Issue  No.77
07 June 2016

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


        51.12  USD          1,236  USD


    Economic Outlook
  • Fuel Prices are expected to rise by 4-5% in Jordanian domestic market in June. This forecast is based on the recovery in the price of Brent crude oil, which is a global benchmark, by approximately 14% in May. The increase in international price of oil is expected to influence the domestic market.
  • Egyptian government has signed 100 MM USD with Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development. The fund is assigned to finance the construction of five water desalination in South Sinai.
  • Jumia, the African online retailer has reported that Smartphone sales has been increased by 474% between 2014-2015. Moreover, the electronics category, especially smartphones are the most visited category online.
  • Egypt's central bank has kept the Egyptian pound fixed at an 8.78 USD disregarding of its devaluation in March 2016. The bank announced a policy of more flexible exchange rate but with a promise to keep the currency strong.
  • Jordan's unemployment rate reached 14.6% in Q1 2016. The rate is calculated as the highest in eight years which is assumed to be a challenge and a major concern for the new government.
  • The Ministry of Energy in Abu Dhabi increased fuel prices by around 4.5% in June due to recovery in global oil prices, rise in demand, and variety of supply especially from Nigeria. The new pricing policy was based on average monthly global diesel and petrol prices plus operating costs and profit margins of distributing companies.
  • In efforts to address a budget deficit, Oman's parliament voted to sharply raise taxes on three industries: petrochemical industry, and non-oil natural resources from 12 to 35%, and liquefied natural gas companies from 15 to 55%.
  • Due to Ramadan Umrah season, the expansions in Makah, and school holidays, the Saudi exchange market activities is expected to increase by 15%. The demand on foreign currencies is currently higher by 40% than the demand on the riyal. This is mainly due to the increase in the number of Saudis travelling abroad for holidays.
  • The increase in fuel prices is pushing up transportation costs and inflation in Oman.  Moreover, the consumer price index's transport component has jumped 5.56% in the first four months of 2016 after subsidies on petrol and diesel were removed.
  • Lebanon has increased the amount of public debt held in dollars by swapping local currency debt into 2 BN USD worth of Eurobonds; making 59% of Lebanon's public debt held in Lebanese lira and 41% held in US dollars, which will help reduce the average cost of interest on the exchanged bonds and will lengthen the average maturity.
  • Qatar's banking sector is facing liquidity pressure due to the rapid credit growth and the decline in deposits, especially public sector deposits. In efforts to address the liquidity pressure, the central bank might cut the repo rate or reduce reserves requirements. 
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