- Egypt is increasingly being noted internationally as a top destination for travel for 2020, according to the results of annual travel trends survey released by the United States Tour Operators Associations (USTOA). Egypt, Croatia, and Colombia tied as the top destinations in the list. Meanwhile, the Insider’s list of “12 places you should visit in 2020” mentioned the 1 BN USD Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) which will be the second largest museum in the world and the largest museum dedicated to a single civilization.
- Egypt current account deficit decreased 31% y-oy in Q1-2019/2020 reaching 38 BN USD compared to 2.01 BN USD in Q1-2018/2019, according to the CBE. The non-oil trade deficit also narrowed to 8.17 BN USD compared to 9.21 BN USD in Q1-2018/2019, with non-oil exports rising 17% y-o-y.
- Egypt is ready to export 20% of its surplus electricity to African countries at half the average cost of electricity production and wants to start the process before Ethiopia can begin exporting electricity generated by the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) to neighboring countries.
- The Saudi Ministry of Labor and Social Development issued 2 million work visas in 2019 compared to 600,000 visas in 2018. This remarkable increase shows that the Saudi market has attracted new investors and entrepreneurs in 2019.
- The percentage of Saudi youth who have a monthly income with which they have been able to fulfill their financial commitments has reached 91% noting that youth make up 67.02% of the total Saudi population, according to the General Authority for Statistics (GASTAT).
- UAE has jumped ten spots on the list of most competitive countries in the world for four years, acquiring 5th place in 2019 compared to the 15th spot in 2016, according to the annual World Competitiveness Ranking 2019 published by the IMD Business School.
- Dubai expects to substantially increase state spending next year to stimulate the emirate's economy and support the Expo 2020 world fair, according to the 2020 budget released on Sunday.
- Kuwaiti trade balance surplus retreated by 6% reaching 7.25 BN KWD (23.94 BN USD) in the first nine months of 2019, compared to 8.11 BN KWD (26.79 BN USD) in the year-ago period, according to the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB).
- President Abdel Fattah El Sisi held phone calls with US President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to discuss the latest on the military cooperation agreements between Turkey and Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA).
- Algeria President Abdelmadjid Tebboune on Saturday named a university professor and former diplomat as prime minister, Abdelaziz Djerad, as he builds a new government to handle political unrest and a looming economic challenge.
- The EGX30 ended Thursday’s session up 1%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were CIRA up 4.3%, Orascom Development Egypt up 3.8%, and Ibnsina Pharma up 2.1%. Thursday’s worst performing stocks were Telecom Egypt down 2.2%, EFG Hermes down 0.8% and Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals down 0.7%.
- 2019 was a bad year for IPOs, leading some to wonder whether public markets are shrinking. The number of new listings decreased by a fifth globally reaching 1,237 which is the lowest figure in three years, the Financial Times reports, even as global equity markets have surged.
Note: Weekly values are calculated on Thursday of each week.
- Italy-based asset manager Azimut will launch a fund to invest in Egyptian equities in February 2020. The 10 MM USD fund will be launched in Luxemburg and will focus on collecting funds from Egyptian expats to invest in the local market.
- The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) extended by one month the deadline for Greek cement company Titan Group to present its mandatory tender offer (MTO) to acquire Alexandria Portland Cement. The new deadline is 26 January.
- MM Group approved the acquisition of 50% of Tamweel Group’s automotive factoring arm. MM Group is diversifying into financial services and wants to add factoring, reinsurance and mortgage finance as core business activities.
- The Egyptian General Petroleum Company (EGPC) and Ganope have signed four oil and gas exploration and production agreements that will see companies invest at least 155 MM USD to develop concessions in the Gulf of Suez, Nile Valley, and the westert desert.
- The telecom sector in Saudi Arabia witnessed a healthy performance in 2019. Noting that Saudi Telecommunications Company (STC) recorded an increase of 6% y-o-y while the revenues of Mobily was up 14% y-o-y and Zain KSA up 12% y-o-y.
- Tarshid, the National Energy Services Company, and Siemens Saudi Arabia have signed a smart energy scheme to reduce 4,300 tons of CO2 emissions and support the National Information Center (NIC) save 28% on energy consumption annually.
- Abu Dhabi Ports recognized by International Innovation Think Tank. It is the first port and the first maritime and transportation organization in the world to receive the award of the Innovative Organization Level 3 Certification from Global Innovation Management Institute (GIMI).
- Azizi Developments, a leading private developer in UAE, has awarded a contract worth 50 MM AED (13.6 MM USD) to UAE-based Prestige Constructions for its residential project, Berton, located within the Al Furjan development in the growth corridor of new Dubai.
- Total deposits in Kuwait local banks grew by 2% y-o-y to 43.6 BN KWD (143.8 BN USD) in October 2019, according to the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK). Meanwhile, the banks’ credit activity surged by 4.7% y-o-y after the credit facilities had recorded 38.3 BN KWD (126.3 BN USD) by the end of October.
Sports and Culture
- At the yard of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) near the Great Pyramids of Giza, Egypt celebrated on Saturday in an open-air ceremony setting a new Guinness World Record for the largest mosaic of ancient Egyptian King Tutankhamun's mask made of coffee cups.
- Roger Federer beats Alexander Zeverev in Hangzhou, China to wrap up exhibition tour. The doubles match took place on Saturday, with Federer and Zverev falling to the Bryans, 7-6, 7-6, and the two singles stars played each other on Sunday, with Federer prevailing, 6-1, 6-7, 6-2.