- Sharjah Airport has registered a growth of 34% in passenger movement during H1-2018, with the number of its users increasing to more than 5.731 million passengers, compared to 5.493 million passengers in H1-2017. The increase was a result of new expanded service offerings for both passengers and airlines, as well as the expansion of air carriers operating out of the airport, making Shajrah Airport one of the most important transit terminals in the UAE region.
- DXB Entertainments PJSC announced that Dubai Parks and Resorts, the region’s largest integrated theme park destination, attracted over 4 million visits during H1-2018 with an increase of 46% compared to H1-2017. Dubai Parks and Resorts reported over 612,000 visits in Q2-2018, compared to 414,000 in Q2-2017 recording a growth of 48%.
- Egypt Information Technology Enabled Services sector (IT/ITES) boosts its global position and attracts more foreign investments. Egyptian ICT sector has been witnessing unprecedented growth and is currently one of the largest contributors to the country’s GDP growth and a major exporting sector with more than 25 BN USD export revenues. The Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) has agreed with six global IT and BPO players to expand their operations in Egypt resulting in creating more than 3,700 jobs.
- Egypt annual urban consumer price inflation rose to 4% in June 2018compared to 11.4% in May 2018. Egypt has hiked fuel, electricity and transportation prices over the past two months to help meet the terms of a 12 BN USD IMF loan program that includes deep cuts to energy subsidies and tax hikes.
- Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) signed a 50 MM KWD (170 MM USD) loan for the Egyptian government, which will contribute to the construction of a sewage water treatment facility for several towns in the northeast. The plan will respond to the growing demand for water intended for agricultural purposes and will ensure the environmental protection of the nearby Lake Manzala as well as creating 100,000 jobs for locals.
- In Saudi Arabia, the ratio of expatriate teachers in private boys’ schools has crossed 60% despite repeated requests by the Ministry of Labor and Social Development to nationalize the teaching jobs in these schools. The increased ratio is due to the lack of qualified Saudi teachers especially in science and mathematics.
- Saudi Arabia unemployment rate has reached 12.9%in Q1-2018. This high figure drove the Minister of Labor and Social Development to announce a package of training and rehabilitation programs for 60,000 Saudi men and women to qualify them for jobs in the private sector.
- Morocco economic growth is expected to slow to 9% in 2019 from a forecasted 3.1% this year. The budget deficit is forecasted to reach 3.9% of GDP in 2018, and 3.6% in 2019. In addition, the inflation rate is remaining relatively low, at 1.7% in 2018 and 1.3% in 2019.
- In Oman, the government is encouraging local students, job-seekers, and employees to take up part-time jobs in the private sector to help build their capabilities for the labor market. This initiative aims to improve the current part-time work policy to enhance workforce readiness based on job market needs and to manage short-and long-term economic requirements.
- Bahrain GDP grew by 1% during Q1-2018 compared to Q1-2017. Meanwhile, Bahrain oil sector recorded an increase of 17.3% as a result in raising oil barrels in Q1-2018 compared to Q1-2017.
- The Ministry of Justice of South Korea has stopped free-visa entry for Egyptians, issuing a new policy starting October 2018 requiring Egyptians to get a pre-visa to enter the country. The decision was taken due to the rising number of Egyptians seeking Korean asylum. Between January and May 2018, at least 276 people have filed asylum applications in South Korea with 112 of them being Egyptians.
- Egyptian security forces have killed 11 suspected militants in a shootout in al-Arish, the capital of North Sinai province. The shootout occurred during an attack on a suspected militant hideout in an abandoned house in al-Arish, with the procession of three machine guns and a rifle.
- Turkey deal with Pakistan to sell 30 Turkish T129 attack helicopters is worth around 1.5 BN USD, the helicopters will be delivered over five years. The deal is the biggest export deal of Turkey defense industry.
- Pakistan former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was arrested in Lahore airport to face a 10-year prison. He was sentenced by a corruption court over the purchase of high-end properties in London.
- QSI real estate sector decreased led by Barwa Real Estate. However, industrial sector increased led by Gulf International Services and Industries Qatar.
