Issue  No.175
14 May 2018

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


       76.98 USD         1,320 USD


Economic Outlook
  • The Egyptian ministry of transportation decided to change the mechanism and pricing of Cairo Metro. The ticket prices, which was previously set at 2 EGP, will now start from 3 EGP for nine stations, 5 EGP for 16 stations, and for a longer journey tickets will cost 7 EGP. Taking into consideration the social aspect, subscribers to monthly, quarterly, and annual passes will still receiving a cheaper ticket, ranging from 2 EGP to 3.9 per trip.
  • Egypt annual urban consumer price inflation decreased marginally to 13.1% year-on-year in April from 13.3% in March.
  • Agriculture Minister Abdel Moneim Al-Banna declared that Egypt has procured 70% of the 4 million tons it aims to buy from farmers in this year's local wheat harvest. It is worth noting that Egypt, the world's largest importer of wheat, generally buys wheat from its own farmers from mid-April through July and it already purchased around 2.8 million tons.
  • The United Arab Emirates introduction of value-added tax has gone smoothlythe 5% VAT rate imposed was a big shift in a country that traditionally had minimal taxation. Annual consumer price inflation has jumped to 4.8% in January 2018, the highest since 2015, but dropped back to 3.4% in March 2018.
  • Qatar was ranked the 1st among Arab countries and the 2nd in the World behind only South Korea in terms of engagement with mobile services and applications for a second year in a row. Qatar reached the highest score 6.0 on the GSMA Global Mobile Engagement Index (GMEI).
  • In Saudi Arabia, Qassim Governor Prince Faisal bin Mishaal and the Minister of Transport Nabeel Al-Amudi inaugurated transportation projects in the region with a value more than 800 MM SAR (213.35 MM USD). The objective is to connect roads and build eight bridges. The ministry has undertaken 41 projects in Qassim at a cost of more than 4 BN SAR (1.07 BN USD).
  • Since the UAE is China's top investment destination in this region and China is the biggest trade partner of the UAE, Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the International Financial Centre in Abu Dhabi has launched its first representative office in Beijing, capital of the People's Republic of China.
  • Bupa Arabia for cooperative insurance succeeded in achieving over 70% Saudization rate of its workforce. It is worth mentioning that Bupa Arabia women workforce represents 35% of their total workforce. It will continue to employ Saudi talents in light of its significant development and growth.
  • Saudi banks plan U.S. dollar bonds issuance after the Saudi government has been borrowing on international markets within the past two years after the slump in oil prices. Three major commercial banks have started preparing for the issuance; namely are: Riyad Bank, the kingdom's fourth-largest bank by assets, National Commercial Bank (NCB), the largest lender and Samba Financial Group.
  • Housing market in Kuwait have shown signs of recovery since the beginning of 2018 supported by government funded infrastructure projects. The commercial sector has seen increased demand and active contract bidding in areas such as Hawally, Salmiya, Jleeb Al-Shuyokh and Mubarkiya.
Political Events
  • President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi welcomed Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni emphasizing the depth of the decades-long relations between Egypt and Uganda. The objective of the visit was mainly to discuss the Nile water issue and the importance of enhancing cooperation between the Nile basin countries to achieve the goals of sustainable development and the implementation of what was agreed upon during the Nile Basin Summit held in Entebbe in 2017 on the sustainable use of water resources in the Nile Basin.
  • Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Kuwait has made a decision to reduce the charges for entry visas to Saudi Arabia for Indians and Indonesians. The new charges after visa reduction are: 305 SAR for a single-entry visa, 550 SAR for a multiple-entry and 1,100 SAR for the annual visa.
  • Kuwaiti Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) has adopted a new set of regulations constituting 46 articles, which identifies the technique of allowing work permits in civil and oil sectors.The regulations address women permission to work at night in hotels, law firms, entertainment parks, airlines, health, and oil sectors.
Major Companies Transaction
  • China GCL Group has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Egypt ministry of military production to build a solar panel facility at a cost of up to 2 BN USD. The facility will manufacture panels capable of producing 5 gigawatts (GW) annually. Egypt aims to meet 20% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2022.
  • Waha Capital PJSC, a leading investment company based in Abu Dhabi (ADX: WAHA), has reported a 22.6% increase in Q1-2018 net profit to 107 MM AED, driven by a strong performance by the company asset management division. Total income in Q1-2018 has increased 18.9% y-o-y to 316.2 MM AED.
  • Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) shipped about two million barrels of crude oil to the Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd (ISPRL)an Indian government-owned company authorized to store crude oil for strategic needs, to locate 5.86 million barrels of ADNOC crude oil at the Karnataka facility in the Indian city of Mangalore. Indian energy demand is forecasted to grow throughout the years up to 2040.
  • Vodafone Qatar is supplying New Salata and the Industrial Area with full-fibre network to handle speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per second (1Gbps). This step will turn Qatar into one of the most connected and technologically advanced countries in the world.
  • The Kuwaiti Mobile Telecommunications (Zain) stated high revenues and low exchange rate losses in Q1-2018. The Kuwaiti mobile operator recorded an increase in profits by 7% y-o-y, from 38.23 MM KWD (127 MM USD) to 40.9 MM KWD (135.86 MM USD) between January and March 2018.
  • French energy group Total signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the government of Oman to develop natural gas resources in the Gulf state. The project is expected to have initial production of around 500 million cubic feet of gas per day, rising to a potential of 1 bcf/d. Total and Shell as operator will develop several natural gas discoveries located in the Greater Barik area on onshore Block 6 with respective shares of 25% and 75%.
Sports and Culture
  • Mohamed Salah wins the Premier League Golden Boot for 2017/2018 after finishing the season with 32 goals from his 36 appearances. In addition, Salah set a new Premier League record for the highest number of goals by one player in a single 38-game campaign, surpassing the previous record of 31 goals achieved by Luiz Suarez, Alan Shearer and Cristiano Ronaldo.
  • Zainab Mohammed, Chief Property Management and Marketing Officer at Wasl Properties, has won the 'Emirates Women Award' for the second time during the 15th edition of the program under the slogan 'Wisdom, Goodness and Tenderness', for her outstanding contributions to the development of Dubai real estate sector, as well as her exceptional team leadership skills.
  • Saudi Arabia participated in Cannes Film Festival 2018 during its 71st edition on May 8 as part of the country plan to develop its cinema industry. The Saudi Film Council aimed to present the kingdom movie production capabilities and filming locations, as well as enabling the movie producers of the country to build networks with international filmmakers.
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Tel:  +97142820301

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