Issue  No. 187
13 August 2018

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


       72.81 USD         1,204 USD


Economic Outlook
  • The Central Bank of Egypt announced that Egypt annual core inflation rate witnessed a decrease from 10.9% in June 2018 to 8.45% in July, claiming that the inflation was free of any "volatile elements".
  • Jordan and Egypt are looking to amend natural gas sale and purchase agreements, allowing Amman to import enough gas from Cairo that would cover 10% of the kingdom electricity generation demand. These amendments will be implemented early 2019.
  • President Erdogan promised to defend Turkey against economic attacks and said that increasing production, exports and employment is the best response to the country's challenges. Erdogan stated that Turkey was facing artificial financial volatility. And the lira weakened after his comments reaching on that day 6.04 to dollar, down around 8%.
  • The number of hotel guests in Ajman increased by 14% in H1-2018 compared to H1-2017. This increase was a result of the success in diversifying Ajman tourist markets, which is reflected in the occupancy rate that grew by 5%. Ajman total revenues from the tourism and hospitality sector amounted to 242 MM AED in H1-2018 compared to 228 MM AED in H1-2017, with an increase of 6%.
  • UAE plans to build an oil pipeline connecting Eritrea and Ethiopia, the latest sign of the Gulf state increasing involvement in the Horn of Africa. The pipeline will run from Eritrea port city of Assab to Ethiopia capital Addis Ababa. Ethiopia began extracting crude oil on a test basis from the country's southeast reserves in June 2018 and will need access through Eritrea in order to export it.
  • UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, MoCCAE, banned the import of all species of domestic and wild live birds from East Malaysia. The move follows a notification from the World Organization for Animal Health, OIE, of the outbreak of a UAE job market witnessed a high rise in H1-2018 and industry analysts are optimistic that the trend will be maintained in H2-2018 and in 2019. The rise in employment in key economic sectors indicates that the country's economic growth is not only on track but is now gaining the required momentum to affirm its position as the global hub of business and trade.
  • Saudi citizens will be able to access cheaper and more accessible mortgages at fixed rates under an initiative launched by the Saudi Real Estate Refinance Company (SRC). The SRC initiative will allow new or existing borrowers to access facilities to boost their mortgage potential, with at least seven big Saudi Arabian financial institutions taking part to provide new mortgages for home buyers.
  • Saudi Arabia budget deficit decreased to 7.36 BN SAR (1.96 BN USD) in Q2-2018 compared to 34.3 BN SAR (9.14 BN USD) in Q1-2018. It is worthy to mention that the kingdom has forecasted a deficit of 195 BN SAR (52 BN USD) or 7.3% GDP in 2018, down from 230 BN SAR (61 BN USD) in 2017.
  • In Kuwait, The Ministry of Commerce and Industry will issue identification cards for real estate brokers. This step aims to end chaos in the concerned governmental bodies due to the existence of many expatriate real estate brokers. And this will also address the problems that citizens face in dealing with illegal real estate brokers as the identification card will be issued only to licensed brokers.
Political Events
  • Saudi Arabia accused Canada of interfering in its internal affairs after the Canadian foreign ministry stated that the Kingdom should release detained "civil society activists." Saudi Arabia has halted all new investments, cut flights and arranged for Saudi patients and students in the country to be moved. This diplomatic conflict will have an impact over long-term trade and business prospects between Saudi Arabia and Canada.
  • Two military F-15 jets were surged after a "suicidal" airline worker stole and crashed an empty passenger plane from the Seattle-Tacoma airport. Local authorities quickly ruled out terrorism as a motive for the incident and said the F-15s "were not involved in the crash."
  • The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts has partnered with Smart Dubai to create the world's first Court of Blockchain. The partnership is the first step in creating a blockchain-powered future for the judiciary which will have far-reaching benefits, including streamlining the judicial process, removing document duplications and driving greater efficiencies across the entire legal ecosystem.
  • UAE has launched a new initiative which will enable applicants to receive a six-month temporary residency without the need for a sponsor. The initiative will enable violators to pay to leave their sponsors and leave the country without a deprivation stamp.
Major Companies Transaction
