- Egypt and the European Union signed two grant agreements worth 55.8 MM EUR (63.6 MM USD) to finance sanitation and renewable energy projects. The first grant worth 45.8 MM EUR (52.2 MM USD), would be used to support the mega sanitation project, known as the Kitchener Drain depollution project. The second grant worth 10 MM EUR (11.4 MM USD), and would be used to finance Egypt reforms in water and renewable energy sectors.
- Egypt will auction one-year dollar-denominated T-bills worth 1 BN USD by today, 10th of December and the auction will be settled by tomorrow, 11th of December. The one-year T-bills worth about 1.15 BN USD are due to mature on the same day. The average yield on those T-bills was 3.495% compared to 3.697% of the last dollar-denominated T-bills auction, on 19th of November 2018.
- The Egyptian government and Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) signed an agreement worth 15 MM KWD (50 MM USD) aiming to contribute in the construction of four water desalination plants in South Sinai. The two sides also signed another loan deal, where KFAED would present an additional loan worth 25 MM KWD (85 MM USD) to Egypt.
- Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) announced that Saudi banks deposits increased by 1.2% y-o-y reaching 1.62 TR SAR (432 BN USD) in October 2018 compared to 1.6 TR SAR (427 BN USD) in October 2017. Demand deposits, which represent 63% of the total value of deposits increased 2.2% recording 1.02 TR SAR (271.8 BN USD) in October 2018 compared to 995.07 BN SAR (265.2 BN USD) in October 2017. SAMA noted that saving deposits fell 6.3% y-o-y in October 2018 registering 413.93 BN SAR (110.35 BN USD) compared to 441.88 BN SAR (117.81 BN USD) in October 2017.
- Fitch Ratings has affirmed Saudi Arabia credit rating at "A+" with "Stable" outlook, on the back of strong fiscal and external balance sheets reflecting the confidence in Saudi Arabia economy. Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), also indicated a consistent improvement in Saudi Arabia economy. Credit to the private sector continued to increase for the seventh consecutive month (+1.7% y-o-y; +0.2% m-o-m) in October 2018, while credit to the public sector also registered a rise (+19.7% y-o-y; +1.3% m-o-m).
- Dubai remains on track to become the most visited city for global travel, business and events, according to the latest figures released by Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism). Dubai welcomed 11.58 million visitors in the first nine months of 2018, with India retaining its position as Dubai's leading source market, followed by Saudi Arabia and the UK continuing to hold second and third positions respectively.
- UAE has been leading the way in pioneering Solar energy new technology and new thinking. The Solar Decathlon Middle East 2018 (SDME), hosted by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) in collaboration with the US Department of Energy Dubai, concluded an interesting competition that challenged students from various international universities to design and build a 150 m2 residential house that is entirely powered by solar energy using novel technologies.
- In UAE, the Emirates Authority for Standardization & Metrology (ESMA), has adopted three regulations for the Jewelry industry, which contribute to achieve the highest levels of confidence for consumers, particularly in the diamond and Jewelry industry. The aim of adopting these regulations is to serve the implementation of the UAE Cabinet Resolution No. 45 of 2018, to control the precious stones and precious metals and stamp them.
- Central Bank of Bahrain introduced a repurchase instrument to help local banks manage their liquidity. The interbank repurchase instrument covers the government's conventional securities denominated in Bahraini dinars. The move was part of the ongoing efforts towards the development of the banking sector and promoting liquidity management for conventional retail banks.
- Qatar Central Bank sold 700 MM QAR (192.31 MM USD) of T-bills with maturities of three, six and nine months. It issued 400 MM QAR of three-month bills with a 2.29% yield, 200 MM QAR of six-month bills at 2.43% and 100 MM QAR of nine-month bills at 2.65%.
- Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) asked foreign exchange companies to raise their capital requirements to 1.7 MM KWD (5.60 MM USD) from 1.5 MM KWD (4.94 MM USD). In addition, CBK has prepared a draft law regulating the bankruptcy and restructuring of local banks allowing the regulatory system to intervene quickly and take precautionary steps in the event of any of the banks facing violent that require supervision.
- In Kuwait, the Ministry of Education has frozen 1,080 jobs occupied by expatriates in 2018/2019. The decision covers 600 expatriate support staff assigned in Farwaniya Educational District whose contracts will be terminated in 2018. The contracts will not be renewed, and the workers' replacements will be hired through the relevant companies as it has been done in other educational districts.
- The French President Emmanuel Macron will address the nation on the "yellow vest" crisis today at 08:00 pm and meet trade unionists and business leaders in search of a way to end the protests that have rocked France. It is his first public comments after four weeks of nationwide anti-government demonstrations which again turned violent in Paris and other cities. The "yellow vests" protests started staging nationwide roadblocks on November 17 in protest against tax hikes raising the price of fuel. Their demonstrations have increased into a mass movement against ex-banker Mr. Macron, whom protesters accuse of being out of touch with ordinary people in provincial France.
- An Egyptian court has scheduled in 23rd of December 2018, to hear a petition by a number of citizens demanding constitutional changes in the text of article 140 that would allow President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to seek re-election beyond his second term. The constitution stipulates that any revision must be approved by popular referendum.
- Egypt hosted the Africa Forum with the theme of "Bold Leadership and Collective Commitment: Advancing Intra-African Investments" in Sharm El-Sheikh from 8th to 9th of December under the auspices of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi with African and global political and business leaderships to push for a new intra-African comprehensive partnership. The event attracted more than 3,000 delegates discussing the available opportunities to boost private sector engagement and intra-African investment, aiming to create a new economic system in Africa based on innovation, entrepreneurship, and women empowerment.
