Issue  No. 242
09 September 2019

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


       61.54 USD         1,507 USD


Economic Outlook
  • Egypt Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly launched a project that will replace tuk-tuks with minivans that run on natural gas in order to be a safer method of transportation. 
  • Foreign reserves increased slightly to 44.97 BN USD in August 2019 compared to 44.91 BN USD in July 2019. The small increase comes despite the IMF forwarding the final 2 BN USD tranche of the 12 BN USD extended facility at the beginning of September 2019.
  • The Egyptian government will launch soon an electronic platform for investors to buy industrial land amid efforts to promote transparency and fair competition in the sector. The government is also working on simplifying customs procedures to release goods at ports as part of a strategy to promote trade.
  • Up to 80% of the 1.1 million Suez Canal certificates of deposit (CDs) holders reinvested their returns into other savings products after the CDs matured.
  • Saudi Arabia is expected to see very limited growth in 2019 at only 0.5%, reflecting renewed oil production cuts by OPEC+, which the Kingdom has spearheaded in order to stabilize international oil prices.
  • Saudi Arabia aims to be an arm exporting country by becoming one of the top 25 military companies by 2030 and is looking to fulfill the large domestic demand for military equipment.
  • Saudi dates exports have registered a 27% increase in H1-2019, as the total exports during the period have already reached 574 MM SAR (153 MM USD), compared to the total dates exports in 2018 which reached 758 MM SAR (202 MM USD).
  • UAE Central Bank has asked banks in the country to hire more Emiratis as part of the Emiratisation strategy for the banking and insurance sectors in the country. In April 2019, UAE Central Bank set a target of 29,736 points to be achieved by banks operating in UAE by the end of 2019.
  • UAE Minister of Energy and Industry Suhail al-Mazrouei stated that OPEC and non-OPEC producers are "committed" to achieve oil market balance, when asked about possible deeper cuts to production levels.
  • The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) has announced that it is aiming to attract more Russian visitors in 2019 as an increasing number of tourists from the country continue in visiting the emirate.
  • Qatar Central Bank sold 600 MM QAR (165 MM USD) of treasury bills in an auction. A total of 300 MM QAR (82.3 MM USD) worth of three-month T-bills were sold at 1.96%, 200 MM QAR (54.9 MM USD) worth of six-month T-bills were sold at 1.98%- and 100-MM QAR (27.5 MM USD) of nine-month T-bills were sold at 2.01%.
Political Events
  • Saudi Arabia King Salman Bin Abdulaziz named his son Prince Abdulaziz as the country's new energy minister, replacing Khalid Al-Falih, who led three years of active OPEC diplomacy to forge a global alliance with producers such as Russia to limit production in order to prop up prices.
  • Pakistan will buy 36 Dassault Mirage-V combat jets from Egypt as tensions with India rise over disputed territory in Kashmir. The contract has been in the works for years, but recent events have given Pakistan an additional push to sign.
Major Companies Transaction
  • Egypt National Organization for Military Production signed an MoU with China Geely Company to manufacture electric cars in partnership with El Nasr automotive in Egypt.
  • Palm Hills Development's (PHD) net profit increased 3% to 451.47 MM EGP (27.37 MM USD) in H1-2019 compared to 439.9 MM EGP (26.67 MM USD) in H1-2018. The increase in net profit came despite revenues for the period falling 25% to 2.5 BN EGP (151.57 MM USD).
  • Abou Ghaly Motors, Ezz El Arab, and German Auto Service will be added to the Mercedes-Benz Egypt retail network in the Greater Cairo Area. The Mercedes-Benz Egypt authorized dealers' network will consist of 11 showrooms and service centers around the country.
  • Schneider Electric Egypt has invested 20 MM EUR (365 MM EGP) in its Badr City facility to double its production and increase regional exports. Schneider Electric exports 30-40% of its production to 12 MENA countries. It uses 40-70% local components in its products, which it aims to increase in 2020.
  • Egyptian digital payments company Fawry plans to expand into UAE by the end of 2019 and also hopes to enter Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in 2020.
  • Alkhabeer Capital, a prominent asset management company specializing in alternative investments, has increased its paid-up capital by 81.3 MM SAR (21.67 MM USD), a 10% increase to 894.5 MM SAR (238.46 MM USD).
  • Saudi Arabia Derayah Financial has closed the Derayah Real Estate Income Fund III (REIF III), the fund invests in a number of real estate assets in the Kingdom with a total asset of 580 MM SAR (157.28 MM USD).
  • Almarai Company plans to raise its sales to 30% in new destinations by 2025 noting that the company has a strong customer base and major shareholders.
  • Aldar Properties launched its first residential community in the heart of Saadiyat Island, Saadiyat Reserve. The 722 MM AED (196.55 MM USD) community features 306 infrastructure enabled land plots open to buyers of all nationalities.
  • UAE-based financial services group Shuaa Capital will sell SHUAA Securities brokerage and market-making businesses in UAE to IHC RSC, a subsidiary of International Holdings Company (IHC), pending regulatory approvals.
  • Leading UAE developer Miral announced that more than 40% of construction work has been completed on phase one of its 625 MM AED (17M USD) project coming up on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
  • Aventicum Capital Management Qatar (ACMQ), part of a joint venture between Credit Suisse and the Qatar Investment Authority, had acquired selected funds and mandates from Qatari asset manager Amwal LLC.

Sports and Culture
  • Egyptian Liverpool player Mohamed Salah has been included in the FIFA FIFPro World11 candidates list, which includes 55 nominations for 2019. Salah, who plays right wing, won the 2019 UEFA Champions League, and holds two top-scorer awards for the Premier League in the last two seasons.
  • The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) is allowing up to 20k fans to attend today's Zamalek-Pyramids Egypt Cup final match at Borg El Arab stadium and began selling tickets on yesterday.
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