Issue  No. 209
14 January 2019

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


       60.48 USD         1,287 USD


Economic Outlook
  • Standard Chartered Bank ranked the Egyptian economy 7th on the list of the world top ten economies by 2030. The bank reported that the Egyptian economy expected size is about 8.2 TR USD and would be ahead of Russia, Japan, and Germany.
  • Egypt annual urban consumer price inflation fell sharply to 12.0% in December 2018 compared to 15.7% in November 2018. 
  • Egypt plans to issue 2 BN USD worth of Japanese yen denominated bonds in the coming week of January 2018. These bonds are called Samurai bonds and its goal is to repay debts of state oil company Egyptian General Petroleum Corp (EGPC).
  • The total losses of the Egyptian National Railways Authority amounted to 10 BN EGP in 2017/2018 which is accounted for 40% of the volume of losses of the 16 losing economic bodies which amounted to 23 BN EGP.
  • Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced that Egypt is looking forward to benefit from Germany experience in waste recycling as Germany is one of the leading countries in the world in this field.
  • Egyptian Banks will direct 50 BN EGP (2.79 BN USD) of funding to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in 2019, an 66.7% increase compared to 30 BN EGP (1.67 BN USD) directed towards the sector in 2018.
  • Saudi Arabia has launched a plan to Saudise 15,000 job opportunities in the telecommunications sector in 2019. In addition, in mid-December 2018, four Saudi bodies inked a deal to hire 40,000 Saudis in the healthcare sector.
  • Saudi Arabia trade surplus jumped 99.3% y-o-y in the first nine months of 2018 reaching 432.61 BN SAR (115.36 BN USD) from January to September compared to 217.11 BN SAR (57.9 BN USD) in the same period in 2017.
  • Saudi Arabia plans to set up a 10 BN USD oil refinery in Pakistan deep water port of Gwadar in order to attract investment and other financial support to tackle a soaring current account deficit caused partly by rising oil prices.
  • Qatar Investment Authority aims to raise investments in the US reaching 45 BN USD in the next two years as it rebalances its portfolio of assets away from Europe. The sovereign wealth fund has built up a huge European portfolio through stakes in companies including Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, London Stock Exchange and Volkswagen.
  • Qatar Petroleum has announced that it will launch the Localization Program for Services and Industries in the Energy Sector "TAWTEEN" which is an initiative to enhance localizing the sector's supply chain and expand the small and medium enterprises base.
  • The Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) announced that Kuwait current account surplus reached 2.1 BN KWD (6.9 BN USD) in Q3-2018. The surplus dropped by 18.6% registering 492.5 MM KWD (1.6 BN USD) in Q3-2018, compared to to 2.6 BN KWD (8.5 BN USD) in Q3-2017.
Political Events

  • US President Donald Trump daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump is reportedly being considered for the World Bank presidency due to the surprise departure announcement of the current president, Jim Yong Kim by the end of January 2019.
  • Egypt President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi visited Jordan King Abdullah II to strengthen bilateral relations in various fields and promote them to wider horizons.
  • Egypt blocked Palestinians from entering the country from Gaza on Tuesday 8th of January 2018 after Palestinian Authority (PA) personnel pulled out of the Rafah border crossing and Hamas officers took their place.
  • In Kuwait, General Department for Residency Affairs affiliated to Ministry of Interior has issued new regulations concerning visit visas of different types. Expatriates can apply for visit visas for their parents provided their monthly salaries are not less than 500 KWD.
Major Companies Transaction
  • From January 20-22, 2019, Business France will be hosting two national pavilions with 18 French experts at Intersec Dubai, the largest international meeting platform for the Security and Safety industry. Intersec looking for a unique platform for companies looking to expand in the Middle East and Africa markets.
  • Mashreq Bank, the UAE leading financial institution, has rolled out a service that allows customers to instantly add their credit cards to Samsung Pay via Snapp, enabling them to make easy, fast and secure payments.
  • In Saudi Arabia, Alawwal bank has partnered with leading global tech firm Reaktor to train its entire workforce on the basics of artificial intelligence (AI) hopping to lead the region's financial services industry in adopting a technology estimated to contribute 320 BN USD (11%) to the Middle East GDP by 2030.
  • Saudi Aramco announced that it has revised the price of Octane-95 gasoline from 2.04 SAR to 2.02 SAR per liter effective from January 12th, 2019. The price of Octane-91 grade will remain unchanged at 1.37 SAR per liter.
  • Saudi Arabia Energy Ministry has reportedly awarded a contract for 500 MM USD (1.9 BN SAR) Dumat Al Jandal wind power project to a consortium comprising France EDF Energies Nouvelles and Abu Dhabi Masdar.
  • Aramex, the leading global provider of comprehensive logistics and transportation solutions, announced the acquisition of Saudi TAL for Commerce and Contract Company Ltd (Saudi TAL), for approximately 80 MM USD.
  • Air Arabia Egypt started its new direct flights connecting Sharm El Sheikh to Amman, the capital city of Jordan. The one-hour flight operates twice a week, every Sunday and Wednesday.
  • Madinet Nasr Housing and Development (MNHD) announced it has generated 5.5 BN EGP in contracts and reservations in 2018. The company positive performance was mainly driven by Taj City project sales reaching 2.6 BN EGP and Sarai's sales registering 2.3 BN EGP, by delivering 788 units in 2018.
  • Qatar National Bank (QNB), the largest bank by assets in the Middle East and Africa, is raising a 2 BN EUR (2.29 BN USD) syndicated loan in order to replace a 2.25 BN EUR (1.96 BN USD) denominated loan obtained in May 2016 which matures in May 2019.
  • Hamad International Airport (HIA) announced the launch of the airport safety week campaign from 13th January to 17th January 2019 in order to raise awareness on aviation safety standards and ensure best industry practices among HIA staff and stakeholders.
  • Kuwait International Bank is currently offering non-profit medical financing up to 15,000 KWD, in cooperation with Quttainah Medical Center. With this offer, the Bank provides customers with the best medical services through flexible financing solutions for a maximum of 36 months.
  • The Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) is holding final consultations to launch the long-awaited project to generate power through solar energy to extract heavy oil at the giant Ritqa field to produce heavy Fars oil.
Sports and Culture
  • Egyptian striker Mohamed Salah has received the Excellent Arab Sportsman prize after he was named the Arab Player of the Year for 2018 in UAE. Moreover, Salah won the Confederation of African Football's (CAF) Best African Footballer of 2018 prize for the second consecutive year.
  • The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) has chosen five governorates to host the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. The five governorates are Cairo, Alexandria, Ismailia, Port Said and Suez. Cairo is to host two groups, while the other four governorates will host one group each.
  • Saudi Arabia and Qatar will meet in the AFC Asian Cup 2019 on Thursday 17th of January 2019. This football match is expected to be more than a clash of football cultures with geopolitics set to play out on the field.
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