Issue  No.154
18 December 2017

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


        63.78 USD         1,257 USD


Economic Outlook
  • Egypt inflation rate has declined in November a year after the country floated its pound currency as part of a 12 BN USD International Monetary Fund deal to boost the economy. Annual urban consumer price inflation eased to 26% in November 2017 compared to 30.8% in October 2017, while the core inflation declined to 25.53% compared to 30.53% in the same period. 
  • Egypt current account deficit narrowed to 1.6 BN USD in Q1-2017/18 financial year compared to 4.8 BN USD in the same period last year. The overall balance of payments surplus was 5.1 BN USD compared to 1.9 BN USD in the same period last year.
  • Foreign investment in Egyptian securities has reached 19 BN USD on 6th of December 2017 since the flotation of the pound in November 2016. 
  • Saudi Arabia King Salman has approved 72 BN SAR (19.2 BN USD) worth of measures to stimulate growth in the private sector as authorities seek to pull the economy out of a slump caused by low oil prices. The measures include residential housing loans worth 21.3 BN SAR, a 10 BN SAR fund to support economic projects, and 1.5 BN SAR to support distressed companies.
  • Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) aims to complete key infrastructure projects worth 3.2 BN AED (871 MM USD) next year including the upgrade of the roads network around Dubai Expo site and Route 2020 Project.
  • UAE and China are taking bilateral economic relations to a new level, with plans to increase two-way trade beyond the 46.3 BN USD mark achieved in 2016 by the end of 2017.
  • Expats remittances from the UAE amounted to 121.1 BN AED during the first nine months of the year, with a growth of 2.1% compared to 118.6 BN AED during the corresponding period in 2016.
  • Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, was honored at a ceremony attended by senior bankers from across the Middle East after it was named Best Islamic Retail Bank in Bahrain.
  • Prince Hassan, president of the Higher Council for Science and Technology (HCST), has launched a national initiative to improve food security and nutrition across Jordan. The initiative consists of a Zero Hunger Strategic Review process that will assess the main food security and nutrition challenges Jordan is facing and provide the basis for Jordan national food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture plans until 2030.
  • Consumer price inflation in Kuwait bounced to a multi-month high of 1.4% in October. Inflation excluding housing rent, food costs and energy prices, has increased from 2.5% y/y in September to 3.3% y/y in October, highlighting some upward inflationary pressures from retail goods and services, which coincided with the improving momentum in the consumer sector. The annual average inflation rate for 2017 is likely to ease to 1.6%, from the 3.5% annual average recorded in 2016.
  • Kuwait current account surplus improved slightly in Q2-2017 on lower remittances, a decline in imports, and some gain in investment income. The surplus improved to 0.62 BN KWD, up from 0.44 BN KWD in Q1-2017, rising to an annualized 6.9% of GDP.
Political Events
  • Russia Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation and Egypt Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy have signed the notices to proceed with the contracts for the construction of the El Dabaa nuclear power plant (NPP) under the presence of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt Abdel Fattah El Sisi. Rosatom will build four VVER-1200 units of the El Dabaa NPP in the Matrouh region on the Mediterranean coast, as well as supplying nuclear fuel throughout the plant entire operational lifetime. This will help ensure competitive electricity pricing in Egypt over a period of 60 years.
  • A civilian training aircraft crashed in the desert road in the desert region towards the east of Lake Qaroun in the Qasr al-Sagha area. The incident resulted in the death of three crew members on board.
  • The Trump administration met with major airlines last Tuesday to discuss complaints that some Gulf states are unfairly subsidizing state-owned carriers, keeping up pressure on the Middle East airlines at the center of a spat with U.S. rivals.
  • The UAE Embassy in Jordan has overseen the distribution of 1,000 smart bags, offered by the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation, to the UAE-Jordanian camp for Syrian refugees in Mrajeeb Al Fhood, Zarqa Governorate, and the Zaatari refugee camp in Al Mafraq Governorate.
  • The Jordanian government and the World Bank (WB) have signed a financing agreement to fund a program to reform the education sector in Jordan with a value of 200 MM USD.
  • Emirates and flydubai have resumed using Iraqi airspace for flights to other countries. It is worthy to mention that several airlines stopped flying over Iraq in 2014 on safety concerns because of the conflict and after a Malaysian Airlines passenger jet was shot down over Ukraine the same year. 
Major Companies Transaction
  • Mastercard, has launched its global digital payment service Masterpass in Egypt. Masterpass will be a convenient and trusted digital payment service for faster and safe shopping at thousands of online retailers in Egypt. It will allow consumers to make intuitive and secure purchases across devices, channels and borders from a single trusted solution.
  • Elite Real Estate Consultancy will launch its medical and commercial project, in January 2018. The project will include six retail shops and 30 clinics and labs on 5,000 sqm, developed over three phases. In addition, targeted sales of the project in the Q3-2018 will reach 120 MM EGP.
  • The Riyadh-based Alfanar Energy has signed an agreement with Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) in Dhaka to set up a 188 MM SAR solar plant in Bangladesh. The plant, which will be located in the port city of Chittagong, is expected to produce 40 MW to 100 MW of power in Bangladesh and the project will be completed within six months.
  • The alliance of Spanish agribusiness companies, AgroQatar, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Gulf Petroleum for the development of a system of high-tech greenhouse production of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Sports and Culture
  • The growth in the number of mobile internet subscribers in September 2017 has increased the total number of internet users in the Egyptian market by 4%. The total number of internet users increased from 40.1 million in August to 41.9 million in September. The internet market has seen 1.8 million new clients, while the mobile internet market saw an increase of clients by 3.1% in September, rising from 31.78 million to 33.76 million in September, up by 1.3 million.
  • Women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive trucks as long as they comply with traffic regulations and will get licenses to ride motorcycles as per a Royal decree announced in September, which comes into effect in June 2018.
  • Pop star Ricky Martin is all set to bring la vida loca (the crazy life) to Dubai for the first time: The Puerto Rican singer will headline the third and final day of the Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival on 23rd of February 2018 at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre. 
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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