- .ADI banking sector increased led by First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB). Moreover, the real estate sector increased led by Manazel Real Estate.
- .DFMGI real estate sector decreased led by Emaar Malls and Emaar Properties. On the other hand, the investments and financial services increased led by DFM Company and Dubai Investments.
- The National Bank of Egypt (NBE) has reduced its stake in Egyptian Transport and Commercial Services Co (EgyTrans) to 64% from 5.11%. The bank has sold around 145,500 shares amounted to 1.3 MM EGP (9.12 EGP per share). EgyTrans’ capital amounts to 156.06 MM EGP distributed over 31.2 million shares at a par value of 5 EGP per share.
- Egypt top cigarette maker, Eastern Tobacco Company, will increase the prices by (10% - 15%), equivalent to between 1.5 and 3 EGP. The price hike is intended to cover a new tax imposed by the government to raise money for healthcare services
- Orascom Construction Ltd has added 650 MM USD contracts to its under construction businesses in Egypt and the US during Q2-2018. The international engineering and construction contractor has sealed 415 MM USD new contracts in Egypt, including projects in the sectors of transport, water, and urban development such as El Alamain city.
- ASTAD, Qatar leading project management consultancy is the first firm in the Middle East to be certified for ISO 45001:2018, Occupational Health & Safety Standard, by Bureau Veritas (BV), one of the foremost independent third party accredited certification bodies in the world with a focus in the areas of quality, health, safety, environment and social responsibility.
- Qatar National Bank (QNB) reported a 3% increase in Q2-2018 net profit. The bank made a net profit of 3.67 BN QAR (1.01 BN USD) in Q2-2018, compared to 3.45 BN QAR in Q2-2017.
- VIVA Bahrain has entered into a long term partnership with Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa, as a part of its continuous effort to equip Bahrain key business industries with the latest technological solutions. Under this agreement, the hotel will be enjoying comprehensive telecom solutions from VIVA.
- UAE has promised to invest 10 BN USD in South Africa economy, including the tourism and mining sectors. Saudi Arabia committed a similar sum with a focus on energy during a Middle East visit by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has set an ambitious target of attracting 100 BN USD in investment to kick-start an ailing economy.
- Weatherford, a top oilfield service firm, has signed an agreement with ADES International Holding for the sale of its land drilling rig operations in Algeria, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia as well as two idle land rigs in Iraq for 5 MM USD. The transaction includes 31 land drilling rigs and related drilling contracts, as well as approximately 2,300 employees and contract personnel.
- First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) has signed an agreement with Societe Generale de Banque - Jordanie (SGBJ) to sell its National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) Jordan business operations to SGBJ. The deal includes the transfer of employees and relevant suppliers’ contracts, and it was approved by the Central Bank of Jordan.
Sports and Culture
- The French national team was crowned world champions after defeating the Croatian team 4-2 in the World Cup final in Moscow, capturing its second World Cup title and its first since it hosted the 1998 tournament 20 years ago. A penalty-kick goal from Antoine Griezmann and goals from Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe were enough to lift one of the pre-tournament favorites to the title. Les Bleus manager Didier Deschamps was the captain in 1998 when his team shocked Brazil in Paris, and he became the third to ever win the World Cup as a player and coach.
- Egyptian athlete Sara Samir has won the gold medal in the Snatch Under 69 KG category of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Junior Championships, that was held in Uzbekistan from July 7 to July 14. Samir is set to compete for the Clean and Jerk category, as well to determine the world champion for this year. She previously won the bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics, lifting 105 kg in the Snatch and 133 kg in the Clean and Jerk for a total of 238 kg.
- Egypt New Administrative Capitalwill be the country’s first smart residential city. The capital will host ministries, parliament, Egyptian Media Production City, presidential palaces, and embassies. While the army is responsible for the management of the project, twenty-five public and private companies are responsible for building the infrastructure as well as the neighborhoods. So far, 170,000 jobs have been provided due to the project and the number is expected to increase in the coming phases.