- The Minister of Petroleum, Tarek El Molla, announced that Egypt will stop importing natural gas after its final liquefied shipments arrived last week and accordingly, the country would save 250 MM USD per month. Egypt production of natural gas has been growing steadily since the giant Zohr offshore gas field began operating in December 2017 as it reached 6.6 billion cubic feet per day in September 2018, compared to 6 billion feet per day in July 2018.
- Egypt has received the third and last 500 MM USD tranche of a 1.5 BN USD African Development Bank loan which will support the government development programs. The funds aim to support development programs that meet the citizens' needs, and which come as a top priority for the government in the context of the social dimension of Egypt economic reform program.
- Egypt announced a tranche of additional import tariffs on various goods. The charges include an additional 20% tariff on machinery and equipment imported by tourist establishments, as well as increases to fruit juices and baby formula.
- Saudi Arabia has supported the Central Bank of Yemen and provided direct humanitarian assistance over the past four years with the total amount of 13 BN USD. More than 100 tons of humanitarian aid have been provided to the Rohingya, 300,000 of which are in Yemen.
- Regulations of the General Organization of Social Insurance (GOSI) permit Saudi subscribers to work for two or more employers at the same time but most companies lay down conditions that deny them this privilege. As a result, over 1.7 million Saudis have been deprived of the chance to supplement their income by working part-time.
- Real estate, construction, manufacturing, domestic services, market research, government sector, media and IT will create most of the jobs in UAE in 2019. The UAE central bank data revealed that 60,900 additional jobs were created between June 2017 and June 2018, mostly due to construction and real estate activities, surpassing five million mark. In total, the UAE added 1.22% additional workers to 5.028 million during the comparative period.
- The UAE Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation, FANR, signed three MoU with France on cooperation, exchange of technical information, capacity building, research and development. The three MoUs were signed on the sidelines of the 62nd International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference that was concluded on 21st September in Vienna, Austria.
- Qatar Central Bank raised deposit rate by 25 basis points to 2.25%. The decision came after the U.S. Federal Reserves raised its interest rates by 25 basis points. However, Central Bank of Kuwait decided to keep its key discount rate unchanged at 3%.
- In Pakistan, the Minister of Finance Asad Umar invited the Kuwaiti Minister of Commerce and Industry Khaled Al-Roudhan in Islamabad, to invest in the mega projects of Pakistan including the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
- Teachers in Indian schools across Oman will all get pay raises in 2018 by 450 OMR, in order to bring salary levels up to international standards. This comes in the wake of an announcement that teachers should stop private tuition and after the board of directors of Indian schools in Oman carried out a financial study to look at the pay gaps between Indian and international schools in the country, over the last year and a half.
- The Jordanian Equal Pay Committee announced that the wage gap between genders has reached 13.8% in the public sector and 14.2% in the private sector. In the health sector, the gap was at 31.8% and in private education it had reached 30.2%.
- Following outbreak of bird flu in Malaysia, Vietnam and Cambodia, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in Oman has banned the import of poultry and poultry products from the three countries.
- US President Donald Trump met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York to discuss joint cooperation in eradicating terrorism. The Egyptian presidency stated that Trump stressed the US administration role in enhancing strategic relations with Egypt, while also expressing hopes of further cooperation with Egypt on middle eastern issues in light of Egypt central role in the region.
- Lebanon parliament has approved the international arms trade treaty, angering Hezbollah legislators, some of whom walked out in protest.
- Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property and US Patent and Trademark Office signed an MoU to cooperate in the field of intellectual property rights, and to exchange experiences and visits by specialists. Earlier, the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property signed an MoU with the South Korean Intellectual Property Office to cooperate in the protection of intellectual property rights. This is done through the exchange of information on the policies, strategies and plans related to automation systems.
- Qatar is the country at highest risk of being downgraded by S&P Global Ratings as it continues to feel the impact of a boycott by other Arab states. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar last year, accusing it of backing terrorism, a charge which Doha denies. The move disrupted Qatar imports and led to the withdrawal of billions of dollars from Qatari banks by depositors from the four states, hurting the economy.
- .QSI banking sector increased led by Qatar National Bank (QNB) and Masraf Al Rayan. In addition, the industrial sector increased led by Qatar Industrial Manufacturing.
- .ADI banking sector increased led by Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) and telecommunication sector led by Etisalat. Moreover, the real estate sector increased led by Eshraq Properties and Aldar Properties.
- .DFMGI banking sector increased led by Emirates NBD and Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB). In addition, real estate sector increased led by Emaar Properties and Arabtec Holding as well as investments and financial services increased led by Dubai Investments.
Note: Weekly values are calculated on Thursday of each week.
- In Egypt, the Commercial International Bank (CIB), is planning to create a digital bank, in a bid to tap into the huge numbers of the country's population that remains unbanked and bring them into the formal economy. Around 60 million of Egypt population are eligible for bank accounts, but only 14 million people have them. CIB will consider that they have an uneducated people that they have to look at.
