Issue  No. 218
18 March 2019

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


       67.16 USD         1,303 USD


Economic Outlook
  • CAPMAS reported that Egypt annual urban consumer price inflation increased to 14.4% in February 2019 compared to 12.7% in January 2019.
  • Egypt Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdelaaty stated that the country has a large gap between water demand and available resources with about 20 billion cubic meters per year.
  • Egypt Minister of Transport Kamel al-Waziri met Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahr Nasr to fund railway, metro, road and maritime projects. The Ministry of Investment has been negotiating with development partners to inject 2 BN USD for the railway projects in Egypt.
  • Saudi Arabia offers vast areas of untapped land estimated at 3,800 km off the coast of the Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea. Saudi Arabia is the Middle East's largest individual food importer, where around 80% of its food consumption is imported.
  • Government-owned Saudi Real Estate Refinance Co (SRC) had completed a 750 MM SAR (200 MM USD) sukuk issue with multiple tenors, the first transaction by a non-sovereign issuer in Saudi Arabia in 2019.
  • UAE Central Bank announced that the current account surplus of the country increased to 139 BN AED (38 BN USD) or 9.6% of GDP in 2018, up from 101 BN AED (27 BN USD) or 7.2% of GDP.
  • UAE has reduced its holdings of the US Treasury bonds by 1.4% m-o-m to 56 BN USD in January 2019 compared to 56.8 BN USD in December 2018.
  • The Central Bank of Kuwait announced that money supply (M2) dropped 0.1% in January 2019 compared to 38.5 BN KWD (127 BN USD) in December 2018. Private sector's deposits in local banks dropped by 0.3% amounting to 34.2 BN KWD (112 BN USD) in January 2019.
Political Events
  • Egypt Attorney-General Nabil Sadeq ordered a judicial inquiry into a terrorist attack in New Zealand on Friday 15, where there have been four Egyptians as victims. A white nationalist gun-man shot dead 49 people at two Christchurch mosques in New Zealand.
  • Tens of thousands of Algerian protesters have dismissed President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's promise not to seek a fifth term. However, Bouteflika has proposed a "national conference" to carry out reforms before scheduling elections, meaning he will stay in power until a vote takes place.
Major Companies Transaction
  • Siemens signed a contract with Al Ezz Dekheila Steel Company Alexandria SAE (EZDK) to deploy the company's leading digital industrial solutions across EZDK diverse steel production assets.
  • Egypt natural gas company EGAS is offering four liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes for April loading. The tender closes on March 18 and will be awarded on March 21.
  • Global real estate advisor, Savills, signed a prominent joint venture with Egyptian company Sphere, to cover the full range of real estate services in Egypt.
  • Visa, the world's leader in digital payments, announced partnerships with Starbucks and Hardee's to accelerate the use and adoption of Apple Pay in Saudi Arabia and UAE. With Apple Pay, Visa cardholders and iPhone users can make instant payments using their phone via app or on web.
  • Rising Russian and U.S. competition has pushed Saudi Aramco to find new buyers for its oil in China, encouraging a shift towards independent refiners and newcomers to the business.
  • Saudi Arabia Acwa Power revealed plans to invest around 3 BN USD in Egypt 2019 electricity projects.
  • NMC, the largest private healthcare provider in the Middle East, was presented with the "UAE Deal of the Year" award for their five-year 400 MM USD sukuk transaction at the Islamic Finance News (IFN) Awards 2019.
  • HORECA Trade, UAE leading exclusive multi-channel foodservice provider of international F&B brands, announced an agreement with GSP Foodstuff Trading LLC to distribute the rice producer's Raj Mehak brand in the UAE foodservice channels.
  • In UAE, Dana Gas, the Middle East largest regional natural gas company, announced that it has bought back a total of 133 MM USD sukuk of 4% Nile Delta sukuk certificates.
  • Qatar Automobiles Company (QAC), the authorized distributor of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation and FUSO in Qatar, signed a deal to supply MBM with over 50 FUSO Rosa buses.
  • Fitch Ratings has affirmed Ahli Bank's QSC (ABQ) Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'A' with a Stable Outlook. It has also affirmed the Viability Rating (VR) at 'bbb-'.
Sports and Culture
  • Real Madrid reappointed Zinedine Zidane as coach on a three-year contract. Zidane made some bold decisions as Real Madrid won their first game back under the Frenchman's guidance. Michael Hincks examines the changes which paid off in the 2-0 win over Celta Vigo.
  • The Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) has received a letter from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) informing it that the latter has canceled the "beIN sport" channels' monopoly on Asian continent matches and competitions in Saudi Arabia.
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