- Egypt on track to be only country in EBRD’s footprint to grow this year, investor sees economy expanding at a 5% in 2021. Covid-19 pushed up unemployment and forced many family businesses to close at least temporarily, but Egypt economy is still on track to grow at 2% in 2020 and rebound to 5% growth in 2021.
- In Egypt, foreign investors will soon be able to apply for five-year renewable residence permits under amended regulations from the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI). The permits will be issued using a points-based system that gives weight to the project’s scope of activities (20%), the amount of paid-in capital (30%), the number of employees (30%), and the location of the project (20%).
- Investors can subscribe to Italy-headquartered asset manager Azimut’s new Egypt-focused fixed income fund AZ-Savings as of next Sunday, 11 October. Azimut tapped state-owned Banque du Caire and Ahli United Bank Kuwait to sell the investment certificates and has contracted brokerage firms Mubasher, Naeem, Global Invest Securities, and Misr Capital to market and sell shares in the fund.
- Ratings agency S&P has affirmed Saudi Arabia sovereign ratings at A-/A-2 with a stable outlook, as it expects the kingdom to begin to bounce back from the slump caused by the coronavirus pandemic and low oil prices in 2021.
- Saudi Arabia has provided around 48 BN USD in assistance to developmental projects around the world as part of financial contributions to international organizations and authorities. The country granted 12 BN USD in aids to 3,843 humanitarian and charitable developmental projects in 155 countries.
- Dubai tenants are flocking into the real estate market and buying homes to take advantage of low interest rates and competitive prices. In a survey conducted by Colliers in Q2-2020, 82% of real estate professionals agreed that mortgage purchases in the emirate are increasing. Most of the buyers (91%) are first-time homeowners or end users, while only 9% are investors.
- The value of foreign workers' remittances from UAE decreased by 3% to 38.2 BN AED (10.4 BN USD) in Q2-2020, compared to 42.6 BN AED (11.59 BN USD) in Q2-2019, according to the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE).
- The international credit rating agency, Standard & Poor’s (S&P), reported that the rating risks related to the Kuwaiti economy is that Kuwait is completely dependent on oil revenue which is 90% of its exports. S&P’s expected the recovery of the Kuwaiti economy to gather momentum from 2022, in addition to real GDP growth on average to reach 7% during 2022 and 2023.
- The 2020 Nobel Prizes kick off Monday with the naming of the winner, or winners, in the field of physiology and medicine. The medicine prize carries particular significance this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has highlighted the importance that medical research has for societies and economies around the world.
- The head of Saudi Arabia Chambers of Commerce has called for a boycott of Turkish products amid merchants’ reports that animosity between Ankara and Riyadh is hindering the flow of goods between the two regional powers. Saudi Arabia and Turkey have been at odds for some years over foreign policy and attitudes towards Islamist political groups.
- The Egyptian Exchange’s (EGX) indices closed Sunday’s trading session on a varied note with the main EGX30 index rising by 18% to 11,071 points. The market cap value advanced by 3.9 BN EGP (247.84 MM USD) to close at 624.77 BN EGP (39.7 BN USD) on Sunday from 620.84 BN EGP (39.45 BN USD) on Thursday.
- The Tadawul All Share Index (TASI) closed lower on Sunday for the second consecutive session after falling by 41% or 117.29 points to settle at 8,177.76 points. The trading volume registered 496.822 million shares today, down from 712.342 million in the previous session. Likewise, the liquidity shrank to 10.23 BN SAR (2.72 BN USD) from 14.74 BN SAR (3.92 BN USD).
Note: All values are calculated by last Thursday.
- Emerging markets private equity giant Actis is looking to raise 4 to 4.5 BN USD to set up a new MENA-focused international fund, Actis 5, to invest in renewable energy and infrastructure projects in the region.
- Dubai-based Shuaa Capital has launched three new shariah-compliant funds and secured commitments worth 75 MM USD. The open-ended products will be domiciled in Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the UAE capital’s international financial center and free zone. One of the funds, the Shuaa High Yield Sukuk Fund, will invest in a diversified portfolio of sukuk instruments, including high-yield sukuk, shariah-compliant fixed income investments and other collective investment funds. The other two funds, the Nujoom Aggressive Fund and the Nujoom Balanced Fund, will invest in a global portfolio of shariah-compliant equities, fixed income investments and money market instruments.
- Lorax Capital Partners is reportedly looking to acquire Ezdehar Egypt Mid-Cap Fund’s 5% stake in loyalty services provider Dsquares. The sale could be worth more than double what the PE outfit paid for its stake two years ago, stopping short of pointing to a specific value for the transaction.
- Upmarket real estate developer Sodic is on track to begin delivering units in its Eastown District New Cairo (EDNC) complex in 2021. The company has so far signed 7 BN EGP in contracts with construction firms and over 50% of the construction work has now been completed.
- First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), UAE largest bank and one of the world's largest and safest financial institutions, has partnered with UAE-based fintech startup Tabby to enable acceptance of their Buy-Now-Pay-Later solution at FAB merchant partners. The very first roll-out of this solution has been at Al Futtaim-owned Toys R’ Us stores in UAE.
- Exports of Dubai Chamber members exceeded a combined value of 45 BN AED (12.25 BN USD) between June and August 2020, marking a 4% increase compared to the March-May period during the same year. The average number of exporters over the three months ending in August stood at 4,630, increasing 14% from the 4,066 exporters accounted for between March and June 2020.
- In Kuwait, Sidra Capital’s US dollar-denominated Mutajara Fund has been successfully achieving its targets and is on course to deliver returns in excess of 6% for 2020, with no payment defaults or delays despite the challenging market conditions created by the global Covid-19 pandemic.
Sports and Culture
- Egyptian composer and pianist Omar Khairat will give a performance at the Cairo Opera House on Tuesday, October 20 at 8:30 pm. The Ministry of Culture has set up two open-air theaters at the Cairo Opera House in July to allow cultural events to resume while maintaining social distancing precautions. However, it plans to keep the Cairo Opera House’s main hall closed until further notice.
- The British Egyptian Business Association (BEBA) held its fourth webinar on a series of virtual discussions regarding digital transformation and innovation in Egypt. The webinar hosted a number of experts and industry leaders such as the VP of Middle East and Africa at Cisco Reem Asaad and the Country Head of Global Liquidity and Cash Ahmed Badawi and Management of HSBC, CEO of EFG Hermes Egypt Walid Hassouna, Chairman and CEO of Benya Ahmed Mekky, Advisor to the Minister for Technology Hossam Osman and the Founder and CEO of Fawry Ashraf Sabry.