Issue  No.174
07 May 2018

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


       75.55 USD         1,314 USD


Economic Outlook
  • The Egyptian Central Bank announced that net foreign reserves have increased to 44.030 BN USD in April from 42.611 BN USD in March. Foreign reserves have been increasing since the country secured a 12 BN USD, three-year International Monetary Fund loan program in 2016 in order to encourage foreign investors and recover its economy.
  • Egyptian Minister of Petroleum Tariq Al-Mulla announced a new oil discovery in the Western Deseret, 103 Kilometers north of Siwa Oasis. The discovery came after the inspection tests conducted by the Italian energy company (Eni) at Faghour area.
  • The Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI), an agency of the Department of Economic Development (DED), held campaigns in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Kochi as part of attracting Indian investors and businesses in different sectors including logistics, aviation, biotechnology, engineering, construction, financial services, industrial machinery, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, tourism and hospitality.
  • Saudi Arabia, the top oil exporter, may increase the prices by 1 USD/barrel in June for all grades of crude oil which it sells to Asia, in order to track the change in Middle East benchmark Dubai prices of the last month.
  • The Finance Minister of Saudi Arabia Mohammed al-Jadaan claimed that the kingdom plans are to cut its budget deficit to 7% of GDP this year. Saudi Arabia has projected a budget deficit of 195 BN SAR (52 BN USD) in 2018 compared to 230 BN SAR last year. The country plans to balance the budget by 2023.
  • Qatar has increased its April retroactive official selling price (OSP) for Marine crude to 68.45 USD/barrel, which increased by 5.65 dollar/barrel compared to last month. Modest price hikes may boost demand for spot cargoes loading in July when trade commences later this month.
  • Qatar central bank sold 1.5 BN QAR (399.98 MM USD) of Treasury bills. The total value of bills consists of 900 MM QAR of three-month bills at a yield of 2.49%, 400 MM QAR of six-month bills with a 2.69% yield, and 200 MM QAR of nine-month bills at 2.84%.
  • The Ministry of Manpower (MoM) in Oman, announced that more than 26,000 Omanis have been employed as part of the country's major recruitment initiative in order to decrease the high unemployment numbers. It is worthy to mention that 17,656 males were employed in comparison to 8,447 females since the initiative began in December 2017
  • Oman real estate market sales are showing a strong growth in Q1-2018 compared to same quarter last year. The increase in oil prices and the recovery in economic activity have an impact on the real estate market as well. The total value of property transactions in Q1-2018 increased by 6.8% to 776.3 MM OMR, from 726.8 MM OMR in Q1-2017.
  • Jordan Arab Bank Group, the country's largest lender, announced a slight increase in Q1-2018 net profit of 220.3 MM USD compared to 218.2 MM USD in Q1-2017. Total loans increased by 5% to 25.5 BN USD as of end-March, while deposits also increased slightly to 33.4 BN USD compared to 33 BN USD in the same period last year.
  • Fitch Ratings has affirmed Kuwait Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'AA' with a Stable Outlook. The government is working on balancing public finances, improving the business environment and boosting the role of the private sector as a provider of economic growth and jobs for Kuwaiti nationals.
Political Events
  • The Saudi Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih met South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Minister of Trade, Industry & Energy Paik Un-gyu in order to expand bilateral cooperation in energy, health and cultural sectors. The Kingdom aimed to diversify energy sources under Vision 2030, and to jointly develop new small or medium-sized reactors.
  • Saudi Arabia humanitarian efforts in Yemen have been highlighted at a forum at King Saud University (KSU), entitled "Restoration of Hope, Security, Stability and Development in Yemen,". It is worthy to mention that Saudi aid to Yemen is worth 11 BN USD.
  • The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), one of the world's leading and fastest-growing onshore business and financial centres, participated in the Global Business & Markets international exhibition in Hanover, Germany. Hanover Messe has been the world's most important industrial tradeshow and largest capital goods exhibition for years attracting over 225,000 visitors.
  • Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum issued Law No. (8) of 2018 on the Dubai Health Authority (DHA). DHA will have the chance to regulate medical services in Dubai, enhance competitiveness and transparency, and improve medical services and products based on international best practices.
Major Companies Transaction
  • HSBC and Credit Suisse are arranging a syndicated loan of up to 700 MM USD for the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC). The loan may involve other banks and will be guaranteed by the Finance Ministry. It will have a grace period of five years and is being syndicated to international and Gulf banks.
  • Emirates Airline, the world's largest international airline, is celebrating its 25th year-of-service to Dammam. Originally operating two flights a week, Emirates now flies four times daily between Dammam and Emirates' hub in Dubai. Since the start of the Dammam service in 1993, the airline has carried more than 3.8 million passengers.
  • National Commercial Bank (NCB), Saudi Arabia largest lender, reported a 10.5% increase in Q1-2018 net profit reaching 2.99 BN SAR (797 MM USD) compared to 2.70 BN SAR in Q1-2017.
  • British bank HSBC has been engaged in several privatizations in Saudi Arabia among the country's move towards applying a privatization program as part of economic reforms in order to diversify its economy away from oil.
  • Uber announced the launch of "Uber PLATINUM", a loyalty program designed to reward local partner drivers using the application across Saudi Arabia. The announcement follows the company's celebration with the participation of more than 150,000 Saudi partners in the Kingdom and the installation of its new driver support center in Riyadh.
  • National Bank of Fujairah (NBF) won the "Best Corporate Bank UAE" and "Best Commercial Bank UAE" awards at the 2018 Banker Middle East Industry Awards. It is a leading platform recognizing excellence in the financial services industry across the region. This marks the 7th year that NBF has been the best commercial bank, and the 4th time in a row to be the best corporate bank.
  • PepsiCo, the global food and beverage company, has announced a new partnership with Emirates Foundation, a national organization set up by the Abu Dhabi Government to facilitate public-private funded initiatives for the empowerment of youth across the UAE.
  • Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), one of the world's biggest sovereign wealth funds, aims to diversify its portfolio and is looking to increase investments in emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil.
Sports and Culture
  • The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) has launched an initiative to make Saudi Arabia the preferred destination for Muslim tourists from all around the world. The initiative targets four important groups: Umrah visitors, Muslim business people, state guests from other Muslim countries, and Muslim transit passengers.
  • The 13th edition of Heya Arabian Fashion Exhibition in Qatar that was held from 25th to 29th April, attracted more than 15,000 visitors throughout the 5-day event, a 15% increase year-on-year. This year the exhibition showcased more international brands of Abayas and modest fashion collections than ever before with more than 300 local, regional and international brands attending from over 18 countries.
  • Emirates airline has improved its presence on social media, jumping one place to number 4 in the list of the most visible brands. The Dubai carrier was the only brand from the Gulf region that was ranked in the 100 most visible brands of the world.
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Tel:  +97142820301

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