- Etisalat Misr, in collaboration with Ericsson, is set to unveil a new era of mobile voice communications with the launching of Voice Over LTE (VoLTE) services in Egypt. VoLTE calls connect in less than two seconds compared to ten seconds over legacy technologies and deliver a more true-to-life sound with reduced background noise. Subscribers will have the flexibility to make calls and use 4G mobile data services simultaneously without compromising 4G data connectivity speed.
- Swicorp Company, the leading Middle East Private Equity company alongside its partner Acciona Energia achieve financial close and break ground on their 186 MW PV Power project in Egypt, after the launch of its dedicated Renewable Energy Investment Platform ("ENARA") which already has a pipeline of 1 GW of renewable energy projects across Africa and the Middle East.
- CASIO opened its interactive, easy-to-navigate online store on the Amazon-acquired SOUQ.com, the leading online portal, after both parties formally sealed their landmark partnership in a high-profile ceremony held in Dubai. The agreement paved the way for customers in UAE and Saudi Arabia to conveniently purchase online various top-of-the-line models of shock-resistant G-SHOCK watches as well as other stellar CASIO timepieces and delivered right at their doorsteps.
- Saudi Arabia announced that it expects inflows of around 11 BN USD into the country's debt as a result of the inclusion of its international bond issues in JP Morgan emerging markets bond indexes. Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait, will enter JP Morgan's emerging market government bond indexes in 2019. The move is expected to attract a total of around 30 BN USD of new foreign investment into their debt.
- Uber, the world's leading ride-sharing app and Emirates airlines, the world's largest international airline, have announced an exclusive partnership that will provide Emirates passengers visiting Dubai from select international countries with discounted airport rides. Dubai visitors from Australia, Egypt, France, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa will only benefit special offers from Uber on bookings made between 26 September to 10 December 2018.
- UAE residents' bank accounts could be frozen when a person changes, leaves or loses their job because the final salary payment, which should include their end-of-service benefits, will also mention that this is the final payment to the bank and will automatically sends alerts whether debts haven't been paid by the customer or not. This can include anything from car and personal loans or even a large unpaid credit card bill.
- Qatar Petroleum, the world's top supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG), is adding a fourth LNG production line to raise capacity from the North Field to 110 million tons per year. The new project will produce about 32 million tons per year of LNG, 4,000 tons a day of ethane, 260,000 barrels a day of condensate, and 11,000 tons a day of LPG, in addition to approximately 20 tons per day of pure helium. This will increase Qatar total production capacity from 4.8 to 6.2 million barrels of oil equivalent per day.
- In Kuwait, Mobile Telecommunications (Zain Group) is expecting to achieve profits valued at 129 MM KWD (427 MM USD) from January to September 2018 compared to 122 MM KWD (404 MM USD) in the same period in 2017. In H1-2018, Zain reported an increase of 5.1% in earnings reaching 86.45 MM KWD compared to 82.29 MM KWD in H1-2017.
- The National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) partnered with the Middle East-based online business enabler, Tap Payments, to provide merchants and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from different sectors access to a globally bench-marked E-Commerce platform. NBK customers will exclusively enjoy with Tap Payments' goCollect billing services, which allows them to track invoices and daily business activities such as payment collections.
- National Bank of Oman (NBO) has successfully issued five-year senior unsecured 500 MM USD notes as part of its updated and upsized 1.5 BN USD Euro Medium-Term Note (EMTN) program. The Bank simultaneously undertook a liability management exercise to buy back 300 MM USD face value of notes out of its existing 600 MM USD five-year notes maturing in October 2019. The new issue of 500 MM USD, which was oversubscribed by more than two times, was priced at five-year mid-swap plus 270 basis points.
Sports and Culture
- Egyptian sensation and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah were given FIFA's 2018 "Puskas Goal of the Year" award, for his strike against Everton, beating legends Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale to the title. The award goes to the player who scored the most aesthetically pleasing goal in world football, over the past year. Unfortunately for Salah's fans, the rest of the night at FIFA's awards ceremony in London did not go his way. Luka Modric was named "Men's Player of the Year", after tensely sharing the award's shortlist with Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo.
- An Egyptian archeological mission operating in Mit Rahina announced the discovery of a huge archaeological building in the Hoad al-Demerdash area, about 400 meters north of the Mit Rahina museum in Giza. The size of the building is 17 meters x 14.5 meters, it is most likely part of a residential area. The building is made of bricks supported by massive limestone block, with its foundations, external walls and inner staircase constructed using red bricks.
- Germany will host the Euro 2024 soccer tournament after beating Turkey in a two-horse contest. Germany, which previously staged the event as West Germany in 1988, won the vote among 17 members of Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) executive committee. It was a bitter disappointment for Turkey who also failed with bids to host the 2008, 2012 and 2016 tournaments.