Issue  No. 222
15 April 2019

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


       71.55 USD         1,287 USD


Economic Outlook
  • Egypt budget deficit declined to 4.9% of GDP in the first eight months of 2018/2019 recording 259.7 BN EGP, compared to 5.8% in the same period last year. Revenues grew 23% in the first eight months of 2018/2019, while the expenses grew 14.8% in the same period.
  • Egypt has signed an agreement with Euroclear, Europe's biggest settlement house for securities, to allow holders of its sovereign debt to clear transactions outside the country beginning in 6 months' time.
  • Egypt state grain buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) bought 240,000 tons of wheat in an international tender to be sourced from Romania and Ukraine.
  • Egypt General Authority for Investment (GAFI) is planning to launch three investment areas and five free zones during 2019. The projected investment areas will be located in El-Saf City, Banha, and Mit Ghamr.
  • UAE will be operating its latest Boeing 777-300ER aircraft fitted with the 'Game Changer' First Class suites from Dubai to Riyadh starting from 16 April 2019 and Kuwait starting from 1 June 2019.
  • The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTD) announced that UAE will emerge biggest beneficiary among the GCC states and 13th worldwide as it will get benefits of 425 MM USD due to higher exports to one of the biggest European economy.
  • The use of e-government services in Saudi Arabia increased to 56.7% in 2018, compared to 51% in 2017. The rate of individual use of e-government services revealed that 59.8% of citizens used them, while the use by expats hit 51.6%.
  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that Omani economy is recovering, given the increase in the growth rate of the country's non-hydrocarbon GDP and the decline in the fiscal deficit which declined to 9% of GDP in 2018, compared to 13.9% GDP in 2017, following the increase in oil revenue, adding that deficit would reach 8% in 2019.
Political Events
  • Sudan second new military leader, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, vowed to "uproot" deposed president Omar al-Bashir's regime and release all prisoners jailed by special emergency courts, in a bid to calm demonstrators demanding civilian rule.
  • President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with Libyan National Army Commander Marshal Khalifa Hafer in order to discuss developments in Libya while Sisi stressed Egypt keenness for the unity, stability and security of Libya.
Major Companies Transaction
  • Elsewedy Electric, the leading Wires & Cables and Integrated Energy Solution Provider in the Middle East and Africa, announced that its subsidiary Elsewedy Electric for Trading & Distribution has signed a new contract to build the industrial district substation of Port Said in Egypt. The turnkey agreement is on an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) basis with a total value of 550 MM EGP.
  • Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF) is in talks with banks to raise a short-term bridge loan of 8 BN USD to use for new investments. The sovereign wealth fund finalized a deal last month to sell its 70% stake in Saudi Basic Industries (Sabic) to Saudi Aramco for 69.1 BN USD.
  • Ring, a company on a mission to reduce crime in neighborhoods, announced its participation in Intersec Saudi Arabia 2019. Ring will use the Intersec platform to promote its innovative home security products and services.
  • Saudi Aramco raised the local price for Octane 95 gasoline to 2.10 SAR from 2.02 SAR in Q1-2019 and Octane 91 to 1.44 SAR from 1.37 SAR per liter.
  • Emirates NBD sold 15% of the IPO of Network International, the largest payment-processing firm across the Middle East and Africa, to Citigroup Global Markets Limited. The gross proceeds from the sale amounted to 66.55 MM AED.
  • HSBC opened the first digital branch in Qatar in Msheireb Downtown Doha offering a seamless digital experience and reinforcing Msheireb status as the world's smartest and most sustainable city district.
  • The National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) reported a net profit of 107.7 MM KWD (354.1 MM USD) in Q1-2019, which increased by 15.1% in Q1-2018, with total assets increasing by 2.4% y-o-y to reach 27.4 BN KWD (90.1 BN USD).
Sports and Culture
  • A spectacular strike from Mohamed Salah helped Liverpool maintain their two-point lead over Manchester City in the Premier League title race with a crucial 2-0 win over Chelsea at Anfield. City won 3-1 at Crystal Palace earlier meaning Liverpool have 85 points with four games to go and City are on 83 with an additional match to play.
  • Five times world champion Lewis Hamilton returned to the top of the Formula One standings with a comfortable victory in China by winning the 1,000th world championship race since the first in 1950.
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