Issue  No. 224
29 April 2019

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


       72.15 USD         1,282 USD


Economic Outlook
  • UAE-China deal worth 3.4 BN USD will position Dubai well in the One Belt One Road project. Moreover, UAE government announced that this agreement will boost existing 53 BN USD bilateral trade to 70 BN USD next year. It will further strengthen UAE economy with 1.42 TR AED (386.6 BN USD), which is expected to grow at 3.8% in 2020.
  • The number of travelers passed through points of entry and exit in Dubai reached 15.35 million in Q1-2019. A total of 13.6 million passengers travelled by air in Q1-2019, while 1.37 million and 380,000 travelled by land and sea, respectively.
  • Cairo real estate market continued to perform positively in Q1-2019 with the residential sector recording significant rental increases. Strong growth and positive sentiment reflect the successful measures taken to enhance security, boost tourism and overall investor demand across all sectors.
  • Nigeria and Saudi Arabia plan to draft a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on an oil and gas partnership that can lead to the construction of a new refinery and investments in liquefied natural gas.
  • More than 6.2 million Umrah visas have been issued since the beginning of the current Umrah season in October 2018. As of Thursday, 25th of April 2019, a total of 5,703,775 pilgrims arrived in Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah.
  • Saudi Arabia Finance Ministry had issued 11.619 BN SAR (3.10 BN USD) in domestic sukuk, or Islamic bonds, under its monthly issuance program for April 2019.
  • Project Qatar 2019 will host 15 international pavilions at the 16th edition of the premier exhibition specializing in construction and all related industries, which opens today on Monday, April 29. This year's event is expected to host 20,000 visitors at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center (DECC).
Political Events
  • President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi held a summit with the Russian president Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, where they discussed topics such as the resumption of Russian flights to Egypt.
  • Qatar has decided to withdraw its measures against UAE in a significant concession aimed at preventing the consequences of the UAE case in World Trade Organization (WTO) against an illegal Qatari ban on UAE goods and services.
Major Companies Transaction
  • Google selected Facebook to become the top brand in 2019 YouGov Workforce Rankings in Egypt, achieving a reputation score of 60.1. Facebook moves down to second while iPhone, Galaxy (chocolate) and YouTube remain in the same positions as last year, in third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
  • CI Capital Holding, Egypt leading diversified financial services group, announced that its total revenues reached 728.6 MM EGP (42.4 MM USD), up 34% y-o-y in Q1-2019 while its net operating profit reached 189.2 MM EGP (11 MM USD), up 32% y-o-y.
  • Petroleum Pipeline Company (PPC) investments in Upper Egypt reached 3.6 BN EGP, delivering around 7.5 million tons of crude oil, butane, and petroleum products through PPC pipelines annually.
  • Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), the world's fourth-biggest petrochemicals company, reported a 38% drop in Q1-2019 net profit reaching 3.41 BN SAR (909 MM USD) compared to 5.51 BN SAR (1.4 BN USD) due to lower average selling prices.
  • Saudi Real Estate Refinance Company (SRC), a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF), signed a portfolio acquisition transaction with Banque Saudi Fransi, in keeping with its purpose of injecting liquidity into Saudi housing finance market.
  • Kuwait Integrated Petroleum Industries Company (KIPIC), a subsidiary of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), has awarded McDermott a technology contract for the basic engineering, technology license and catalyst for an integrated Low-Pressure Recovery (LPR) and Olefins Conversion Technology (OCT) unit at KIPIC in Al Zour, Kuwait.
  • In UAE, United Arab Bank (UAB) made about 150 staff redundant last week as part of cost cutting and efficiency measures. UAB had completed an assessment of its human resources requirements that concluded it had "excess capacity".
  • Dubai-headquartered mall developer Majid Al Futtaim is on track to open three super malls in Egypt, UAE and Oman between 2019 and 2021. The company will open City Centre Almaza, its 4th shopping centre in Egypt, in September 2019, and is on track to open City Centre Al Zahia in Sharjah, UAE in 2020.

Sports and Culture
  • Mohamed Salah took the lead of the Premier League strikers after scoring two goals in Liverpool-Huddersfield Town match which ended 5-1 on Anfield. Salah scored the 3rd and the 5th goals in the match leading the scorers with 21 goals, followed by Mane with 20 goals.
  • Egyptian Squash legend, Ramy Ashour, announced his retirement from professional squash to put an end to his career with the sport. Ashour won three Men's World Open Squash Championship titles in 2008, 2012 and 2014 beside winning three gold medals for Egypt at Men's World Team Squash Championships. He came 2nd behind Pakistan Jahangir Khan at the "Greatest of All Time" list released by Professional Squash Association (PSA).
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