- Egypt largest wheat supplier, Russia, is planning to impose a temporary tax and maximum quota on grain exports in a bid to boost local supply and stabilize prices. The tax could be between 27-30 USD per tonne of wheat, and it could be applied alongside a quota on exports of wheat, rye, barley and maize.
- Egypt began receiving shipments of China’s Sinopharm vaccine on Thursday night. This is the first of several shipments that Egypt is due to receive of the Chinese vaccine, clinical trials for which showed an efficacy rate of 86%.
- Subsidized loans and more may be in the cards for those looking to convert petrol-powered cars to run on natural gas after President Abdel Fattah El Sisi called on the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) and the Madbouly government to provide car owners with “appropriate” financial incentives
- The secondary property market in Dubai has hit the highest record in seven years, with thousands of completed homes worth 5.7 BN AED (1.5 BN USD) snapped up in just one month. In November 2020, a total of 3,928 transactions worth 7.65 BN AED (2 BN USD) were recorded in the emirate, the highest in nine months.
- Saudi banks increased their government bond holdings by 49% in the first ten months of 2020 to 431.58 BN SAR (115 BN USD) compared to 383.67 BN SAR (102.27 BN USD) at the end of 2019. In October 2020, the banks’ holdings of government bonds increased by 13.86% y-o-y compared to 379.06 BN SAR (101 BN USD) in October 2019.
- Saudi Arabia has become the first Arab country to sign a double taxation avoidance agreement with Taiwan. Joanne Ou, a spokesperson for Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), said that the agreement was signed in Riyadh on Dec. 2. The new tax agreement will come into effect from Jan. 1, 2021.
- The positive news on Covid-19 vaccines in recent days has helped to lift the near-term outlook for the Mena region, including oil-exporting GCC countries, as oil prices continue to move upward.
- Dubai government has raised 5 BN USD from the reopening of existing debt instruments. Emirates NBD Capital, a wholly owned subsidiary of Emirates NBD, was the sole manager of the transactions on 23-24 November.
- Saudi-Korean relations continue to flourish, including in the field of intellectual property as the two nations thrive during a troubling year. The Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP) has been active since its inception in 2017 and has signed agreements with the US Patent and Trademark Office, the Japan Patent Office and the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO).
- The Saudi presidency of the Women 20 (W20) engagement group of the G20 is to be officially handed over to Italy for 2021. The W20 brings together a transnational network of delegates representing nongovernmental women’s organizations, civil society, female entrepreneurs, businesses, and think tanks across G20 member states.
- In a landmark agreement, the export credit agencies of UAE and Israel have signed a cooperation agreement to develop economic relations between the two countries. Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI), the UAE Federal export credit company, and The Israel Foreign Trade Risks Insurance Corporation (ASHR’A) have agreed to jointly create a strategic cooperation in supporting exports, trade, investment and explore new business opportunities.
- The EGX30 increased 2% yesterday on turnover of 1.2 BN EGP (76.2 MM USD). Regional investors were net buyers. The index is down 21.2% YTD. The green best performers are Orascom Development (+3.2%), Egyptian Iron & Steel (+1.7%) and Dice (+1.7%). However, the red worst performers are Edita (-1.6%), Beltone Financial Holding (-1.1%) and Heliopolis Housing (-1%).
- UAE stocks markets have witnessed positive performance by the end of Sunday's trading session. The Dubai Financial Market (DFM) increased by around 57% to close Sunday's session at 2,481.84 points, while the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) increased by 1.38% to settle at 5,033.38 points.
Note: All values are calculated by last Thursday.
- Hermes Securities Brokerage will resume 2 BN EGP (127.64 MM USD), two-year short-term corporate bond program it began last year. The EFG Hermes subsidiary will sell 400 MM EGP (25.5 MM USD) of one-year, un-securitized corporate bonds.
- Lorax Capital Partners has acquired a “significant” minority stake in loyalty services provider Dsquares through its LCP Fund II. The acquisition includes Ezdehar Egypt Mid-Cap Fund’s 5% stake, which Lorax Capital was reported to be in talks for back in October.
- Raya Holding is planning to acquire 100% of two subsidiaries of Saudi conglomerate Alturki Holding. The company might bring the targets, United Retail Company (URC) and Itsalat International Egypt (i2 Stores), under the umbrella of its retail electronics arm, Raya Shop.
- Gulf banks First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) and Bank ABC are both reportedly expediting their attempts to purchase the assets of ailing Lebanese banks and increase their share of the Egyptian banking sector.
- Speed Medical (SPMD) started trading its shares on the EGX after completing its upgrade from the Nilex via a capital increase. The exchange’s registration committee approved the listing following the company’s 8 MM EGP (14.15 MM USD) capital increase, paving the way for it to become the first to make the transition from the small-cap market to the EGX.
- Dubai CommerCity (DCC), the first e-commerce free zone in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia (MENASA) region, has partnered with Magento Commerce and Redbox Digital to offer ‘E-Commerce as-a-Service’. The partnership agreements will enable Dubai CommerCity customers to have access to e-commerce solutions and services to improve digital experiences.
- Amlak Finance has sold 72 million shares at a value of 0.2602 AED per share. The sold shares have represented 0.0025% of the subscribed capital. It is noteworthy to mention that in November, the company has sold 3.14 million shares, accounting for 0.0021% of the subscribed capital.
- The Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco) has increased the January price for its Arab light crude to Asia to 0.30 USD a barrel over Oman/Dubai crude compared to 0.80 USD in December.
- Agthia Group has penned a sales purchase agreement to acquire Kuwait's Al Faysal Bakery and Sweets. In 2019, Al Faysal Bakery and Sweets recorded revenues of 92 MM AED (25 MM USD) and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) of 27 MM AED (7.35 MM USD).
Sports and Culture
- CEO of Dubai-based ASGC construction group and AUC alumnus Bishoy Azmy has joined the American University in Cairo’s Board of Trustees as the board’s youngest member. Azmy is also a board member of the local Emirates Chapter of the Young Presidents Organization, an associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and sits on the board of UK infrastructure contractor Costain.
- Coronavirus vaccines will be optional and free to all citizens and residents of Kuwait, the Gulf state's prime minister said on Wednesday, in comments reported in al-Qabas newspaper.