Issue  No. 199
5 November 2018

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


       72.83 USD         1,232 USD


Economic Outlook
  • Egypt free zones affiliated to the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI), achieved exports worth 14.7 BN USD from January to September 2018, an increase of 1.1 BN USD compared to the same period in 2017. Commodity exports amounted to 8.3 BN USD, pointing out that service exports recorded 6.4 BN USD during the first nine months of 2018. The number of projects operating in the free zones reached 1,102 projects worth 11.4 BN USD in addition to 2.15 BN USD in foreign direct investments, including 898 in the public free zones and 204 in private free zones providing 200,000 jobs.
  • Egypt is aiming for an external borrowing ceiling of 14.326 BN USD in 2019/2020. The country expects total foreign debt to reach 102.863 BN USD and aims to repay 10.326 BN USD to foreign lenders in 2019/2020.
  • Egypt non-oil private-sector activity weakened slightly in October 2018 to reach its lowest level. The Emirates NBD Egypt Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for the non-oil private sector weakened to 48.6 in October from 48.7 in September, below the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction. The non-oil private sector saw a decline in output for the second consecutive month, which companies attributed to lower demand for goods and services due to challenging market conditions.
  • Shares in Saudi Arabia National Petrochemical increased after the company reported a 56% increase in Q3-2018 net profit due to zakat and tax that amounted to 307 MM SAR (81.8 MM USD), compared to 197 MM SAR (52.5 MM USD) in Q3-2017.
  • Saudi Arabia reported a fiscal deficit of 7.3 BN SAR (1.95 BN USD) in Q3-2018, a big drop from 48.7 BN SAR (12.98 BN USD) compared to Q3-2017. The improvement in fiscal performance is reflected by the decrease in the deficit with positive oil and non-oil growth revenues reaching 63% to 153.95 BN SAR (41.04 BN USD) and 45% to 69.3 BN SAR (18.48 BN USD) respectively in Q3-2018 compared to the Q3-2017.
  • Saudi Arabia ranked the 4th in terms of the number of reforms that would contribute to improving business environment at the G20 level. Saudi Arabia progressed in four indices related to doing business, namely the index of protection of minority investors, the index of implementing contracts, the index of obtaining building license and cross-border trade index in 2018.
  • In UAE, women participation is fully equal to men's, the nation's GDP can gain further by 16% by 2025, which is equal to an overall gain of 101 BN USD, or 10,985 USD per person. Emeriti Women play a highly important role not just in the overall economic growth of a country but also in contributing towards the financial well-being of their families.
  • The overall salary in UAE increased by 4.5% in 2018 across industries, with the highest increase shown at 5% in the life sciences industries. It is forecasted to grow by 4.8% in 2019, one of the highest in the region. Notably, real wage growth (salary increase minus inflation rate) is also expected to steadily rise in the region. The strongest increase is likely to come from the life sciences with a 5% increase, consumer goods and high-tech industries.
  • In Abu Dhabi, the results of the macroeconomic and sectoral indexes reflect a positive economic performance, particularly at the level of non-oil activities, during Q2-2018, confirming rising levels of investor confidence and business optimism about the emirate's economic outlook. Abu Dhabi Government Accelerators Program have announced that there is a 50 BN AED stimulus package to 'Ghadan 21' in addition to the resolutions of the Federal Government on foreign ownership, and residence facilities for investors with the other initiatives launched at the level of national entities in the emirate.
  • Qatar Central Bank sold 800 MM QAR (219.73 MM USD) of treasury bills with maturities of three, six and nine months. It sold 400 million of three-month bills with a 2.3% yield, 200 MM QAR of six-month bills at 2.46% and 200 MM QAR of nine-month bills at 2.69%.
  • Kuwait public sector is on track to achieve a 100% Kuwaiti workforce. It is trying to address the issue of high unemployment rates among Kuwaiti nationals by allocating jobs for them in the public sector and relieving expatriates of their roles there.
  • Kuwait needs to push through economic reforms despite higher oil prices urging parliament to work with the government to implement measures aimed at diversifying revenues and developing the economy. Kuwait, whose state finances are among the strongest in the region, has been trying to introduce new taxes and reform a lavish welfare system to curb state spending.


