- Egypt construction sector is projected to grow 9% on average between 2020 and 2024 after a short-term slowdown due to the pandemic, according to Fitch Solutions’ BMI research. It is currently ranked second in the MENA region noting that UAE is ranked first.
- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reached a staff-level agreement to provide Egypt with a one-year, 2 BN USD stand-by arrangement (SBA) to help the country withstand the economic fallout from the covid-19 pandemic. The funding will support healthcare and social programs, protect and advance structural reforms, and boost private sector growth and job creation.
- The Egyptian pound exchange rate continued its declining trend against the US dollar, nearing the lowest level since 21 October 2019. For the second week in a row, the USD increased to register 27 EGP for purchasing and 16.17 EGP for selling at the most local banks during Sunday’s trading.
- Saudi Arabia trade balance surplus reached 74 BN SAR (19.63 BN USD) in Q1-2020, declining by 38.3% y-o-y compared to 119.54 BN SAR (31.83 BN USD) in Q1-2019. On a quarterly basis, the trade surplus decreased by 32.5%, up from 109.3 BN SAR (29.1 BN USD) in Q4-2019.
- The Central Bank of UAE announced that the value of UAE banks' net foreign assets increased by 5% to around 79.8 BN AED (21.7 BN USD) in the first four months of 2020, compared to the same period of 2019. This increase is attributed to a rise in the banks' total asset balance to 684.8 BN AED (186.44 BN USD) during the January-April period compared to 605 BN AED (164.72 BN USD) foreign liabilities.
- Oil-rich Abu Dhabi will consider raising more money via the bond markets to protect its finances from the impact of low oil prices, after raising 36.72 BN AED (10 BN USD) in bonds in 2020. Abu Dhabi's fiscal balance depends almost entirely on revenue from hydrocarbon royalties, taxes and dividends received from ADNOC.
- Sharjah has unveiled 4 BN AED (1.08 MM USD) financial stimulus package to alleviate the adverse economic fallout of Covid-19 on businesses and individuals. This move is among a series of bold and proactive initiatives undertaken in UAE by the federal and local governments.
- Bahrain ruler King Hamad has issued directives to increase monthly allowances for 11,000 orphans and widows sponsored by the Royal Humanitarian Foundation (RHF). RHF will implement the royal directives as soon as possible to achieve their noble goals.
- Kuwait exports of crude oil and basic petroleum products declined by 31% y-o-y to 3.61 BN KWD (11.74 BN USD) in Q1-2020 compared to 4.53 BN KWD (14.74 BN USD) in Q1-2019.
- The Libyan National Army (LNA)'s General Khalifa Haftar and Libya's Parliamentary Speaker Agila Saleh have agreed to a nationwide ceasefire which came into effect today at 6 am under an agreement brokered by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi.
- Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has been endorsed as a member of the European Road Transport Telematics Implementation Coordination Organization, (ERTICO). The move is part of efforts to sustain RTA’s excellence drive and envision the future of transportation and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS).
- The EGX30 ended Thursday’s session up 9%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Credit Agricole up 7.5%, Orascom Development up 7.0%, and CIB up 3.2%. Thursday’s worst performing stocks were Juhayna down 4.0%, CIRA down 1.4% and AMOC down 0.4%. The market turnover was 1.4 BN EGP (86.41 MM USD), and domestic investors were the sole net buyers.
- The main index of the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) went up by 43% or 18.40 points to settle at 4,303.14 points by the end of Thursday's session, maintaining its positive performance. The market cap value increased by 1.81 BN AED (492.8 MM USD) to 483.59 BN AED (131.66 BN USD) compared to 481.78 BN AED (131.17 BN USD) during the previous session.
Note: All values are calculated by last Thursday.
- PAYFORT, an Amazon company, has introduced an initiative to support startups and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Egypt. Through the #StartUpStayUp initiative, PAYFORT will help over 100 of its startups, as well as small and medium merchant businesses, from more than 10 categories to improve their online payment processes to generate more revenues.
- Enara Energy will generate and distribute 400 MW of renewable energy to farms and businesses in El Moghrah and westernmost Minya as part of the 1.5-mn feddans desert reclamation project.
- Emaar Misr is looking to build a new 40 BN EGP (2.46 BN USD) investment zone in the Greater Cairo area, a cabinet statement said on Thursday. The 64-feddan development will feature commercial, residential, hotels and services facilities.
- Banque Misr has so far sold 49 BN EGP (3.02 BN USD) worth of its high-interest savings certificates as of the end of last week. The National Bank of Egypt (NBE) sold 122 BN EGP (7.53 BN USD) worth of the certificates since their launch on 22 March.
- Digital healthcare startup Vezeeta has signed a partnership agreement with Saudi Telecom Company (STC) to provide all company employees with phone and video consultations at no charge, and discounted home checkups through Vezeeta’s app.
- The Saudi German Hospital Group is seeking a loan from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to finance its expansion plans. The expansion plans include the three-phase Batterjee Medical City on the suburbs of Alexandria in which it is investing around 10 BN EGP (617,268 USD).
- Saudi Chemical Company reported a decrease in net profit in Q1-2020 by 38%. The decrease in net profit is due to lower sales and higher trade receivables provision, despite the decrease in cost of sales and the zakat and income tax expense.
- Afrexim Bank is looking at extending 500-750 MM USD worth of credit facilities to local state-owned and private banks to help them shore up their FX liquidity. Noting that Each bank would receive around 200-300 MM USD.
- Dar Al Takaful has signed a legally binding Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) worth 215 MM AED (58.53 MM USD) to acquire the entire share capital of Noor Takaful General and Noor Takaful Family. The company entered the agreement with Noor Investment Group and Noor Bank for the acquisition.
Sports and Culture
- Egyptian director Ayten Amin's new feature film ''Souad' was selected as one of 56 films of the Cannes Film Festival's Official Selection for 2020 edition. This year’s film festival has been cancelled due to covid-19, but the chosen films will receive an honorable mention award and may be screened in next year's festival.
- The UAE Football Association (UAEFA) announced that UAE football team will resume their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign against Malaysia. And the UAEFA had revealed that matches will be played on October 8 and 13 with the next leg on November 12 and 17.