exports sector.
  • Hong Kong exports to the UAE reached 2.322 BN USD in Q1-2018, led by exports of telecom equipment and parts (40.1% of total), pearls, precious and semi-precious stones (21.8% of total), and jewelry (12% of total). The UAE is Hong Kong largest export market in the Middle East, and trade between the two economies presents an excellent opportunity to build new B2B (business-to-business).
  • In Saudi Arabia, the end of the driving ban will boost women financial power and allow them to play a bigger role in economic and social diversification in line with Vision 2030. Saudi women in the job market are under-represented; making up 22% of the national workforce of about six million. Lifting the ban will help take women representation in the workforce to 30% by 2030.
  • Saudi Arabia trade surplus with Japan has surged 38.3%, reaching 9.23 BN SAR in May 2018, compared to 6.67 BN SAR in May 2017. The kingdom exports to Japan increased 6% to 911 MM SAR last month compared to 859 MM SAR in May 2017. Saudi imports from Japan jumped 34.6% y-o-y to 10.14 BN SAR in May 2018 from 7.53 BN SAR.
  • King Salman issued a royal decree, under the guidance of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSRelief), to establish a database of Saudi aid, including the Kingdom's humanitarian assistance in coordination with the relevant authorities. Saudi aid is in cash and in-kind assistance, provided in humanitarian and charitable grants and soft loans to promote development. The top five recipient countries of aid from Saudi Arabia are: Yemen, Syria, Egypt, Niger and Mauritania.
  • The inflation in Kuwait increased by 0.36% in May 2018 when compared to May 2017. The consumer price index (CPI) in Kuwait registered 112.6 points in May 2018, up 0.09% when compared to April 2018. In May 2018, the cigarettes and tobacco basket topped five gainers with an increase of 0.54%, while the transportation basket registered the least incline of 0.08%.
  • A decrease in remittances by expatriate workers in Kuwait by at least 13% in Q1-2018. The monthly transfer amount by foreign workers, excluding domestic laborers, was an average of 626 USD per person per month, but recently dropped to 545 USD. The decline in remittances reached its lowest level since 2012 due to the increase in the cost of living and reduced subsidies, as well as high fees of some services and goods. The national employment policy (Kuwaitization) also has a role in reducing demand for expatriate labor.
  • In Kuwait, recent statistics by the Manpower and Government Restructuring Program (MGRP) showed that 6,893 citizens were appointed in the private sector and 5,883 in the public sector over the past five months, which adds up to 12,776 citizens.
Political Events
  • Egypt swore in a new cabinet, replacing key ministers including finance, defense and interior in a major reshuffle after President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi won a second term in office. Mohamed Maait, deputy finance minister in the outgoing cabinet, was promoted to minister, replacing Amr El Garhy. Mohamed Ahmed Zaki was named as minister of defense, replacing Sedki Sobhi, who has overseen Egypt's efforts to defeat an Islamist militant insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula. Mahmoud Tawfik was appointed minister of interior, replacing Magdi Abdel Ghaffar, who has held the post since 2015.
  • The UAE Cabinet has adopted a decision to extend the visa of the widowed or divorced women residing in the UAE and their children for one year from the date of the divorce or the death of the spouse, as part of the latest legislative facilitations approved by the Cabinet. It aims to give women the opportunity to adjust their social and economic status.
  • In UAE, The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE) has banned the import of all species of domestic and wild life birds, ornamental birds, chicks, hatching eggs, meats and meat products and non-heat-treated wastes from the previously infected provinces in the Russian Federation. The decision came based on a notification from the World Organization for Animal Health, OIE, of the outbreak of a highly pathogenic strain of bird flu, H5N2, on a farm in the central region of Kurskaya Oblast in Russia.
Major Companies Transaction
  • UAE-based Dana Gas, the largest regional natural gas company in the Middle East, has won approval from its key investors to complete the consensual restructuring of its 700 MM USD sukuk (Islamic bond).
  • Fitch Ratings has affirmed Mashreqbank PSC's (Mashreq) Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'A' and Viability Rating (VR) at 'bbb-'. Mashreq's IDRs, SR and SRF reflect an extremely high probability of support available to the bank from the UAE authorities if needed.
  • Al Tamimi & Company, the largest law firm in the Middle East, has announced the promotion of seven new partners. This latest development takes the total number of partners at the firm to 65.
  • Dubai Properties, a member of Dubai Holding, is drawing high interest for its upscale projects from investors and potential buyers in China as part of its participation at Luxury Property Showcase (LPS) Beijing 2018, the leading luxury property show that is currently underway in the Republic capital city.
  • FarEye, a leading global digital logistics platform, announced the opening of its first European office in London with an aim to expand its business foothold in the region and to serve its customers directly. With a total of 6 corporate offices in India, Dubai and Singapore, FarEye currently serves customers in over 20 countries.
  • OPEC agreed on a modest increase in oil production starting next month after its leader Saudi Arabia persuaded Iran to cooperate, following calls from major consumers to control rising fuel costs. Oil prices increased by 1.85 dollar to 74.90 dollar a barrel. Saudi Arabia announced that the nominal output increase would be around 1 million barrels per day (bpd), or 1% of global supply. The real increase would be around 770,000 bpd because several countries that had suffered production declines would struggle to reach full quotas.
Sports and Culture
  • Egyptian footballer star Mohamed Salah became the only Egyptian to have his portrait displayed at World Cup exhibition held in St. Petersburg. Salah portrait was added to join the World Cup most iconic players including Argentinian footballer Lionel Messi, Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba and Liverpool Manager Jürgen Klopp. In addition, the Leader of Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov gave MohamedSalahhonorary citizenship, the highest form of acknowledgement the republic gives, during an honorary ceremony which Chechen hosted for the Egyptian National Team.
  • Alfahim, one of the UAE most successful family businesses, has announced a new three-year partnership deal with the UAE Triathlon Federation. The new partnership will support the Federation in hosting a greater number of projects, from grassroots sporting events to major national and international competitions. With the support of Alfahim, the Federation is aiming to have as many as 3,500 athletes of all ages line-up for the 2019 edition of the ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi on Yas Island.
  • Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) announced the opening of Aerotel new airport transit sleeping facility at the Abu Dhabi International Airport. The latest addition marks the airport second facility that is operated by Aerotel of Plaza Premium Group. Open 24 hours a day, the hotel offers flexible hourly booking slots which gives easy access for transit passengers seeking a quick power rest.
_____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________
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

     Like us on Facebook  View our profile on LinkedIn  Follow us on Twitter View our videos on YouTube