- Remittances from Egyptians abroad increased 20.4% y-o-y in September 2018 reaching 1.8 BN USD compared to 1.5 BN USD in September 2017. In Q1-2018/2019, remittances grew by 1.5% reaching 5.9 BN USD compared to 5.8 BN USD in Q1-2017/2018.
- The Egyptian government targets a GDP growth of 6.5% in 2019/2020 compared to 5.3% in 2018/2019. In addition, the government targets an initial surplus of 2% before deducting the public debt value, which will decrease budget deficit to 7%, and inflation to 10.9% on annual basis in 2019/2020 and to increase the country's growth rate gradually until it reaches 8% in 2021/2022.
- Egypt revenues grew by 35.5% in Q1-2018/2019, putting the government on track to achieve its targeted primary budget surplus of 2%. Government investment increased 85% while tax collection increased by 39.8% in Q1-2018/2019.
- Egypt Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouli announced that Egyptian investments in Algeria stood at 3.6 BN USD. Algeria is trying to boost its investments in Egypt to benefit from the available opportunities in light of the robust economic indicators of the Egyptian economy.
- The Education Price Index (EPI) for the academic year 2018/2019 in Abu Dhabi increased by 3.4% in 2018 compared to 2017. The EPI recorded 108.0% in 2018 compared to 104.4% in 2017. The Education sector in Abu Dhabi is one of the most important sectors for the development of a promising and educated generation that contributes their service of the nation and society.
- The number of Asian travelers to UAE, particularly from China and India, has significantly increased in Q3-2018 showing the highest growth in demand reaching almost 245% and over 60% respectively compared to the travelers from US and UK in Q3-2017.
- In Dubai, the Business Registration & Licensing (BRL) sector in the Department of Economic Development (DED), added 44 new business activities across several sectors in the first 10 months of 2018. This move will promote the business development and healthy competition among businesses in UAE in order to respond to its market needs. The new activities cover various specialized business sectors in Dubai and include the 'floating consumer store'. The activity will enable stores to sell beverages, light food, gifts, newspapers, magazines and personal items in a fixed location along the beach.
- Saudi salaries are expected to rise by 4.5% in 2019 as the overall unemployment rates hits its lowest level in years. Saudi Arabia GDP is expected to grow to 3.6% in 2019, compared to 1.3% in 2018. This is expected to have positive results on creating additional jobs, slightly enhancing salaries for Saudi nationals and decreasing the overall national unemployment rate.
- Fitch Ratings has affirmed that Saudi Arabia Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'A+' with a Stable Outlook. Saudi Arabia ratings are supported by strong fiscal and external balance sheets but considered down by oil dependence, weak governance indicators compared to 'A' category peers and high geopolitical risks.
- Russia has invited Saudi investors to participate in the 5th international Exhibition Arabia-EXPO in Moscow on April 8-10, 2019. In a major boost to enhance economic cooperation between Russia and Saudi Arabia, Russia will grant 300 entry visas for five years to Saudi business owners and companies. Reciprocally, Russia also hope that there would be a similar step from the Saudi side to grant Russian employers multiple visas to explore investment opportunities in the Kingdom.
- Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI) is developing a network of 13 solar radiation monitoring stations which will enable precise mapping of solar resources across Qatar. The project, which is in line with QEERI's mission to assist Qatar in tackling its grand challenges related to energy and the environment, will be implemented in collaboration with Qatar Meteorological Department (QMD).
- Remittances of expatriate workers in Kuwait have increased by 7.2% to reach 2.2 BN KWD (7.31 BN USD) in H1-2018 compared to 2.07 BN KWD (6.82 BN USD) in H1-2017. Thereby, Kuwait comes the 3rd among the Gulf countries with the highest rate of remittances sent by expatriate workers after UAE and Saudi Arabia.
- Kuwait annual inflation increased 0.18% on a y-o-y and m-o-m basis in October 2018. Kuwait consumer price index (CPI) registered 113.3% in October 2018 compared to 113.1% in both October 2017 and September 2018. Ten segments contributed to the y-o-y increase, led by cigarettes and tobacco products, which jumped 13.5%, whereas only two segments were down, namely clothing and footwear, and housing services.
- Egypt plans to hold its annual international meeting in Sharm El-Sheikh with African and global political and business leaderships to push for a new intra-African comprehensive partnership from 7th to 9th December 2018. It will serve as an integral platform for unlocking Africa sustainable development and transformation by exploring Africa emerging opportunities to tap into new pools of capitals, especially in areas of infrastructure, financial, entrepreneurial, energy, trade, and ICT as well as emerging projects.
- Saudi Arabia and UAE which together lead a coalition of Arab states fighting against the Houthi movement that controls the capital in Yemen, have announced a 500 MM USD food aid program for Yemen.
- The General Authority of Zakat and Tax has renewed its call for businesses whose annual revenues exceed 375,000 SAR to register for VAT before 20th of December 2018 via the website "vat.gov.sa". The Authority stressed that failure to register for VAT on time will expose businesses to regular penalties as per regulations.
- U.S. President Donald Trump thanked Saudi Arabia over recent oil prices decrease and called for prices to go even lower, likening it to "a big tax cut" that could boost the U.S. and global economies. It is worthy to mention that the oil price was 82 USD and declined to 54 USD.
- .TASI banking sector increased slightly led by Al Rajhi Bank and National Commercial Bank (NCB).
- .QSI banking sector increased led by Qatar National Bank (QNB) and telecommunication sector declined led by Ooredoo.
- .ADI banking sector declined led by Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB).
- .DFMGI banking sector declined led by Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB).
Note: Weekly values are calculated on Thursday of each week.