- In UAE, the women representation in the Federal National Council (FNC) will be increased to 50% in the coming parliamentary term, as per the directives of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. This step reflects the country's future approach aimed at achieving full empowerment of Emirati women and emphasizes their pioneering and effective role in all vital sectors of the UAE.
- .TASI banking sector increased led by Al Rajhi and Alinma Bank.
- .QSI banking sector increased led by Qatar National Bank (QNB) and telecommunication sector led by Ooredoo.
- .ADI telecommunication sector increased led by Etisalat and banking sector led by Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB). On the other hand, the real estate sector declined led by Aldar Properties.
- .DFMGI investment sector declined led by Dubai Investments and banking sector led by Emirates NBD.
Note: Weekly values are calculated on Thursday of each week.
- Uber Technologies Inc has launched a bus-booking service in Egypt, as part of the company investment plan in Egypt, as it pumps 100 MM USD over the next five years. The company aims to tap the low-income market making Egypt the first country in the world to receive this service. Uber will benefit from the investment law as well as the law on land transport services using information technology, and the state's developed infrastructure of roads and bridges.
- Pharos Holding for Financial Investments has signed a major "Chaperone Agreement" with Exotix Capital, the global emerging markets investment bank, headquartered in London. This global agreement will allow Exotix clients from the world's major institutional investors, to have access to Pharos research, as well as to the Egyptian market; to trade and invest through Pharos Brokerage.
- Egypt has relied on fruitful partnerships with major global wind energy companies, namely Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy Company, especially since Egypt has enormous potential in generating wind energy. Egypt is considered one of 15 countries in the world with unlimited potential for growth and expansion in this field. Egypt total wind capacity is expected to reach 6,500 MW by 2026.
- Pan-African Liquid Telecom, a subsidiary of Econet Wireless Global, will invest 400 MM USD on data centers, infrastructure and financial inclusion in Egyptian telecoms under an outline deal signed with Telecom Egypt. The agreement includes a partnership between Telecom Egypt and Africa Data Centers, a subsidiary of Liquid, to build and operate new data centers across Egypt.
- The Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) participated in EDEX 2018, Egypt Defense Expo, which was held in Cairo under the patronage of His Excellency Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, from 3rd to 5th of December 2018, at the Egyptian International Exhibition Center. More than 350 companies specializing in military industries and supportive sectors, from 41 countries around the globe, joined the Exhibition.
- Saudi Arabia has joined forces with Datix, a leading patient safety software company, and Health Matrix, a renowned healthcare IT company serving the Middle East, to launch an ambitious project that could transform the patient safety movement worldwide. The Transformational Patient Safety Learning System Project called (Sawtak) will include the installation of Datix software nationwide, firmly establishing the Saudi Patient Safety Center (SPSC) as one of the leading proponents of the global patient safety movement.
- The Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) held discussions with an economic delegation from Azerbaijan on ways to develop economic cooperation, promote mutual investments, exchange trade missions, and build partnerships between the business communities in Sharjah and Azerbaijan.
- Dubai Government Workshop (DWG) has signed an MoU with "Al-Futtaim Lexus" to reinforce cooperation in the maintenance of Lexus vehicles. The agreement reflects DWG commitment to boost Dubai reputation as a provider of top-notch customer services for their happiness and enhanced experience.
- Gemini Property Developers, a Dubai-based boutique property developer, focused on entering the Indian market to promote and sell its properties currently being delivered and developed in Dubai, by launching a major marketing campaign in Mumbai at the Dubai Property Show that took place at Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai from 7th to 9th December 2018. Indian investors have invested 83.5 BN AED (22.75 BN USD) in the last five years becoming the largest foreign investors in Dubai real estate market.
- Qatar Commercial Bank (CBQ); the country's third-largest lender by assets announced that it could raise its total debt issuance reaching 1 BN USD in 2019 by tapping a range of various debt instruments, as CBQ aims to further diversify its funding sources. Qatari banks, traditionally reliant on foreign funding, have sought to tap a larger variety of investors since June 2017 when Qatar became locked in a diplomatic dispute with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain.
- Qatar Petroleum entered an agreement with an ExxonMobil affiliate to acquire a 10% participating interest in three offshore exploration blocks in the Angoche and Zambezi basins in Mozambique. The blocks will be made up of affiliates of ExxonMobil with a 50% stake, Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos with 20%, Rosneft with 20% interest, and Qatar Petroleum with 10%
- Duqm Refinery, a joint venture between Oman Oil Company (OOC) and Kuwait Petroleum International (KPI also known as Q8), signed seven loan agreements worth 4.6 BN USD with local, regional and international financiers. Under the deals, international financial institutions will pump 1.43 BN USD into the mega project located in southeast Al-Wosta Governorate, the Sultanate of Oman.
Sports and Culture
- Egypt international and Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah won the Football Supporters' Federation's (FSF) Men's Player of the Year award for 2018 attracting over 366,000 votes, during a ceremony in London. Salah topped a six-man shortlist that also included his teammate Virgil van Dijk, Manchester City duo Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling, Eden Hazard of Chelsea and Leicester City's Harry Maguire.
- The Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris, the founder of the Ahmed Fouad Negm Poetry Award, announced that the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development has bought the house of the poet Ahmed Fouad Negm in Cairo's Mokattam district and will turn it into a museum. He called on anyone who has pictures or handwritten poems by Negm to place it in the museum.
- Serena Williams has been added to the star-studded line-up for 2018 Mubadala World Tennis Championship (MWTC), which will take place from 27th to 29th December 2018. The 23-time Grand Slam champion will be joining her sister, Venus Williams, in the women side of the 11th edition of the Championship offering the chance to the lucky fans to see the siblings battle it out in Dubai in addition to all the entertainment in store for the family on Day One of the Championship.