Issue  No.161
05 February 2018

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


        68.12 USD         1,335 USD


Economic Outlook
  • Egypt budget deficit for the fiscal year 2017/2018 is expected to reach 9.4% of GDP due to the increase in global oil prices and high local interest rates.
  • Turkish exports to UAE have reached a high record in 2017 amounting to 3.21 BN USD compared to 2.99 BN USD in 2016.The top Turkish exports to the UAE include jewelry, chemical industry products, steel and grain.
  • The Application of Value Added Tax (VAT) will hurt the operating profits of most of insurance companies in UAE, as the tax liability is expected to be in the range of 700 MM AED to 800 MM AED which will make it impossible for insurers to reach out to hundreds of thousands of retails customers in order to recover the applicable VAT.
  • Qatar Central Bank sold 1.15 BN SAR (316 MM USD) of Treasury bills as it sold 375 MM SAR (102.1 MM USD)of three-month bills at a yield of 2.5%, 475 MM SAR (129.32 MM USD) of six-month at 2.6% and 300 MM SAR (81.67 MM USD)of nine-month at 2.8%.
  • Kuwait real GDP had decreased by 2.3% in 2017 and is expected to increase to 2.5% in 2018.
  • Iraq plans to build an oil refinery at the port of Fao on the Gulf with two Chinese companies with 300,000 barrel-per-day capacity and including a petrochemical plant, in addition, other three refineries will be built; the first two will be each with a 150,000-bpd capacity in Nasiriya, southern Iraq, and in the western Anbar province. While the third will be with a 100,000-bpd capacity in Qayara, near Mosul and the northern Iraqi city.
  • The special economic zone in Duqm has attracted a total of 610.2 MM OMR (1.5 BN USD) of investments in 2017. Moreover, 2018 is expected to have a great impact in generating more than 2,200 jobs for both Omani nationals and expatriates. These investments were committed by 87 companies that signed land lease agreements with the Special Economic Zone Authority in Duqm (Sezad).
  • Saudi banks' liquidity improved in 2017 as they recorded 457 BN SAR because of the 0.1% deposit growth and the 1.0% contraction in banks' loans and a 43% increase in the banks' holdings of domestic government bonds.
Political Events
  • President Abd Al Fattah Al Sisi has arrived in Oman in a three-day official visit. The President will discuss the mutual cooperation and ways of enhancing it between the two sides in political, economic and security fields.
  • The Investment Ministry announced that Egypt parliament has passed the country's first bankruptcy law, as part of the economic reform plan is to encourage investment. The new law aims to reduce the need for companies or individuals to use courts in solving disputes and to simplify bankruptcy procedures by removing the imprisonment in the case of bankruptcy.
  • Ten Yemeni fighters were killed and 30 were wounded in the clashes which erupted throughout the southern Yemeni port city of Aden.
  • The Kuwaiti Parliament will hold a special session to look into the casting of a no-confidence vote against the Minister of Social Affairs, Labor, and Minister of State for Economic Affairs. Every one of them will be responsible to the National Assembly for the affairs of his ministry and in case the Assembly passes a vote of no confidence against one of them, he will have to immediately submit his formal resignation as of the date of this vote.
Major Companies Transaction
  • Madinet Nasr Housing & Development (MNHD), the Egypt leading urban developer announced that the Prime Minister has approved Tai City master plan. MNHD can launch the non-residential components, including the commercial zone and the hotel area.
  • Dubai Al Khaleej Sugar Refinery, the world's largest port-based refinery for the commodity announced an agreement with the Egyptian Government and Al Ahly Capital Holding as a financial partner for a project called "Canal Sugar", in which they will work on establishing a major agro-industrial complex to produce beet sugar. This project will extend over 77,000 hectares (190,000 acres) and be farmed with wheat and beet in winter, and corn in summer.
  • Lenovo, a global technology leader, has unveiled its latest mobile device called Lenovo PHAB Plus, in which it is a phablet optimized for single-hand use in the Kingdom. The PHAB Plus is Lenovo's response to the phablet market; combining the best of both smart phones and tablets in one device.
  • The Central Bank of Bahrain announced the approval for Bank of Jordan in granting the license to operate a wholesale bank (branch) in Bahrain for its unique position as a financial hub in the region, which will positively help in strengthening the commercial and financial relationship between Bahrain and Jordan.
  • Lebanon LGB Bank signed its first syndicated funding agreement worth 67.5 MM USD in collaboration with international Development Finance Institutions, in addition to 32.5 MM USD provided by The Dutch Development Bank (FMO). Moreover, the OPEC Fund for International Development financed about 20 MM USD and the Development Bank of Austria (OeEB) funded 15 MM USD. The total funding agreement will be over a tenor of five years. This agreement will enhance key drivers of the Lebanese economy.
  • NBK Capital Partners, an alternative investments firm has successfully launched its first 157 MM USD private debt vehicle with a 17% gross Internal Rate of Return (IRR) on investments in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Turkey. 
Sports and Culture
  • Finovate Middle East Event will take place at the Madinat Jumierah Conference Centre in Dubai from 26-27 February. This event will be a partnership between the UAE Ministry of Finance and more than 400 leaders in the fintech industry. It will present three principal areas in the industry including; financial inclusion, emerging technologies and how banks and fintech's can work better together.
  • The Doha International Maritime Defense Exhibition & Conference 12-14 March 2018 (DIMDEX 2018) will be marking the 10th anniversary this year, it will be held under the sponsorship of H.H. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of Qatar state, and it will be organized by Qatar Armed Forces at the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC). This exhibition will comprise the extensive display of visiting warships of several types of vessels including destroyers, frigates, and fast-attack craft.
  • Saudi Arabia will be opening its doors to women for the first time at the football stadium in Dammam as it will be the third match. The stadiums have also been fitted with female prayer areas, restrooms and smoking areas, as well as separate entrances and parking lots for female spectators.
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Cairo Office:
Z epter Office Building  S5-6 ,  Area 5, District 1, 5th Settlement,  New Cairo, Egypt.  P.O. Box:  1147
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Office No. N 415, North Tower, Emirates Financial Towers, DIFC, P.O Box 506726, Dubai, UAE.
Tel:  +97142820301

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