Issue  No. 181
03 July 2018

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


       79.41 USD         1,246 USD


Economic Outlook
  • The Egyptian government announced the construction of its first nuclear power plant, to be built by Russia and will begin in the next two to two-and-a-half years. The 4,800 megawatt (MW) capacity plant at Dabaa in the north of the country, aims to be up and running by 2026.
  • Egyptian exports to Russia increased by 41% reaching 284 MM USD during the first four months of this year compared to 201 MM USD during the same period in 2017. This growth is due to the increase of exports of vegetables and fruits by 42.5% to reach 233.7 MM USD. The exports of vegetables and fruit represented more than 82% of total Egyptian commodity exports to the Russian Federation markets.
  • Dubai attractiveness among the global workforce is growing and the emirate has now been ranked among the world's top 10 most attractive cities where professionals want to move in search of greener pastures. The emirate is rated more attractive than Los Angeles, Paris, Sydney, Toronto, Vienna, Singapore and Hong Kong, among others. Dubai growing attractiveness is measured by important factors like falling cost of living, multicultural environment, low taxation and income tax-free salaries.
  • Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are estimated to contribute 40% to Dubai GDP and employ 42% of the total workforce.
  • Saudi Arabia GDP, adjusted for inflation, increased by 1.2% in Q1-2018 compared to 0.8% decline in Q1-2017.
  • Saudi Arabia merchandise exports increased reaching 17.5% in Q1-2018, compared to Q1-2017. The kingdom merchandise exports reached 243.71 BN SAR in Q1-2018, compared to 207.37 BN SAR in Q1-2017. Saudi exports consist of oil and non-oil exports.
  • Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency foreign assets rose by 13.4% on a monthly basis in April 2018 to reach 506 BN USD, which is considered the largest monthly increase since 2013. The rise in foreign assets is diversified. Domestic and foreign bonds contributed to strengthening reserves after having fallen to less than 480 BN USD in May 2018.
  • Kuwait GDP increased by 1.6% at constant prices in Q1-2018 compared to Q1-2017. The oil sector contributed 48.4% to the Gulf state's economy in Q1-2018, that increased by 44.5% compared to Q1-2017.
  • In Kuwait, the rents of deluxe commercial real estate have returned to the levels witnessed in 2008, which were the highest so far. The monthly rent in Q1-2018 reached 14 KWD per square meter in the distinctive buildings in the city, which is a 100% increase compared to the 2012 figures. The occupancy rates of commercial office spaces of Class A category have reached a record high of 95% compared to 60% in 2011.
  • In Kuwait, the banking sector comprising 10 banks achieved noticeable growth in its net profits in Q1-2018 compared to Q1-2017. The profits of Q1-2018 scored 228.9 MM KWD an increase by 32.9 MM KWD or 16.8% compared to 196 MM KWD in Q1-2017.
  • Iraq is planting 70,000 date palms in south of Baghdad, hoping to revive production of a crop it was famed for across the Middle East. The country once produced three-quarters of the world's dates but now accounts for just 5% after it switched its economic focus to oil and after decades of conflict devastated its farms.
  • In Jordan, the deficit in the trade balance decreased by 5% in H1-2018, driven by an 4% increase in the value of national exports amounting to 1.333 MM JOD and a 2.5% decrease in imports. The value of total exports during Q1-2018 amounted to 1.660 MM JOD, an increase of 2.3% compared to Q1-2017.
  • The World Bank decided to extend 500 MM USD in concessional and non-concessional financing to support Jordan ongoing reforms to improve the economy and business climate by reducing business costs, fostering competition and increasing exports.
Political Events
  • Jordan King Abdullah swore in a new government led by a former World Bank economist and mandated to review a doubtful tax system after widespread protests against IMF-driven austerity measures. Thousands of Jordanians took to the streets in Amman and in provincial towns against a series of tax rises since the start of 2018.
  • Nearly 400 refugees began leaving the Lebanese border town of Arsal to cross into Syria, a rare case of returns which Lebanon government wants to encourage. Lebanese Foreign minister Gebran Bassil visited Arsal to press for more returns.
  • Two relief planes were dispatched by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre carrying food and shelter materials to Aden, Yemen, in preparation for transporting them to Hodeidah province. This is the first Saudi airlift to the Yemeni people.
  • Iraq execute 12 people convicted of terrorism hours after Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called for speedy executions in response to the kidnapping and killing of eight members of the security forces. The militants had kidnapped members of Iraq security forces and showed six of them in a video posted online, threatening to kill them within three days if the government did not release female Sunni prisoners.
Major Companies Transaction
  • Veolia, a global leader in optimized resource management based in France, has been awarded a contract by Egyptian Electricity Holding Company to construct and set up water and wastewater treatment plants for Assiut Super critical Power Plant and Cairo West Power Plant. Veolia was awarded due to its extensive experience in the power generation market both in Egypt and across the wider Middle East region.
  • A framework agreement between the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Saudi Aramco (Aramco) and a consortium of three Indian oil companies was signed to explore a strategic partnership and co-investment in the development of a new 44 BN USD mega refinery and petrochemicals complex at Ratnagiri, on India west coast.
  • ADIB Securities, the brokerage subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), a leading financial institution, has launched services for clients to trade equities on US markets, including the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ. The new offering will enable customers to buy and sell Sharia'-compliant stocks through ADIB Securities' digital and traditional trading channels.
  • In Saudi Arabia, the Economic Cities Authority (ECA) and the Saudi Center for Commercial Arbitration (SCCA) have signed an MoU in support of the institutional arbitration industry in the economic cities and in the Kingdom as a whole. These relationships will enable the provision of effective alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services that go hand-in-hand with investors' aspirations.
Sports and Culture
  • Female Egyptian athletes have won 10 medals in the Mediterranean Games that was held in Tarragona, Spain from 22nd of June to 1st of July. The 10 medals include Farida Osman winning one silver medal for the women's 100-metre butterfly swimming event and two gold medals.
  • Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) announced that Al-Ahsa Oasis in the Eastern Province has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Al-Ahsa Oasis is the fifth Saudi site to join UNESCO's World Heritage list following Madain Saleh (2008), Tarif neighborhood in Diriyah (2010), Historic Jeddah (2014), and the Rock art in the Hail region (2015).
  • The UAE Athletics Federation announced the names of the 16 competitors nominated to represent the UAE at the West Asian Athletics Federation Championship, which will take place in the Jordanian Capital, Amman, from 8th to 11th July, 2018, with the participation of 12 countries.
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Cairo Office:
Z epter Office Building  S5-6 ,  Area 5, District 1, 5th Settlement,  New Cairo, Egypt.  P.O. Box:  1147
Dubai Office:
Office No. N 415, North Tower, Emirates Financial Towers, DIFC, P.O Box 506726, Dubai, UAE.
Tel:  +97142820301

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