This report is designed to give you a snapshot about the MENA region tackling multiple issues:
36.4 USD 1,269 USD
To make its crude oil supplies more competitive to the European Union consumers, Gulf OPEC member Kuwait has changed the way it prices oil for Europe as the battle for customers between OPEC and non-OPEC rivals intensifies.
As part of a long term plan to diversify the kingdom's economy away from oil, Saudi Arabia's aviation regulator is in talks with government agencies to set up free zones at Jeddah and Riyadh airports.
Qatar's Minister of Economy and Commercehas announced that the country's total trade exchange with Italy has reached 3 BN USD in 2015 accounting for 2.8% of Qatar's foreign trade.
The Kremlin spokesman reported that in order to stabilize world oil prices, Russia willcontinue working with some other leading oil producers on a proposal to freeze crude output at January levels.
Iraq's deputy oil minister reported that the country will pay foreign oil companies about 2 BN USD in remaining arrears for 2015 this April and expects to reach an agreement over contracts by half way through the year.
Iran's central bank governor announced that the country is expecting to reach an economic growth rate of more than 5% in 2016 after the sanctions on the country has been lifted.
According to Gartner, the world's leading information technology research and advisory company, information communication technology (ICT) spending in the Middle East is expected to amount to 212.9 BN USD in 2016 registering a 3.7% growth compared to 2015.
A Saudi-UAE alliance that involves a group of companies has proposed a request to the Economic Commission of the Suez Canal in order to obtain 5 MM square feet to establish a 3 BN USD industrial city. The industrial city will have factories to manufacture various products, including food and cars.
Dubai government has announced that it will build a 30 BN AED one-stop free zone aiming to strengthen the country's trade and logistics, The "Dubai Wholesale City"will also help the UAE acquire a significant share of the global trade, currently valued at 4.3 TR USD and projected to grow to 4.9 TR USD in five years.
The Egyptian central bank is under a pressure to devalue the local currency after it reached its lowest rates in the black market, the thing that made firms complain about having problems in clearing imports and repatriating earnings.
Amid its steps to bridge its budget deficit caused by low oil prices, Oman's cabinet is planning to cut subsidies on electricity by 7-8%. It is worth mentioning that such subsidies amounted to 450 MM OMR (1.17 BN USD) in 2015.
Saudi Arabia's Central bank announced that the kingdom's economic growth is expected to reach around 2% for 2016 due to lower oil prices that burden the kingdom's economy.
According to the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), the UAE's largest bank in terms of assets, the UAE is facing a dollar shortage due to low oil prices which has squeezed the government's budget and spending.
Egypt's parliament voted to expel the independent parliament member Tawfik Okasha from the legislature upon his invitation to the Israeli ambassador in Cairo for dinner. It is worth mentioning that 465 lawmakers, out of 490 who attended the session voted to expel him from the Egyptian parliament.
The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has designated Lebanon's armed Shi'ite Hezbollah movement as a terrorist organization in which the movement described as "reckless and hostile".
Iran has asked the International monetary fund (IMF) to ease the concern of European banks and companies who were reluctant to rebuild ties with the country after the sanctions were raised.
The United Arab Emirates' second biggest telecommunications operator, Du, has reported that its net profit for 2015 has been cut by higher royalty payments to the government. It is worthy to mention that the company had proposed an annual dividend of 43 fils per share.
Oman Power and Water Procurement Co, which arranges power generation and water desalination capacity in the sultanate, reported that it is signing an agreement this week for a 115 MM OMR (300 MM USD) water project.
Qatar's Blen Media reported that it plans to buy film studio Miramax. It is worth mentioning thatMiramax has over 700 titles in its library and owns the rights to hundreds of Hollywood films including "Bridget Jones' Diary" and "The English Patient".
To finance infrastructure projects, State-run National Bank of Egypt (NBE), has received a 700 MM USD loan from the China Development Bank. It is worth mentioning that the amount has entered the bank's treasury in full and will be paid back over 8 years with grace period of 3 years.
Kuwait's NBK Capital, the investment arm of National Bank of Kuwait, has ended its company-specific research coverage and frozen all stock recommendations. The firm said this was part of "efforts to optimize" research services.
Due to foreign exchange volatility, Qatar's Ooredoo expects its core earnings to fall by up to 3% in 2016. Moreover, the company reported near-flat 2015 profit as improved earnings from its Gulf operations offset worsening performance in Iraq and Tunisia and currency weakness in emerging markets.
The chief executive officer of Gulf Air, Bahrain's national carrier, has reported that the company is aiming to use its fleet of new aircraft to boost its global footprint by more than 50% by 2030.
Goldman Sachs is cutting between 5 to 10% of its staff who are employed in the company's Fixed Income and Currency (FIC) trading business. This is a part of the annual process around this time of year when almost 5% of Goldman's overall workforce, is let go.