- Saudi Arabia will add an additional 400 MM USD to its loan agreement of developing the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula. It is worthy to mention that total Saudi investments in Sinai has increased to 900 MM USD.
- A new Saudi expat tax of 100 SAR per month per dependent is predicted to put burden on foreign workers and businesses in the Kingdom.
- The Saudi construction market is predicted to more than double reaching 362 BN SAR (98.8 BN USD) by 2025 compared to 170 BN SAR in 2016.
- Egypt will finalize new investment law executive regulations in 10 days. The law expects to increase investment by providing incentives and reducing bureaucracy.
- Egypt account deficit has reached 3.5 BN USD in Q3-2016/2017 according to Egypt Central Bank. The account deficit decreased by 38% due to the bank's decision to float the currency in November 2016.
- Kuwait has deported 13,000 expats in 2017. Indians and Egyptians top the list of deportees at 23% and 20% respectively. This was a result of violation of residency and work regulations.
- The UAE dominates the MENA region in private equity investments with 62% of the region's share in 2016.
- The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) proposes a three-year safeguard tariff of 31% on steel and iron imports at the World Trade Organization.
- Despite court ruling, the Egyptian parliament approves the transfer of the Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafeer to Saudi Arabia. The treaty awaits ratification by the Egyptian president.
- Gulf States transport ministers meet in Montreal to discuss airspace situation amidst the closure of airspace in the face of Qatari airplanes.
- No potential plans to request sanctions against Qatar by Arab States in the UN Security Council.
- A new electoral law passes in Lebanon. Legislative plans will likely be held in May 2018.
- Egypt eases flight restrictions to Qatar by allowing third-country registered flights to fly between Egypt and Doha.
- King Salman of Saudi and Putin of Russia discuss Qatar crisis over phone.
- .TASI banking sector has slightly increased led by Alinma Bank.
- .KWSE banking sector has slightly increased led by Boubyan Bank and Ahli United Bank. On the other hand, the real estate sector has declined led by Al Massaleh.
- .QSI banking sector has declined led by Doha Bank.
Note: Weekly values are calculated on Thursday of each week.
- Egypt Transport Ministry signed a 575 MM USD contract with General Electric Co to provide 100 railway locomotives. The first shipment of 25 locomotives will arrive in 2018 as a part of a plan to have 25 million tons of goods transported via railway by 2022.
- Majid Al Futtaim signed an agreement with the start-up Fetcher to provide a shopping delivery service in Dubai.
- The Kingdom Holding Company KHC, owned by Alwaleed Bin Talal, acquires 7.11% of Careem in a 62 MM USD purchase.
- Dubai Chamber signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Souq.com to grant its members special access to promotions and benefits
- Egypt investment bank EFG Hermes attempts to enter the Nigerian market through an acquisition and is expected to get regulatory approval to start a brokerage business in Kenya this year.
Sports and Culture
- UAE has banned the sales of BeIN TV receivers as Saudi considers launching a channel breaking Qatar's monopoly over sport broadcasting.
- The US Department of Homeland Security considers the expansion of its laptop ban in flights originating from Middle Eastern airports to other airports in Europe and Asia.
- Saudi Arabia imposes a selective type of tax 'Sin Tax' that is applied on products that are harmful to health. The tax doubles the retail prices of cigarettes.