Political Events
  • UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, announced that Iran "aggressive policies" were "largely responsible" for the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions on Tehran. U.S. government will reintroduce far-reaching sanctions on Iran vital oil sales and banking sectors to try to force the Islamic Republic into negotiations to scrap its nuclear energy and ballistic missile programs and end its support for proxies in conflicts across the Middle East.
  • UAE has passed a law to combat money laundering and terrorism financing as it aims to bring its rules into line with international standards on combating illicit money flows. The law recommends the establishment of an independent financial information unit within the central bank to receive and investigate reports of illicit financing activity. Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an international organization that sets global standards for fighting illicit finance.
  • Egyptian security forces killed 19 Islamist militants from a cell believed to be responsible for an attack on Christians in Minya province in central Egypt in which seven people died. Security forces killed the suspects in a firefight after a chase in a mountainous area of the desert west of Minya governorate.
  • Kuwait sets new rule for transfer of expat workers visa. In a bid to organize the labor market and reduce the rate of marginal workers, the Public Authority of Manpower has released new conditions for movement of expatriate workers within various sectors in collaboration and cooperation with Civil Service Commission and the Ministry of Interior.
  • Omani citizens will no longer receive visas on arrival in Turkey starting from October 28, 2018.
_______________________________________________________________________________ ____________________
Major Companies Transaction
  • Etisalat Misr and MediaTek announced the commercial launch of next generation voice & video calling technologies - VoLTE & ViLTE - for the first time in the Middle East and Africa regions. The new services for 4G Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and Video over LTE (ViLTE) are supported by a wide range of affordable LTE smartphones powered by MediaTek and specially developed for Etisalat Misr customers.
  • BanqueMisr, Egypt second largest bank has sold its 2% stake in Saudi Arabia Samba Financial Group worth 370 MM USD. Bank Misr would not be selling its stake in Cairo-Amman Bank.
  • Adnoc Distribution, UAE largest fuel and convenience retailer, has signed an agreement with Japan Cooperation Centre Petroleum (JCCP) to supply, install and pilot the use of a photovoltaic (PV) solar power system at one of its service stations on Yas IslandThe renewable energy agreement reflects Adnoc Distribution's commitment to efficiency, sustainability and the environment as it transforms and modernizes its operations by piloting and adopting the latest technologies.
  • International Bank of Qatar (ibq) announced 13% net profit growth reaching 487.5 MM QAR (133.89 MM USD) and net operating income up 8 % in the first nine months of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017. These strong results are driven by core underlying business flows emanating from a strong client franchise. All business segments generated a positive y-o-y total income performance, which contributed to the overall net profit increase and a significant improvement in cost income ratios.
  • Commercial Bank has announced that it will finance subscriptions in the initial public offering (IPO) of 273,425,880 shares in Qatar Aluminium Manufacturing Company (QAMCO). The IPO, representing 49% of QAMCO's issued share capital, remains open between 30th of October 2018 and 12th of November 2018 closing 1:00 pm, at an offer price of 10.1 QAR per Share (10 QAR nominal value plus QAR 0.1 offering and listing costs).
  • Turkish Airlines, the national flag carrier of Turkey, celebrated the launch of its highly anticipated direct 3 weekly services between Doha Hamad International Airport and Sabiha Gökçen Airport in Istanbul. Turkish Airlines is further strengthening its presence in the Gulf region and adding more flights from and to Doha to help travelers to find more convenient flights and more options.
  • National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) reported 1.46 BN EGP (25 MM KWD) in net profits in Q3-2018 up 26.18% compared to 1.16 BN EGP (20.2 MM KWD) in Q3-2017. Moreover, the total assets reached 71.84 BN EGP (1.2 BN KWD) in September 2018 up 21.76% compared to 59.06 BN EGP (1 BN KWD) in 2017.
Sports and Culture
  • Ajman Tourism Development Department (ATDD) signed an MoU with Dubai Police to provide ATDD staff with the ESAAD card. Dubai Police issues ESAAD cards to boost employee happiness. The card gives employees access to discounts and promotions offered by organizations in the public and private sectors. Those using ESAAD will be able to access the deals through a smartphone app.
  • World number three Roger Federer beat Romanian qualifier Marius Copil to win the Swiss Indoors and claim his 99th career title in front of his home crowd in Basel. Federer began the year by winning the Australian Open and his 9th Basel title was his 4th of the season but the 1st since his victory in Stuttgart in June. The Swiss top seed was made to work hard by the fearless Copil, whose path to the final included wins over world number six Marin Cilic and number five Alexander Zverev.
  • India Virat Kohli became the fastest batsman to reach 10,000 runs in one-day internationals as he scored a second consecutive century against West Indies. Kohli broke the record of compatriot and batting great Sachin Tendulkar, who had reached the milestone in 259 runs. Indian captain Kohli took only 205, becoming the 13th cricketer to reach 10,000 runs during the 2nd ODI in Visakhapatnam.
_____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________
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