- Al Ahly for Real Estate Development (Sabbour) in partnership with the Egyptian government is planning to launch a new residential project in 6th of October City by the end 2019 and to be completed by 2024. The expected residential project would be developed over an area of 144 acres at an estimated cost of 7 BN EGP (391 MM USD).
- Metprom Group is planning to launch two new projects in Egypt with total investments of 210 MM EUR. The first project is establishing a rolling mill project for producing steel and wires in the Russian industrial area in Egypt with a production capacity estimated at 150,000 tons annually with investments estimated at 60 MM EUR. While the second project is to re-modernize the iron and steel complex in Helwan through five phases include replacement and renovation of the complex to increase its production value to 500,000 tons annually, with investments estimated at 150 MM EUR.
- Aqarmap.com, the leading online real estate marketplace in Egypt has successfully sold properties online by allowing consumers to pay a reservation fee with their credit cards to lock up exclusively discounted properties. Real Estate developers typically collect reservation fees from buyers during their new projects launch event, and Aqarmap successfully replicated this experience online, by allowing the developers to collect the same reservation fee online. Three Developers have used this new service and Aqarmap was able to sell their assigned properties within 48 hours.
- The Minister of Petroleum Tarek El Molla announced that there is an increasing interest from U.S. energy companies in developing its offshore oil and natural gas resources and expects them to participate in two bidding rounds due before the end of 2019. Egypt has emerged as an attractive destination for foreign energy firms following major discoveries in recent years including the giant Zohr offshore field, which holds an estimated 30 trillion cubic feet of gas.
- Emirates NBD, a leading banking group in the region, announced that its debit and credit card customers can now pay via Google Pay supporting new, easy and accessible ways to pay. Google Pay enables users to make quick and secure payments via their Android devices, wherever contactless payments are accepted. To make purchases, customers will need to add their Emirates NBD Visa and MasterCard credit and debit cards to Google Pay.
- Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) inaugurated Taweelah Gas Compression Plant, which will ensure uninterrupted gas supplies to major Abu Dhabi industries and Northern Emirates. The plant, located 50 kilometers north of Abu Dhabi city, will operate up to 450 million standard cubic feet per day (scfd) of sales gas. The gas will be delivered to the facility by ADNOC Gas Processing's recently installed Maqta-Taweelah pipeline.
- The Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai and Visa, a world leader in digital payments, have signed an MoU to help grow the UAE consumer eCommerce sector by encouraging more merchants to take their businesses online, and educating consumers on the benefits of digital payments and shopping and paying online.
- In Saudi Arabia, The General Investment Authority (SAGIA) issued the first foreign investment license for a business incubator to AstroLabs, the MENA region's premier co-working space and startup incubator. The company plans to build a technology start-up incubator, providing training programs and events to support the innovation and entrepreneurial eco-system in Saudi Arabia.
- Saudi Aramco's In-Kingdom Total Value Add (IKTVA) program is designed to locally source the company's massive supply chain by stimulating investment through international and local equipment and service providers, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). More than 400 companies supplying 24 commodities are currently IKTVA partners, working with the energy and chemicals giant to drive domestic value creation for mutual benefit.
- For the second year in a row, New York-based Global Finance Magazine has named Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) the safest Islamic Bank in Qatar in 2018. Marking a new addition to its list of achievements, QIB was also recognized as the 2nd safest Bank in Qatar and the 11th safest Bank in the Middle East. Global Finance evaluates the ratings and total assets of the key players in each region, providing an overview of which financial institutions offer the greatest safety for customers and stakeholders.
- Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), a Qatar Foundation institution that specializes in higher education, and edX, the nonprofit online learning platform founded by Harvard and MIT, have signed an agreement that will position the university as the first in the Middle East to provide interdisciplinary courses through the online platform. The courses will be accessible to millions of students around the world.
- Kuwait National Petroleum Company's (KNPC) strategic plan includes building a new refinery with a capacity of around 300,000 barrels per day (bdp) by 2025 and 430,000 bpd by 2035. The company plans to study potentially the idea of building a 6th liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) unit by 2025. If a sixth unit is added, KNPC total industrial processing capacity would reach 3.8 billion cubic feet per day.
- In Kuwait, the Public Authority for Industry (PAI), EQUATE Petrochemical Company, a global producer of petrochemicals, and National Technology Enterprise Company (NTEC) signed an MoU for a renewable energy project at the PAI. This MoU is in alignment with the vision of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to generate 15% of Kuwait electrical demand from renewable energy including solar by 2030.
Sports and Culture
- Liverpool maintained pressure on table-topping Manchester City with three second-half goals sealing a comfortable 3-0 victory at Watford. In the second half, Mohamed Salah scored Liverpool's first goal in the 67th minute before England defender Trent Alexander-Arnold scored a stunning second goal. Moreover, Roberto Firmino added a late third goal as the visitors extended their unbeaten start to the Premier League season to 13 games.
- Dubai-based investor Viva City is set to develop the world's largest commercial sports mall, Sport Society, at a strategic location in the emirate close to the Deira City Centre. The new venture has been designed to be a global architectural icon that elevates the UAE reputation and achievements at various levels as well as to meet the aspirations of the residents and tourists.
- Thomas Tuchel Paris SG Manager won't take the risk of the two superstars Neymar and Kylian Mbappe to play in Ligue 1, after seeing them pick up injuries but could have them in Europe. Their injuries are considered to be "not very serious", with Paris Saint-Germain hoping to have the pair involved against Liverpool in the Champions League. Neymar lasted just eight minutes of Brazil friendly clash with Cameroon before being withdrawn with "a right adductor strain", while Mbappe was left with "a bruised right shoulder" half-an-hour into France meeting with Uruguay.