Issue  No. 186
06 Aygust 2018

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


       73.21 USD         1,212 USD


Economic Outlook
  • The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) deposits dropped 1.2% reaching 1.614 TR SAR (430.4 BN USD) in H1-2018 compared to 1.634 TR SAR (435.7 BN USD) in H1-2017. The deposit decrease was attributed to a 12.2% decline in saving deposits, registering 420.36 BN SAR in H1-2018, compared to 478.82 BN SAR in H1-2017.
  • Foreign remittances by expatriate workers in Saudi Arabia reached 10.6 BN SAR (2.82 BN USD) in June 2018 compared to 12.75 BN SAR (3.4 BN USD) in May 2018, marking a decrease of 16.9%. Remittances during June 2018 recorded a slight growth of 1.7% compared to June 2017, when the amount was about 10.43 BN SAR.
  • Saudi Arabia will spend around 1.8 BN SAR (490 MM USD) towards development of major water projects in Tabuk region. The most important three new projects are for drinking water and wastewater in Tayma, at a cost of 26.2 MM SAR (6.9 MM USD), recently inaugurated by Prince Fahd bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, the governor of Tabuk.
  • Hend Farrouh, the manager of Small Solar Energy Project Systems said that Egypt small solar energy projects are currently under implementation, to support the use of solar cells smaller than 500 KW. The implementation period of the project is five years and itis done through investments worth 3.5 MM USD, which is a grant from the Global Environment Facility, one of the funds of the United Nations (UN) to fund environmental projects.
  • Egypt plans to become a regional hub for the trade of liquefied natural gas after several major discoveries in the Mediterranean that are expected to make Egypt self-sufficient in gas by the end of 2018. The discoveries include the immense offshore Zohr gas field. The daily production capacity of Zohr stood at 1.6 billion cubic feet and would reach 2 billion cubic feet by September 2018.
  • The subsidies granted by the Kuwaiti government to citizens increased by 15% to 22 MM KWD (73 MM USD) in May 2018 compared to April 2018. The Kuwaiti citizens who hold the ration cards obtain a subsidy that accounts for 51.5% of the total subsidies provided in May 2018.
  • The Kuwaiti Minister of Social Affairs and State for Economic Affairs, Hind Al-Sabeeh, announced the signing of new agreements with Bangladesh, India, Philippines and Sri Lanka for the recruitment of domestic labor. Sabeeh revealed that a new online system is developed through an application that allows the employer to select the housemaid based on preferred nationality and age requirements.Moreover, the fees will also be paid via the application.
  • The Ministry of Finance announced that the State of Kuwait closing accounts recorded 16 BN KWD (53.3 BN USD) in revenue, 19.2 BN KWD (64 BN USD) in expenditure, and closed with a fiscal deficit of 4.8 BN KWD (16 BN USD) after accounting for the transfer of 10% of total revenue to the State Future Generations Fund (FGF) as mandated by law, for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2018.
  • In UAE, the demand for home health services increased by over 20% in summer 2018 compared to summer 2017. The summer in UAE is considered a holiday season, and most of the people in UAE choose to stay in the country, due to summer surprises on board. Americare Home Health Services; managed by NMC ProVoita International Medical Center witnessed an overall rise in demand for its services for their loved ones who are home-bound.
Political Events
  • Kuwait has granted women their full political and constitutional rights, making way for them to vote, run for elections and assume leadership positions. Kuwaiti women have also been keen to obtain their economic, cultural and social rights, as granted by the 1962 constitution and the "Rights of Motherhood and Childhood" in Article 9, as well as their protection from violence by the "Personal Status Law," and their right to run for elections and vote in civil societies and cooperative organizations.
  • The Kuwaiti ministry of interior sent around 500 expatriates to the deportation center for violating the residency law and committing crimes. The campaign aimed at enforcing the law and arresting criminals who were escaping from punishment. The ministry urged the public to cooperate with the police and to report those wanted by the security and judicial authorities.
  • Egyptian security forces killed five suspected militants in a shootout in Qalyubiya province, north of Cairo. The militants were members of the Hasm group who were instructed to conduct "terrorist operations aimed at destabilizing the country" by movement leaders abroad.
  • Three Saudi female legal consultants have contributed to the new draft law for pharmacies presented by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA). The new draft law suggests a 1000-meter distance from each direction between two pharmacies. Each company will be allowed to own only 30 pharmacies. Individual pharmacists can own only 5 pharmacies. The new draft law will also limit the online sale of medicines and control unauthorized selling of medical and herbal products.
