Issue  No.62
22 February 2016

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


          33.01  USD           1,216  USD


    Economic Outlook
  • Amid falling oil prices, Standard & Poor's (S&P) has downgraded the credit rating for Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, and other large oil producing countries. Where Saudi Arabia's rating was cut from A+ to A-, Bahrain's investment grade dropped from BBB- to BB, while Oman's rating downgraded from BBB+ to BBB-.
  • Egypt's Central Bank has raised the cap on foreign currency deposits at banks to reach 1 MM USD for exporting companies after raising it last month to reach 250,000 USD.
  • Jordan's exports revenues have been witnessing a decline by 35-40% as the region started witnessing political instability and fuel prices dropped. It is worth mentioning that the kingdom used to receive 5 BN USD in revenue from free zone products where Iraq's market alone used to contribute with around 2.5 BN USD.
  • According to the Chairman of the New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA), the Egyptian government is planning to remove the subsidy on electricity entirely by 2019.
  • To finance its budget deficit caused by low oil prices, the Saudi Arabian government is planning to start issuing floating rate bonds to encourage local banks to buy its debt.
  • 3 MM visitors have visited Qatar in 2015, according to Qatar Tourism Authority, and the country is planning to increase the number to reach 4 MM by 2020 supported by 45 BN USD worth of sector investments.
  • Government-backed Money and Credit Council approved a cut in Iranian commercial banks' deposit rates, after the sanctions have been removed. The deposit rate was cut from 20% to 18%. It's important to note that this fall in the rate is expected to encourage the public to invest and assist in enhancing the economy.
  • According to the Monster Employment Index (MEI), UAE is the best performing market in the region. The number of job opportunities posted online increased by 45% over the last year till January 2016. It's worthy to mention that those employment opportunities are mainly from non-oil sectors such as consumer goods, health care, retail, food & packed food, home appliances, and garments.
  • The head of the Egyptian central bank announced that the bank is not taking any steps to devaluate its currency until the foreign reserves increase to 25-30 BN USD up from the current 16.48 BN USD.
  • In a move to meet the requirements of the International Monetary Fund on government finance statistics, The UAE's ministry of finance announced that Dubai's financial system has been electronically linked to that of the federal government.
  • Iran's oil minister announced that both Oman and Iran are willing to have closer ties and shared investments in the energy sector. It is worth mentioning that, the most important shared project between them was a planned undersea gas pipeline to connect Iran's vast gas reserves to Omani liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plants.
  • According to a new report by the research firm STR Global, the Middle East witnessed a 50.4% y-o-y rise in hotel rooms under construction. It is worthy to note that the region had 251 hotels featuring 80,350 rooms under construction and 538 hotels with 151,771 rooms under contract last month.
  • According to Oman's central bank, Yields have jumped at an auction of domestic Oman government bonds this week showing pressure on banking system liquidity due to low oil prices. It is worth mentioning that, the government sold five-year development bonds at 100 MM OMR (260 MM USD) at an average yield of 4.32%.
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