- Since the floating of the Egyptian pound last November, a net of 11 BN EGP worth of shares have been bought by foreign investors. Egypt foreign reserves jumped from 31.305 BN USD at the end of June 2017 to 36.04 BN USD at the end of July 2017. The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) main aim from floating the Egyptian pound was to attract foreign capital to Egypt especially after the political instability of the country which caused the currency to be more than halved in value.
- According to the CBE, Egypt external debt rose 9.7% reaching 73.88 BN USD in March 2017 compared to 67.332 BN USD in December 2016.
- According to the IMF estimates, Jordan inflation rate is expected to stabilize around 2.5% by the end of the year. Jordan Economy is expected to grow by 2.3% in 2017. The IMF also highlighted the challenges facing the Jordanian economy despite the recent progress and improvements.
- Consequent to the gulf crisis and the cutting of diplomatic ties with Qatar by main countries, Qatar imports shrank 40% year on year. However, analysts expect that Qatar can still function well regardless of the sanctions and is still expected to be one of the Gulf best performing economies in 2017.
- Since tourism is one of the most important economic sectors in Saudi Arabia Vision 2030, it has launched an international tourism project under the name "Red Sea Project". The project aims to promote the international tourism in Saudi Arabia and will also contribute in shifting tourism and hospitality concepts, through developing resorts on more than 50 natural islands.
- Fuel prices in UAE increased in August 2017 after three months of decreasing in April, June and July 2017 by the Ministry of Energy. The price of Special 95 increased from 1.75 to 1.78 AED, while Super 98 increased from 1.86 to 1.89 AED and E Plus-91 increased from 1.68 to 1.71 AED. This movement in the fuel price depends on the international crude oil prices which has been fluctuating due to the supply and demand.
- The preparations for the "Dubai investment forum" has started in Dubai. The aim of the event is to provide the investors with a view of the growth opportunities, partnerships and the future investments in the sectors that support the objectives of the UAE national agenda 2021 and the Dubai 2021 plan.
- Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan has officially approved a new tax procedures law in UAE, introducing the implementation of a new value-added tax (VAT) on goods and services from January 2018. The six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have agreed in 2016 to introduce the value-added tax to diversify the sources of revenue and reduce the dependence on the crude oil exports especially after the drop-in oil prices in mid-2014.
- Egyptian Cabinet signed a three-year 100 MM EUR financing agreement with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to finance the purchase of 100 new locomotives. Also, Egypt signed a 575 MM USD contract with General Electric (GE) to provide 100 new multi-use locomotives and maintenance and upgrading of 81 trains bought in 2008. These two contracts are part of the plan to have 25 million tons of goods transported by trains in 2022.
- Oman signed a 3.55 BN USD loan with Chinese financial institutions; the loan increased from the initial 2 BN USD due to the strong interest received. The loan which is one of the largest transactions for a regional borrower in the Chinese market, has maturity of five years and will help Oman fulfill its financial requirements for the expected 2017 fiscal deficit.
- Saudi King Salman invites 1,000 families of Egyptian security forces to perform Hajj. Saudi ambassador says this hosting is an appreciation of the King for the families of the martyrs who sacrificed their lives to defend their homeland.
- The four Arab countries which have cut ties with Qatar said that they are willing for a dialogue with Qatar in the implementation of their demands and principles, if Qatar showed mutual willingness. The four countries have previously listed 13 demands for Qatar including cutting any support to the Muslims Brotherhood, shutting Al Jazeera channel, closing a Turkish military base and minimizing its relationship with Iran. However, Qatar accused the four Arab countries of violating the international law in boycotting it and asked the United Nations to intervene.
- Saudi Air defense forces have stopped a missile launched by the Yemen Houthi militias towards Makkah. The missile was shot towards about 69 kilometers away from the holy city. This missile isn't the first one, another missile was also shot from Yemen to the holy city but was stopped by the Saudi air defense before causing any damage on October 27, 2016.