Major Companies Transaction
  • Banque Misr announced that its small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) portfolio has surged by 134% y-o-y during 2017/2018 FY reaching 11 BN EGP (620 MM USD), compared to 4.7 BN EGP (260 MM USD) in 2016/2017 FY. It is worth noting that Banque Misr injects around 200 MM EGP monthly to support small projects.
  • Uber has announced that it will provide all drivers with an insurance product, injury protection, across Egypt in partnership with AXA Egypt, one of the world's most trusted insurers. Key to the product is the ability for drivers to be protected from the financial cost of injury, including medical expenses or lost earning opportunities when an accident takes place while driving on the Uber app, up to certain limits.
  • In Saudi Arabia, Wadi Grocery, the grocery app of e-commerce major has become the number one grocery app with a promise of 2-hour delivery from order to your doorstep, the app quickly became a consumer favorite in the region.This immense popularity is a result of Wadi Grocery App user-friendly interface and innovative attributes.
  • Majid Al Futtaim Group is planning to open 100 new branches of Carrefour Market across the governorates of Egypt. The UAE-based group will inaugurate the first new store in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia. The Middle East operator of French retailer Carrefour aims to boost investments in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Oman as part of its expansion plan in the region focusing on high demand markets like Egypt, the Arab world most populous country.
  • The Equate Group, a leading producer of petrochemicals based in Kuwait and the world second largest producer of Ethylene Glycol, has reported the highest earnings in Q2-2018 with total revenue reaching 1.26 BN USD, up 37.5% compared to Q2-2017. The group net income rose to 427 MM USD in H1-2018, up 75% compared to H1-2017. Moreover, it annually produces over 5 million tons of Ethylene, Ethylene Glycol (EG), Polyethylene and Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET).
  • Aviation Lease and Finance (Alafco) has awarded an auction offered by Kuwait Airways to purchase and release a Boeing B777-300ER aircraft worth 361.5 MM USD (110 MM KWD). The leasing contract has a duration of 12 years.
  • Depa Limited, a leading global interior solutions group, posted a revenue growth of 2% in H1-2018 reaching 852.2 MM AED (232 MM USD) compared to 834.6 MM AED (227.21 MM USD) in H1-2017. The net profit declined to 35.8 MM AED in H1-2018 compared to 113.3 MM AED in H1-2017, which had been positively impacted by the resolution of two major long outstanding receivables.
  • Assets of Islamic banks operating in the UAE amounted to 565 BN AED in H1-2018, a 6.7% growth compared to 35.5 BN AED (9.6 BN USD) in H1-2017. The noticeable growth in Sharia-compliant financial operations in the country reflects the significant development of this kind of banking products which has been enjoying impressive growth across the region over the past few years, with their assets accounting for 20.55% of total bank assets in UAE, valued at 2.749 TR AED in H1-2018.
Sports and Culture
  • The Saudi Arabian Mosaad Aldossary won the Belgian challenger Stefano Pinna 4-0 on total in the two-legged FIFA eWorld Cup Grand Final to walk away 250,000 USD richer. The 18-year-old gamer, who competes as 'MSDossary', also collected an invitation to the world soccer body's Best FIFA Football awards in September 2018 and a gleaming new trophy.
  • In Abu Dhabi, new speed limits will be raised from 60 km/ph to 80 km/ph and on highways from 120 km/ph to 140 km/ph. However, the Abu Dhabi Police have removed the 20 km/ph speed limit buffer allowed to motorists. This means once a motorist hits 81 km/ph on an 80 km/ph limit road, the radar will record it.
  • President Abdel Fattah El Sisi honored Egypt youth team with a world-class scientific success by winning the first and third place in the international finals of the remotely operated vehicles (ROV), which was recently held in Seattle, USA. The Egyptian team participated as one of five Arab teams to compete against more than 80 teams from around the world such as America, Russia, England, China, Japan, India, Indonesia, Turkey, Morocco and many Arab countries.
  • The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, MoCCAE, collaborated with Dubai Police and the Marine Environment Protection Association, in carrying out a rescue operation to return to the sea a juvenile whale shark that lost its way in Dubai Creek, near Al Jaddaf area.
_____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________
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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