Issue  No. 217
11 March 2019

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


       65.74 USD         1,298 USD


Economic Outlook
  • Egypt, the world's largest wheat buyer, aims to harvest 3.6 million tons of local wheat this season beginning in April 2019. The country will pay farmers between 655-685 EGP (38-39 USD) per 150 Kg of wheat depending on the quality.
  • Foreign investors held 15.8 BN USD of Egyptian treasury bills and bonds in February 2019 compared to 13.1 BN USD in January 2019. Foreign holdings of Egyptian treasuries reached 17.5 BN USD in 2017/2018 and had fallen to 14 BN USD in September 2018.
  • The Saudi Minister of Commerce and Investment was received by Bangladesh President in Dhaka where they signed two agreements on solar energy and electric transformers, in addition to four memoranda on packaging, food, cable manufacturing and fertilizer production as well as medical training.
  • Around 49% of expatriates in the UAE are only able to save 5% or less of their monthly income, and only 16% of expatriates have set retirement planning as a financial priority.Savings rates are much higher especially in developed countries like Switzerland, reaching 17.8% in 2019.
  • UAE announced the allocation of 5.8 BN AED (1.57 BN USD) for water and electricity projects in the northern emirates. In addition, UAE approved a 2.4 BN AED (653.4 MM USD) project to build dams and a federal water network connecting the northern emirates with that of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
  • The IMF announced that Bahrain economy is expected to maintain a healthy pace of growth in 2019 reaching 2% to 2.5% in 2019 compared to 1.8% in 2018.
  • Qatar started marketing a dollar bond issue split into five tranches, while the 10-year and the 30-year notes offer around 160 bps and 200 bps over the benchmark.
  • Qatar sold 600 MM QAR (165 MM USD) in T-bills split into maturities of three, six, and nine months. The 300 MM QAR in three-month bills and the 200 MM QAR in six-month bills both offer a 2.49% yield, while the 100 MM QAR in nine-month bills offer 2.6%.
Political Events
  • In Kuwait, the Interior Ministry announced the cancellation of the use of residency stickers on expats' passports, saying all the needed data will be on their civil IDs, which will be considered as proof of residence for expats and went into effect on March 10, 2019.
  • The number of flights permitted between the European Union and Qatar will gradually increase following the signing of an agreement last week and result in unlimited access by 2024.


Major Companies Transaction
  • UiPath, the leading enterprise Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software company, signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with Egypt Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) to help build the country's national capabilities in RPA.
  • The Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) has signed two contracts to replace the north Cairo-Heliopolis aerial line with a length of 12 Km double circuit, and a cost estimated to be 590 MM EGP.
  • Saudi-based Al Yamamah Steel Industries Company has announced that the work on its solar power systems factory is progressing steadily and will start the commercial operation as per schedule in Q2-2019.
  • Kafalah, the Saudi SMEs loan guarantee program, has signed an agreement with Saudi Finance Company and with four major financial institutions to encourage them to invest in a greater number of (SMEs), in addition to all Saudi banks and Emirates Bank.
  • Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) signed an MoU with the Dubai Future Foundation to design, construct, and operate a solar photovoltaic (PV) plant to annually produce 4,000 megawatt hours of renewable energy.
  • Interserve, the international support services, construction and equipment group, has secured 9.6 MM EUR (12.4 MM USD) in new business with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) on a range of offshore and gas processing projects.
  • Al Dhaheri Capital Investment Group (ADCI) launched 'The V', its smart and sophisticated commercial tower that aims to enrich and foster the growth of business community in the UAE. The commercial project is 100% complete and will host 23 offices, 2 stores and 2 retail outlets when complete.
  • Fitch Ratings has placed UAE-based HSBC Bank Middle East's Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of 'AA-' on Rating Watch Negative (RWN).
  • QNB Group, the largest financial institution in the Middle East and Africa, announced the successful closing of the syndication for its 2 BN EUR, three-year senior unsecured term loan facility.  
Sports and Culture
  • FIFA is currently considering Kuwait and Oman to be unified hostesses of some matches for the 2022 World Cup, in case the tournament will be staged in Qatar. FIFA is expected to make a final decision in June 2019, although the FIFA already warned that it would be difficult for Qatar to stage an expanded tournament alone.
  • The Canadian superstar Avril Lavigne will perform on March 14 at Zayed Sports City Stadium for the opening ceremony of Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 which will end by 21st March.
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