- After Iran boycotted the pilgrimage last year due to the death of many Iranians in a crush in the pilgrimage in 2015, nearly 90,000 Iranians are expected to attend the Hajj this year in Medina. Iranians will never forget the catastrophic event that happened in 2015 and are expecting that Saudi Arabia insures the security of all pilgrims in the Hajj.
- .KWSE telecommunication sector has declined led by Telcom and banking sector led by Ahli United Bank (AUB).
- .ADI telecommunication sector has declined led by Etisalat. On the other hand, real estate sector slightly increased led by Aldar Properties and banking sector led by Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB).
- .DFMGI investment sector has increased led by Dubai Investments and banking sector led by Emirates NBD.
Note: Weekly values are calculated on Thursday of each week.
- In collaboration with the Egyptian Government and Suez Governorate, DP world the leading global trade enabler launched 11 projects in Suez and Sokhna benefiting about 7500 people in both cities. The projects aim to target the health, education, water and social welfare sectors.
- Arab Contractors, Egypt state-run construction firm is planning to deliver two projects in Africa next November costing 154.8 MM USD. The company has completed 85% of the project in the Congo. The company is also doing giant infrastructure works including roads and utilities projects in 14 African countries.
- A partnership has been signed between Oman Tourism College and the national carrier Oman Air. The college considers itself as a dynamic academic institution where learning is based on practical experience and industry knowledge. The college aims to increase the industry participation to its program to provide the tourism sector in the country with more competent and experienced workforce.
- Azizi developments, a Dubai-based real estate developer entered a strategic partnership with the Dubai Land Department (DLD) to promote Dubai to investors from India, China and Pakistan. Azizi Developments and DLD will conduct a series of roadshows in India, China and Pakistan to promote Dubai as a great city to live, work, visit and invest in. It also aims to attract global investments to the real estate market in Dubai.
- A new five-year Business plan has been exposed in Oman by The Rural Areas Electricity Company (RAECO) that focuses on small scale renewable energy projects and intense coverage for areas falling in its jurisdiction. RAECO covers more than 75% of the land mass of Oman Sultanate.
- Mohamed Alabbar Dubai billionaire and Emaar Properties chairman seeks to invest in the new administrative capital city, New El Alamein city and other Egyptian government projects in Cairo and South Sinai to raise the investments in Egypt.
- Saudi Arabia Ministry of Commerce and Investment launches Chinese Huawei innovation center in Riyadh. The Customer Solution Innovation & Integration Experience Centers (CSIC) will help expand the digital transformation of Saudi economy through providing an open ecosystem for innovation.
- Kuwaiti carrier Jazeera Airways' new passenger terminal will be ready in March 2018. This project aims to de-congest Kuwait International Airport. The Kuwait Council of Ministers approved 46.3 MM USD for this new terminal to ease the congest in the Kuwait International Airport.
Sports and Culture
- The Saudi city Abha is named as the Capital of Arab Tourism in 2017. As Saudi Arabia seeks to move away from being an oil-based economy, tourism will help achieve sustainable development in line with the country's Vision 2030.
- The Jordan Media Commission (JMC) issued a new regulation limiting the licensing of news websites on the condition of having at least five journalists. Despite raising controversy, the JMC aims at reforming and organizing the sector by such law which should protect the intellectual property of press materials and create a state of positive competition between licensed media outlets.
- The law that lets the rapists free if they married their victim has been abolished by the Jordanian lawmakers. This is considered a positive step to end the sexual abuse and violence against women. The Jordanian Parliamentarian Wafa Bani Mustafa, a major campaigner against the law, believes that no girl should be given to her rapist as a gift.
- Omanexpo, Oman biggest exhibitions and conferences organizer is preparing the seventh edition of Oman Health Exhibition and Conference that will be held at the new Oman Convention and Exhibition Center from 9 to 11 October 2017. The exhibition provides a proper representation of the key sectors in the health and medical industry and offers a new range of products, services and technologies.
- Qatar approves a law that allows foreigners to obtain permanent residency. The law covers the children of Qatari women married to non-Qataris and foreigners who provide outstanding services for Qatar. The new holders of permanent residency can have access for the first time to free state education, health care, the right to own a property and operate a business without a Qatari partner.