Issue  No. 240
26 August 2019

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


       58.34 USD         1,527 USD


Economic Outlook
  • Egypt Ministry of Finance could revise down its growth projections to 6% from 6.5% due to the global economic slowdown. The budget factored in average global growth at 3.3%, but this looks increasingly unlikely as global conditions continue to deteriorate.
  • The Central Bank of Egypt cut the overnight deposit rate by 150 basis points to 14.25%, its first cut since February 2019, after July inflation figures came in significantly below expectations. The overnight lending rate was cut by 150 basis points to 15.25%.
  • Egyptian banks' international assets increased recording 19 BN USD in July 2019, compared to 16 BN USD in June 2019. The increase is apparently due to increased remittances as well as Suez Canal, tourism and export revenues.
  • The Saudi government is placing emphasis on the health care sector and has allocated a substantial budget to it in 2019, amounting to 172 BN SAR (46.3 BN USD). Furthermore, the Ministry of Finance has been approving soft loans for private medical establishments including multi-disciplined health facilities.
  • Saudi Arabia and Bahrain topped the list of Gulf countries with FDI inflows of 3.2 BN USD and 1.5 BN USD, respectively noting that Saudi Arabia accounted for the majority of FDI into Bahrain.
  • Saudi Arabia sold 2.3 BN SAR (613 MM USD) in sukuk, or Islamic bonds, in its local monthly issue for July 2019. The debt sale was split into three tranches of 1.4 BN SAR due in 2024, 258 MM SAR due in 2028 and 588 MM SAR maturing in 2034.
  • The number of businesses choosing Ajman Free Zone (AFZ) to locate their operations continues to increase in H1-2019 with 8.23%. The total number now stands around 8,000 companies.
  • Total foreign assets of the Central Bank of UAE (CBUAE) increased by 11.1% y-o-y or 37 BN AED (10 BN USD) in July 2019. The bank's foreign assets valued at 369.3 BN AED (100.5 BN USD) in July 2019 compared to 332.31 BN AED (90.5 BN USD) in July 2018.
  • Qatar Ports Management Company (Mwani) will enter an investment partnership with Somalia to construct a new seaport at Somalia's Hobyoin East Africa fiercely challenged by Gulf rivals.
Political Events
  • Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi arrived in the French city of Biarritz on Saturday morning to participate in the G7 summit, at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron to address various issues including international security, combating terrorism and extremism and confronting the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes in Egypt.
  • UAE Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has started the policy making procedures to impose taxes on pre-cautionary goods and tax rates. The selective tax will be expanded to include electronic smoking devices, liquids, sweetened beverages, tobacco and its products, energy drinks, and soft drinks on which the selective tax was introduced in October 2017.
Major Companies Transaction
  • State-owned Banque du Caire (BdC) will go ahead with its anticipated Initial Public Offering (IPO) by the end of 2019 or early 2020. BdC is planning to sell 30-40% of its shares through a capital increase and selling a stake owned by the government. Noting that the stake sale could make the bank raise between 300-400 MM USD.
  • Prime Holding and Pharos released statements announcing that they had failed to reach a final acquisition agreement. Prime Holding's bid to acquire Pharos' securities brokerage and investment banking arms has come to an end after acquisition talks collapsed.
  • Al Baraka Bank Egypt, the investment arm of Al Baraka Banking Group, continued in achieving outstanding financial results, where the Bank achieved a net profit of 538 MM EGP (32.7 MM USD) in H1-2019, an increase of 31% compared to H1-2018.
  • Emaar Misr for Development, an Egyptian unit of the Dubai-based real estate firm Emaar Properties, announced signing a contract valued at 1.84 BN EGP (112.22 MM USD) with UAE Arabtec Construction for the establishment of two urban projects at Uptown Cairo in Mokattam.
  • Saudi-based Arabian Centers Company is expecting to start the operation of the shopping mall in Egypt Mansoura in 2021. Arabian Centers disclosed its financial results for Q2-2019, which showed a 180.37% y-o-y profit hike.
  • Hilton continues to expand its presence in Saudi Arabia with the opening of DoubleTree by Hilton Makkah Jabal Omar featuring 448 rooms and 228 suites as well as a host of other amenities and dining outlets.
  • Blue Tie Global Pvt. Ltd, a new age professional networking platform that focuses on objective driven networking, announced the launch of its application for Android and IOS devices in UAE.
  • Mubadala Investment Company, through its healthcare arm, signed an MoU with Nirvana Travel and Tourism to collaborate on projects that will support Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 objective of establishing the emirate as a leading medical tourism destination.
  • Qatar Petroleum for the Sale of Petroleum Products Company (QPSPP), has recently concluded a 5-year sale agreement with ExxonMobil Trading Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd. (EXTAP), a division of ExxonMobil Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd. based in Singapore.
  • Alargan International Real Estate has signed a banking facility contract valued at 66.5 MM KWD (218.6 MM USD) with a local bank. The agreement comes in line with Alargan's efforts in regulating and coordinating its financial structure as well as the redistribution of risks related to its debt instruments.

Sports and Culture
  • The Turkish player Shkodran Mustafi and the Egyptian national team player Mohamed Elneny set to leave Arsenal before end of European transfer window after being told they are surplus to requirements under Unai Emery.
  • Egypt Red Sea Mountain Trail has been included among TIME's World's Greatest Places for 2019. The Red Sea Mountain Trail is a 170 km, one-of-a-kind, long-distance hiking trail in the Egyptian Sinai desert launched earlier in 2019.
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