- The performance of Suez Canal in Egypt has improved in 2017 compared to 2016, where the revenues for the first six months increased from 2.91 BN USD in 2016 to 2.93 BN USD in 2017. The number of ships that cross the canal increased by 2.1% from 9,745 in 2016 to 9,949 in 2017. However, after the increase in the revenues in the first six months, a decrease of 2.8% has been noticed in July 2017.
- A study by Kuwait Parliament Studies and Research Center indicates that most of the foreigner workers in Kuwait own fake visas. Expatriates represent the majority of the labor force in Kuwait. However, it was reported that in 2015, 38.7% of the expatriates have certificates less than primary level and 34.6% have intermediate education certificates. This category of low education expatriates are the ones targeted by the Visa traders.
- Tourism in Saudi Arabia is witnessing an increase representing the highest contribution to the GDP among non-oil economic sectors. Tourist trips in 2016 have exceeded 47.5 million trips. Also, the revenues coming from tourism increased from 15.2 BN USD in 2004 to 43.2 BN USD in 2016. Accordingly, this will increase the contribution of the tourism sector to Saudi GDP to reach 81 BN USD in 2026. It is also expected that the domestic tourism sector will grow by 40% in 2020.
- In order to encourage the air transport and tourism of the country, Qatar allowed entry with free visa for 80 countries. Since the boycott of the UAE, KSA, Egypt and Bahrain and cutting all the transport links, hotel occupancy rates decreased and about 25% of the Qatar Airways flights have been suspended.
- A number of 95,000 real estate transactions have been implemented in Dubai from January 1st, 2016 to July 31st, 2017 with value exceeding 390 BN AED. Unit transactions have the highest number of transactions in the real estate sector with about 63,903 transactions worth 86 BN AED. Land transactions have the highest value in transactions, with about 24,000 transactions worth 283 BN AED.
- The amount of personal loans issued by banks in UAE increased by 4.7% reaching 15.7 BN AED (4.27 BN USD) in June 2017. On the other hand, loans granted to businesses have declined by 16.6% in the same period.
- Growth in the non-oil sector of the Bahraini economy has reached 4.4% in Q1-2017 compared to 3.7% during 2016. This growth was driven by the strong performance across the non-oil private sector, with momentum continuing to be supported by large-scale infrastructure projects.
- A train collision in Alexandria between two trains led to the death of 41 people and the injury of 133. The collision occurred between one train travelling from Cairo to Alexandria and another from Port Said at Khorsid station. An Egyptian prosecutor has ordered the detention of the train drivers and their assistants involved in the fatal collision last Friday.
- A series of attacks took place last week in Egypt. The first attack took place in Esna, South of Luxor, when a policeman stopped a car containing two armed men. Two people were killed; a policeman, a civilian and three civilians were wounded as a result of the attack. The second attack was in North Cairo where a group of criminals opened fire on policemen, killing two and wounding one policeman. The last attack took place in Al-Arish City in North Sinai, where the policemen were hunting some criminals and were shot dead by those criminals.
- Saudi Arabia continues to support Yemen to fight the Cholera, through the World Health Organization (WHO). After previously donating 8.2 MMUSD and 500 tons of medicines, Saudi Arabia donates 33.7 MM USD last week as part of the promised 66.7 MM USD to UNICEF and the WHO to support Yemen.
- Emirates airline will add four more flights to Egypt every week starting from October 29th, 2017. This will increase the frequencies between the two countries to be three times a day and 21 times a week.
- .EGX30 banking sector has slightly increased led by Commercial International Bank (CIB) and telecommunication sector led by Telecom Egypt.
- .TASI telecommunication sector has declined led by Zain and real estate sector led by Dar Al Arkan.
- .QSI banking sector has declined led by Doha Bank and Qatar Islamic Bank. In addition, real estate sector declined led by Barwa Real Estate.
Note: Weekly values are calculated on Thursday of each week.
- Egypt signed a new contract worth 109.1 MM USD to develop two gas turbines of its North Cairo power station with Japan Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems. Mitsubishi Hitachi will revive the two gas turbines in cooperation with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), to support Egyptian government effort to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- A privatization strategy that will transfer all Saudi Arabia Airports to companies owned by the Saudi Civil Aviation Holding Co. was announced by the General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA). The aim of this strategy is to improve the service and guarantee the profitability of the airports. The privatization process will take place in three steps; the first is to transform the airports to companies who have a board of directors managing the company. The second step is the operation and maintenance process. The last step is the Build, Transfer and Operate system (BTO).
- A partnership is initiated between the Saudi billionaire Al Waleed Bin Talal and Talaat Moustafa Holding group to expand the four seasons hotel in Sharm El-Sheikh. Al Waleed will invest 800 MM USD and is willing to build two new hotels in Al-Alamein, construct a town on the Mediterranean Sea and build a compound in Cairo.
- In an attempt to diversify its exposure, Oman Telecommunication Co. (Omantel), which is operating in eight countries all over the Middle East and Africa, is intending to buy a 10% share of Zain Group for 846.1 MM USD. This step will also help Omantel be positioned as a leading digital service provider in the Gulf Area.
- The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the UAE Water Aid Foundation, Suqia, and the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Charity and Humanitarian Establishment, (MBRHC). The aim of the deal is to implement joint humanitarian initiatives outside the UAE, as part of DEWA corporate social responsibility (CSR) to support the Year of Giving 2017 and align its social and voluntary activities with the main goals of the Year of Zayed initiative in 2018.
- The Bahrain based leading Islamic banking multinational, Al Baraka Banking Group B.S.C (ABG), reported a significant increase in its profitability indicators in Q2-2017 with net operating income increasing by 17% and net income by 19% compared to Q1-2017.
- Since the United States banned personal electronic devices aboard, flights and passenger traffic growth have been affected in the Middle East, where the passenger growth dropped to 2.5% in June 2017 compared to 3.7% in the first five months of the year. For the first time in five years, Emirates airline profit has decreased by 82% to reach 354 MM USD due to the drop in demand.
Sports and Culture
- Real Madrid has won 3-1 over Barcelona in the first leg at Camp Nou yesterday, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring the winner and getting a red card.
- "Consumer Happiness Counter" is launched by Dubai company Al-Futtaim Group. The aim of this center is spreading happiness across Dubai and improving the relationship between the consumers and traders, through solving consumers problems efficiently.
- According to Oman Ministry of Health Annual Report in 2016, 25% of the deaths in 2015 were due to diseases in the heart and circulatory system. This high percentage is reported to be caused by unhealthy lifestyles or high stress levels.