- Egypt imposes 20% cap on foreign investor ownership of private schools, according to a decree. The cap applies to all foreigners, including dual-passport holders, funds, entities and authorities. Investors will need to present documents outlining their ownership and won't be allowed to sell any shares without prior approval.
- September marked the 8th consecutive month of interest rate cuts in emerging markets, with policymakers across 37 EMs delivering 11 net rate cuts. Egypt 100 bps cut last week was among the steepest, with most EM central banks trimming rates by 25-50 bps.
- Egypt M2 money supply grew at 11.78% reaching 3.93 TR EGP y-o-y in August 2019, compared to 12.1% registering 3.88 TR EGP in July 2019. M2 measures liquid assets such as cash, savings deposits and money market securities.
- The Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum announced last Thursday that the committee has reduced the price of gasoline by 25 piasters in the local market. The committee's decision was based on the decrease in Brent oil barrel prices in the international market, and the recent drop in the price of the dollar.
- Saudi Arabia trade surplus decreased by 17% y-o-y reaching 263.91 BN SAR (70.36 BN USD), in the first seven months of 2019. The country merchandise trade exchange decreased by 5% reaching 884.11 BN SAR (235.69 BN USD) from January to the end of July compared to 930.9 BN SAR (248.17 BN USD) the year before.
- Dubai recorded a non-oil foreign trade of 676 BN AED (184 BN USD) in H1-2019, an increase of 5% y-o-y compared to 644 BN AED (175 BN USD) in H1-2018.
- UAE has maintained its position as a leading investor in Lebanon with its foreign direct investment (FDI) constituting 11% of total FDI inflows to Lebanon. About 29% of the total FDI inflows to Lebanon were from the Middle East, of which the FDI from UAE constituted 32%.
- The number of international travelers from India to UAE is set to grow from 2.6 million in 2019 to 3.3 million in 2023, increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.1%.
- Bahrain national origin exports increased by 2% reaching 187 MM BHD (496 MM USD) in August 2019 compared to 184 MM BHD (488 MM USD) in August 2018.
- Qatar economy and GDP contracted by 1.4% and 0.9% in Q2-2019 compared to a year earlier, respectively based on constant prices. The manufacturing sector decreased by 7.4%, while construction declined 3.5%.
- The Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) issued bonds and related Tawarruq worth 240 MM KWD (791 MM USD) with a 3.125% rate of return. In addition, the six-month bonds will be due on 31 March 2020.
- Oman and Hungary have reached a mutual agreement to exempt those with diplomatic, special and service passports from having to apply for visas. Both countries wish to facilitate the travel of their nationals with the aim strengthening the friendly relations between them.
- The Egyptian government in the coming few days will begin procedures against social media platforms Twitter and Facebook for allowing users to incite violence and cause harm to other.
- Egypt could launch derivatives trading and its first futures exchange in H1-2020, according to the local press. No further details were provided on the plans to introduce the new financial instruments, which have been in the works for a while now.
- .ADI listed the Emirate of Abu Dhabi Global Medium Term Note Program total amount of 10 BN USD in three tranches. First tranche is for 3 BN USD at 2.125% due in 2024, which priced at 65 bps over US Treasuries; second one is for 3 BN USD at 2.500% due in 2029, which priced at 85 bps over US Treasuries; and last one is for 4 BN USD at 3.125% due in 2049, which priced at 110 bps over US Treasuries.
- The Dubai-based venture capital firm, Beco Capital, has closed its second startup fund at 100 MM USD, exceeding its initial 80 MM USD target. Beco has to date invested in 22 companies including Careem, Property Finder, and Vezeeta. It has also raised 1 BN USD in "follow-on capital," led Swvl's 8 MM USD series A funding, and co-led e-commerce startup MaxAB's 6.2 MM USD round.
- Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has completed its merger into Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) NV's nitrogen fertilizers production MENA platform. OCI will own 58% of the JV and ADNOC 42%.
- Heliopolis Housing and Development (HHD) has invited private investors to qualify as eligible bidders to take over the state-owned real estate developer's management and acquire a 10% stake as part of its share sale process.
- Arab Dairy has turned down "all the offers" it has received for a buyout, explaining that they did not match the "strategic vision" of its management or main shareholders. Arab Dairy is close to 70%-owned by Pioneers Holding, which had hired CI Capital to advise it on the sale.
- The Commercial International Bank (CIB) won two Egypt awards and one Middle East award, while EK Holding's Haitham Abdel Moneim and his team were named Most improved IR team (large cap).
- Delivery app Glovo plans to invest 5.1 MM EUR in Egypt by 2020 to expand in cities surrounding Cairo and Alexandria and launch marketing campaigns.
- Delek, Noble, and Egypt East Gas have made 70% of a 520 MM USD payment to acquire a controlling stake in subsea Ashkelon-El Arish pipeline operator East Mediterranean Gas (EMG) through their joint venture EMED.
- Saudi Arabia Bahri Logistics will begin operating a cargo shipping line from Ain Sokhna Port to the Port of Houston. This will be the first Ain Sokhna-Houston line to be operated. Bahri is in talks with Egyptian exporters and shipping companies to sign contracts to use the cargo line.
- The Saudi government announced that Saudi Aramco will pay investors an annual dividend of 75 BN USD, in a bid to achieve its 2 TR USD target valuation.
- Kuwait Capital Markets Authority (CMA) approved the merger contract draft between The Securities House as the merger and Al Aman Investment as the merged. It is worth pointing out that The Securities House owns 50% of Al Aman Investment's capital, which amounts to 15 MM KWD (49.3 MM USD).
Sports and Culture
- Saudi Arabia plans to allow unmarried foreigners to share hotel rooms when visiting the kingdom. It's part of the kingdom's efforts to open the country to tourism. While Saudis will still have to prove family ties, foreign visitors will only need to provide a passport. In addition, Saudi Arabia would drop its strict dress code for foreign women, who will no longer be required to wear an abaya.
- Egyptian squash champions Raneem El Welily and Mohamed El Shorbagy won the women's and men's Oracle NetSuite championship in San Francisco, after defeating compatriots Nour El Tayeb and Tarek Momen in an all-Egyptian final.