- Egypt is currently planning to build three phosphate factories in New Valley province in the Western desert. The three factories will require an investment of 15-20 BN EGP (845.5 MM USD-1.1 BN USD).
- Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has set the limit for portable funds for Egyptian pilgrims during Hajj period to be 10,000 USD or its equivalent in other currencies. This decision has been made through a collaboration between the CBE and the Ministry of Tourism, in order to decrease the pressure on the Egyptian pound.
- Kuwait real estate liquidity rose by 7% in the one-month period from June to July 2017, which is a 26.8% increase compared to last year. Property trading in July 2017 was valued at 163.3 MM QAR, while the private residential property trading was valued at 101.9 MM QAR, the housing investment sector was valued at 72.8 MM QAR and the commercial sector at 13.7 MM QAR.
- The Ministry of Finance is concerned about implementing the Value Added Tax (VAT) in Kuwait. It believes that if it applies this 5% tax increase, the cost will increase and in return the gains will decrease. Also, the implementation of the (VAT) will raise the prices of some goods and services which will thereby decrease the standards of living and will affect the middle-class citizens.
- After the crisis of Qatar, the government injected 40.1 BN QAR (10.9 BN USD) in June and 25.8 BN QAR (7 BN USD) in July in the local banking system to offset the drop that occurred recently. Foreign customers deposit decreased from 170.6 BN QAR in June to 157.2 BN QAR in July, while the total deposits increased from 770.7 BN QAR in June to 772.5 BN QAR in July, due to the increase in the public foreign deposits by 25.4 BN QAR (6.9 BN USD).
- About 55.2 BN USD worth of health care projects are in progress in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in 2017. About 37 hospital projects worth 28.2 BN USD are in the pipeline in the Gulf region, which are expected to add 22,500 hospital beds to the sector.
- Demand for Saudi Riyals has increased as people are exchanging different currencies from all over the world for the Hajj journey. The most exchanged currency in Saudi Arabia is the US dollar followed by the Euro, the Singapore dollar, the Indian rupee, the Indonesian rupiah, the Emirati dirham and then the Malaysian ringgit.
- Saudi Arabia is planning to introduce the 5% Value Added Tax (VAT) to the private education sector entities namely nurses, schools and universities. The taxes will be taken from the parents if the school has registered for the VAT.
- Saudi Arabia opens the door to full ownership in the education and health sectors for foreigners. All education types, from primary school to university will be 100% open to foreigner ownership. Regarding the health sector, the Ministry of Health will play the role of regulating the service rather than providing it. This decision will provide around 180 BN USD of investments in the next five years.
- Residential prices in Abu Dhabi are facing a strong drop recently. Prices have decreased by 4-15% in H1-2017, and it is expected that they will slow down until they reach the bottom. This drop in prices was due to the decrease in the household income in the private and public sectors with the increasing cost of living in Abu Dhabi.
- In October 2017, an excise tax will be introduced in UAE on tobacco and fizzy and energy drinks. The tax rate is 100% on tobacco and energy drinks and 50% on fizzy drinks. This excise tax is a way to diversify the income of the country, especially after the decline in oil prices in 2014.
- King Salman approved the re-opening of the Salwa border crossing between Qatar and Saudi Arabia to allow Qatari pilgrims to enter Saudi Arabia. He also allowed Saudi aircrafts to go to Doha and transport Qatari pilgrims to Jeddah, which caused the Saudi Arabian Airlines to allocate seven flights from Doha to Jeddah to transport the pilgrims.
- After the re-opening of the Arar border crossing between Saudi Arabia and Iraq after 27 years of closure, Saudi Arabia is seeking to urgently establish a consulate in Najaf and will establish the second one in Basra. It is also considering opening a new border crossing between the two countries.
- A fire broke in a 15-floor hotel in Makkah due to a problem in an air conditioning unit. The hotel hosted 600 foreign pilgrims from Turkey and Yemen. The hotel was immediately evacuated and the fire was brought under control with no injuries or deaths.
- UAE donated 8.63 BN AED (2.35 BN USD) as an aid for Yemen in the period April 2015 to July 2017. It is worthy to mention that 2.37 BN AED from the donations are allocated to humanitarian assistance. In addition, about 72.4% of the donations, with the value of 6.25 BN AED are allocated for the developmental aid and the rehabilitation process for the Yemeni governorates.
- Qatar introduces a new law for foreigner workers; nannies, maids, cleaners and cooks, as a mean of protecting their human rights. The law declares that foreigner workers should be between 18 and 60 years. They are expected to take three weeks as annual vacation.
- .KWSE Real Estate sector rose led by Tamdeen. On the other hand, Industrials sector has declined led by Human Soft and KGL.
- .ADI Real Estate sector has increased led by Aldar Properties. On the other hand, Telecommunication sector has declined led by Etisalat.
- .DFMGI Investments & Financial Services sector has declined led by Dubai Investments. On the other hand, Real Estate sector rose led by Emaar Properties.
Note: Weekly values are calculated on Thursday of each week.
- Orascom Construction the Cairo-based contractor has completed the biggest student housing complex in Iowa through its design-build contracting business the Weitz Company. The housing complex takes about 2.2 million sq ft of space in the campus of Texas A&M University.
- Egypt Modern Company for Construction and Real Estate (MCR) is aiming to launch the first phase of Oasis Park project located in 6th of October in June 2018. Oasis Park is considered a three-housing phase project and will contain a commercial center. The first phase of the project is established on a space of 50 feddans and contains 1,526 units.
- Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel), the leading digital service provider in Oman has announced purchasing approximately 425.7 million shares of Zain treasury shares, which represents 9.84% of Zain shares. This transaction is valued at about 846.1 MM USD.
- Emar properties in Dubai announced the launching of Dubai Hills Mall that will serve citizens in Mohamed bin Rashed City and in Arabian Ranches. The mall is expected to be done by late 2019. The mall contains about 750 retail outlets, a cinema and parking spaces for over 7,000 cars.
- BLOM Bank in Lebanon, launches a new service to its customers, BLOM Pay. This service will allow the holders of the BLOM visa card to make payments on their android mobile phones through the eBLOM application, whether the card was debit or credit.
- Gulf air in Bahrain signed a codeshare agreement with Oman Air. The agreement indicates the increase in the number of flights between Bahrain and Muscat to be six flights a day.
- Mastercard has launched a new digital payment service called the Masterpass. It allows the customers to make easier, faster and safer shopping whether online, in store or through applications with thousands of retailers. The first bank to offer this service to its customers is The National Commercial bank (NCB) in Saudi Arabia.
Sports and Culture
- Egypt volleyball team won over Poland with score 4-1 in the 2017 Volleyball Men U23 World Championship, which took place in the Cairo Stadium Hall Complex in Egypt. Also, the women national Egyptian basketball team has beaten Mozambique with score 91-70 in the final match of the women 2017 FIBA Afrobasket championship.
- A social care center is expected to open in Zarqa, Jordan in the next few days. Its target is to provide shelter for a large number of female beggars. The number of female beggars have recently increased because their families believe that the society will empathize more with females. Since the beginning of this year the Ministry of Social Development has restrained about 1,000 beggars, of which 400 were females.
- The design for the 6th stadium proposed for 2022 FIFA World cup in Qatar, Al Thumama Stadium has been revealed by the authority responsible for delivering World Cup stadiums. The stadium is supposed to accommodate for about 40,000 fans during the World Cup, but will later decrease to 20,000 fans as the other 20,000 seats will be donated to countries in need for sports infrastructure.