  • Japan JERA Co, the world's biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) buyer, has entered into a sales and purchase memorandum of agreement on LNG supply with Abu Dhabi Gas Liquefaction Company Ltd. JERA, a fuel joint venture of Tokyo Electric Power Co and Chubu Electric Power Co, would buy up to eight cargoes of LNG, or up to 0.5 million tons per year of LNG, for three years starting April 2019.
  • Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), the largest sharia-compliant lender in Abu Dhabi, has hired international banks to arrange the sale of 750 MM USD in Islamic bonds. HSBC and JPMorgan have been hired as coordinators for the sukuk deal, while other banks will join the transaction at a later stage.
  • Emirates Investment Bank (EIBank), a top private bank in the UAE, has achieved a net profit of 11.81 MM AED (3.21 MM USD) in Q2-2018, compared to 8.86 MM AED (2.41 MM USD) in Q2-2017, marking a 33.3% growth. The bank net profit in H1-2018 was up 5.6% to 26.85 MM AED (7.3 MM USD) compared to 25.43 MM AED (6.9 MM USD) in H1-2017.
  • Dubai Metro Red and Green Lines lifted 103.292 million riders during H1-2018, compared to 100.558 million riders lifted in H1-2017. The Red Line has received 66.862 million riders, and the Green Line has accounted for 36.43 million riders. The Dubai Tram has attracted about 3.207 million riders.
  • In a bid to strengthen its reach in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, Lulu Group International, a highly diversified entity based in UAE has begun their operations in the Philippines by setting up its state-of-art- logistics and export centre in Laguna near capital Manila.
  • Saudi Aramco has teamed up with Mazda to develop more efficient engines as they seek to reduce their environmental impact. They will work with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) to boost engine efficiency and reduce carbon dioxide emissions
  • Saudi Real Estate Company (SREC) reported a 46.2% rise in profits amounted to 30.27 MM SAR (8 MM USD) in Q2-2018, compared to 20.71 MM SAR (5.5 MM USD) in Q2-2017. In H1-2018, profits grew by 5.17% to 74.9 MM SAR (19.9 MM USD) compared to 71.22 MM SAR (18.9 MM USD) in H1-2017.
  • Equate Group, a global producer of petrochemicals, reported in Q2-2018 its highest earnings in its history amounting to 427 MM USD, up 75% compared to Q2-2017. The total revenue scored 1.26 BN USD in Q2-2018, up 37.5 % compared to Q2- 2017.
  • Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), has increased its stake in Swiss bank Credit Suisse to 5.21%, becoming the largest investor in Switzerland Credit Suisse. The economy of Qatar has largely weathered the sanctions, which initially prompted QIA to deposit billions of dollars in local banks to prevent them from suffering funding squeezes.
  • Bahrain-based private equity firm Investcorp expects to make its first direct investments in China and India within 12 to 18 months as it increasingly widens its investment focus to Asia. The bulk of Investcorp investments since its launch in 1982 have been in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The company reported a 4% rise in net profit in 2017/2018 FY reaching 125 MM USD, driven by growth across all its business lines.
  • Reveal Industries Group, the leading investment and Australian-founded industrial group, announced the hosting of several international industry experts to train Egyptian technicians in the first factory in Egypt to manufacture school bags. The strategic plan is to provide high-quality products that suit local user requirements and competitive specifications achieving the Group's vision in the global, regional and export expansion plans for a number of countries.
Sports and Culture
  • The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) announced that Mohamed Salah has been shortlisted for the title of UEFA award for best Champions League forward, alongside the competition top scorer Christiano Ronaldo and Argentinian star Lionel Messi.
  • Business travelers in the US consider the UAE-based airline, Emirati airline, as "best quality", coming ahead British Airways, Delta, American Airlines, and Lufthansa. The Emirati airline has undergone major improvements in the last decade, which enabled it to grow bigger than some of its competitors.
  • A new sphinx 4,000 years old has been reportedly discovered in Upper Egypt. A big statue of a lion's body and a human head, similar to the iconic landmark near the Great Giza Pyramids, was unearthed during construction works for a new road in Luxor, linking the temples of Karnak and Luxor.
  • Sohag Governorate is preparing for a visit by President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi to inaugurate the Sohag National Museum, the largest project in over a quarter of a century to attract tourists to the governorate.
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