- E-Dirham, a UAE payment tool, has reported a 21% increase in e-collection to reach 8.2 BN AED in 2015 compared to 6.78 BN AED in 2014. The total number of cards used in E-Dirham Point of Sale (PoS) devices since the beginning of the service is 1.8 MM.
- Algeria's grain imports for 2015 have increased by 11.2% reaching 13.67 MM tons. It's worthy to note that Algerian imports have increased despite the government efforts to reduce imports' volume amid falling oil prices.
- Egypt's Central Bank has raised the cap of 50,000 USD a month on bank deposits that was imposed a year ago, and set a new cap of 250,000 USD per month that only applies for imports of essential foodstuffs, capital machinery, manufacturing components and medicines. The purpose behind this change is to improve imports performance that was affected by the dollar shortage.
- Iran has signed an agreement with Airbus to buy 118 jets for 27 BN USD after the sanctions has been lifted.
- Egypt signed a 200 MM USD grant with Saudi Arabia in order to finance small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). 32 MM USD from the total grant will be used to finance small and micro projects led by youth in Sinai.
- According to the Head of Egypt's Customs Authority, Egypt has raised tariff rates on imports. He expects that the rise in tariffs will increase customs' revenues by average of 128 MM USD in H1 2016.
- Libya has decreased its oil production due to the political unrest. This drop has resulted in 68 MM USD loss in revenues. Libya is currently producing 362,000 barrels per day instead of 400,000 barrels after the attacks on Libya's largest oil terminals.
- Bahrain finance minister announced that the kingdom is planning to take some serious steps to cut its budget deficit following the IMF recommendations. It is worth noting that these steps are expected to help the kingdom sell its bonds when it returns to international markets.
- According to Iraq's Planning Ministry, the government has cancelled 296 planned projects for 2015 that was worth 10 TR IQD and postponed 2,100 projects of worth 37 TR IQD. The purpose of these decisions is to reduce government spending due to the fall in oil prices.
- Kuwait's Finance Ministry is expecting a deficit of 12.2 BN KWD for the year 2016/2017 amid the falling oil prices where revenues are expected to reach 7.4 BN KWD while expenditures are expected to be 18.9 BN KWD.
- Qatar's Foreign Merchandise Trade showed a surplus of 9.3 BN QAR in December 2015 down from 21 BN QAR in December 2014 witnessing a 55.7% decrease. It is worth mentioning that total exports in 2015 were 20.3 BN QAR, decreased by 36.9% compared to December 2014, while total Imports were 11 BN QAR, decreased by 1% compared to December 2014.
- According to Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, the GDP for Q3 2015 reached 209 BN AED, increased by 5.5% compared to the same period in 2014. Moreover, the non-oil sectors contributed to a growth rate of 11.8% in the Emirate's GDP at current prices.
- According to the coalition leading the operations against ISIS, the United States and its allies conducted 13 air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq and five in Syria.
- According to the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Egypt is planning to align with the Arab league decision to support Saudi Arabia's conflict with Iran.
- Iran has cancelled the oil conference that was planned to be held in London next month because of a delay in visas. It's worth mentioning that Iran was planning to reveal the new oil and gas contracts to the investors in this conference.
- .EGX30 witnessed an increase in banking sector led by Commercial International Bank (CIB).
- .KWSE witnessed a significant increase in real estate sector led by Al Dar National Real Estate.
- .QSI banking sector increased led by Qatar National Bank (QNB), followed by real estate sector which is led by Barwa Real Estate.
- .ADI banking sector increased led by First Gulf Bank and Sharjah Islamic Bank, followed by telecommunication sector which is led by Etisalat. On the other hand, real estate sector led by Eshraq Properties.
- DFMGI investment and financial services increased led by Dubai Investments, followed by banking sector which is led by Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB).
Index Watchlist Weekly % Change YTD% Change Egypt .EGX30 4.8% -14.5% Construction & Materials 0.3% -11.9% Telecommunication 8.8% -10.8% Banking 3.8% -15.5% KSA .TASI 7.6% -14.9% Petrochemicals 8.7% -13.8% Banks & Financial Services 5.7% -12.6% Telecommunication & Information 3.8% -15.3% Kuwait .KWSE 1.3% -10.8% Banking 4.76% -11.8% Telecommunication 1.9% -2.0% Financial Services -0.2% -15.0% Real Estate 3.3% -12.8% Industrials 0.6% -10.0% Qatar .QSI 8.0% -11.1% Banking & Financial Services 7.8% -10.2% Industrials 8.5% -12.9% Real Estate 7.6% -16.7% Telecommunication 2.5% -3.5% UAE, Abu Dhabi .ADI 4.6% -9.2% Banking 3.8% -14.8% Telecommunication 5.1% 1.9% Real Estate 12.9% -6.1% UAE, Dubai .DFMGI 9.0% -9.3% Banking 9.2% -6.1% Real Estate & Construction 11.3% -12.9% Investments & Financial Services 7.7% -15.6% Telecommunication 2.6% 2.0%
- John Lewis, Britain's largest store group, is planning to enter the Middle East through opening an outlet in Dubai Festival City Mall. The new outlet in Dubai will add to the company's overseas portfolio of total of 14 shops.
- Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development signed an agreement with Jordan worth of 20MN USD. The agreement is to implement developmental projects in educational and healthcare sector in the areas inhabited by Syrian refugees, and to improve the public services.
- National Bank of Abu Dhabi, UAE largest lender by asset, reported a 24.5% decrease in Q4 profits due to higher provisions and lower revenues. Moreover, the bank's net profit in 2015 is 6.2% less than 2014.
- Qatar Development Bank (QDB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), in order to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Qatar.
- Dubai Investments PJSC, a leading diversified investment company, reported 27% increase in net profits in 2015 to reach 1.1 BN AED compared to 871 MM AED in 2014, and the total assets increased by 7% to reach 15.5 BN AED compared to 14.5 BN AED.
- The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) signed a 60 MM USD agreement with the government of Burkina Faso and Sonabhy as the Executing Agency for the import of petroleum products in order to support the economy of Burkina Faso by ensuring a better supply of refined petroleum products.
- Al Habtoor Group has bought the Hilton London Wembley in a move to expand the company's hospitality portfolio.