- The Egyptian Minister of Planning, Monitoring and administrative Reform, Dr. Hala El Said, announced that Egypt economy expanded about 5.3% in Q1-2018/2019 that began in July compared to Q1-2017/2018.
- A strong recovery by the tourism sector in Egypt will lead to an increase in its contribution to the GDP to more than 15%. The number of visitors have increased by around 40% y-o-y in Q3-2018 and if the trend continues it will lead to an annual increase in tourist numbers reaching around 10 million for the first time since 2012, compared to 7.5 million in 2017.
- Banque Misr is seeking to borrow 550 MM USD from foreign lenders before the end of 2018 to improve dollar liquidity and the two banks who will arrange the loan are Citi Bank and Emirates NBD.
- The General Directorate of Health Affairs in Riyadh announced that it has opened nine "specialized consultation" clinics in primary health care centers across the region as part of its ongoing drive to improve those centers in line with the Ministry of Health initiatives. Four of the new clinics are dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment
- In Saudi Arabia, about 48,000 Saudi women have entered the job market in Q2-2018, which is an increase of 8.8% compared to Q2-2017. Around 593,400 Saudi women are now working in the private sector in various parts of the Kingdom.
- Iraq and Saudi Arabia oil ministers agreed to work together to stabilize oil markets. Moreover, they discussed an electricity grid connection between the two countries to meet Iraq power needs. Iraq plans to increase its oil production capacity with 5 million barrel per day (bpd) and its average export capacity with 3.8 million bpd in 2019, with a focus on the southern oilfields.
- UAE new law enabling the federal government to issue sovereign bonds will deliver a major boost to UAE economy by providing multiple benefits for the country's investment environment. A lot of law firms believe that the law is an important step in the development of the country's financial and debt capital market as it permits the government to raise debt and benefit from the UAE strong fundamental position.
- The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization and the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED), have signed an MoU to accelerate the process of employing 1,000 Emirati job seekers in Al Dhafra region within the next three months. The move is in line with the directives of UAE government to create more than 10,000 jobs for UAE citizens in the private and government sectors under the umbrella of the multi-phase "Ghadan 21" plan.
- UAE has made a big leap in the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), it has advanced 18 places in "ICT Adoption" from 24th to 6th place globally. This theme measures the efficiency of the telecommunications sector in countries through a number of global competitiveness indicators. UAE has also been ranked 1st in the world in the Global Competitiveness Index for mobile broadband subscription rate and ranked 2nd globally in the mobile subscription index.
- Russian oil giant Rosneft announced that the Qatar Investment Authority sovereign wealth fund would pay around 3.7 BN EUR (4.23 BN USD) for a 14.16% stake in the company. The QIA would become the third-largest Rosneft shareholder as a result of the deal after the Russian government and British oil major.
- Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) signed an MoU to promote and facilitate innovation in financial services across the UAE and the Kingdom of Bahrain. The MoU provides an official platform for both authorities to cooperate on initiatives and regulatory efforts to advance the development of the financial sectors in each other's market.
- Jordan and Lebanon are committed to keep their currencies pegged to USD, despite the fact that this means a higher interest rate environment for economies that are struggling to grow.
- Egypt President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ordered a detailed review of a law criticized by human rights groups that restricts the work of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Rights groups say the May 2017 law effectively bans their work and makes it harder for charities to operate. However, Egyptian government have stressed that it is necessary, arguing that foreign-funded NGOs threaten national security.
- Saudi Arabia will cut the production of oil if the prices drop considerably lower than 70 USD per barrel. One major factor that pushed oil prices to over 70 USD is when Trump stated that they are going to impose US sanctions on Iran. What happened since then is Iran lost almost 40% of its crude oil in volume terms, because European countries have reduced their imports from Iran. Korea and Japan completely stopped.
- German shipbuilder Luerssen has suspended production of coastguard vessels that it was building for Saudi Arabia and placed large numbers of staff on short hours, blaming uncertainty over whether Berlin would grant future weapons export licenses. After what happened for the journalist Jamal Khashoggi that was killed in Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that Berlin would authorize no further weapons exports until Riyadh had satisfactorily explained his death.
- President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has issued a federal law, authorizing the UAE Cabinet to grant temporary licenses for the testing innovations that utilize future technologies and its applications such as Artificial Intelligence (AI). The law aims at providing a safe test environment for legislation that will govern the use and applications of future technologies.
- .TASI telecommunication sector declined led by Mobily and Zain. In addition, banking sector declined led by Al Rajhi.
- .QSI telecommunication sector increased led by Vodafone Qatar and real estate sector led by Barwa Real Estate.
- .ADI real estate sector declined led by Aldar and Eshraq Properties and telecommunication sector led by Etisalat.
- Orascom Construction, a leading global engineering and construction contractor, announced that it has added 520 MM USD of new awards to its backlog in Q3-2018. Egypt accounted for approximately 60% of the new awards while the US represented the balance. New awards in Egypt were mainly across the infrastructure and wastewater treatment sectors as the group strengthened its leadership position in these market segments.
- The Shares in Commercial International Bank Egypt (CIB) increased after the bank reported an increase in the net profit by 23.9% y-o-y in Q3-2018. In Q3-2018 consolidated net profit attributable to shareholders amounted to 2.59 BN EGP (144.6 MM USD) compared to 2.09 BN EGP (117 MM USD) in Q3-2017.
- The Saudi Arabian Military Industries company (SAMI) and the Spanish state-owned shipbuilding company have launched a joint venture to design and build five cutting-edge corvettes. The launch of this project came in line with the crown prince's announcement that 50% of the total military spending will be localized by 2030, and the new joint venture will contribute to maintaining the readiness of the Saudi military fleet. In addition, it will create jobs and training opportunities for Saudi nationals.
- Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has signed an agreement with French oil and gas major Total, granting it a 40% stake in the Ruwais Diyab Unconventional Gas Concession. ADNOC Group is targeting a one billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of unconventional gas production before 2030, retains a 60% stake in the concession. The agreement includes a 6 to 7-year exploration and appraisal phase which will then be followed by a 40-year production term.
- Virgin Mobile, the second brand operating under Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), recently launched eSIM technology as a new addition to its innovative digital mobile offering, eSIM is now available for new and existing customers that have a compatible handset. The eSIM is meant to eventually replace the physical, plastic SIM card all current smartphones use with a virtual embedded equivalent that have been pre-built in some compatible devices.
- Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced that the first new phase of Dubai Metro trains had arrived in the emirate, with a total of 50 to be delivered by the end of October 2019. Around 15 will be used for serving Expo 2020 network and 35 to enhance the service level of the Dubai Metro.
- International Bank of Qatar (ibq) was named "Best Private Bank in Qatar" by Global Finance's 4th annual "World's Best Private Banks Awards". The award recognized ibq's excellence in private banking and wealth management and its commitment to develop long-lasting privileged relationships with its clients.
- China Sinochem Group has agreed to annual crude oil supply deals for 2019 with Saudi Aramco and Kuwait Petroleum Corp, with volumes from both suppliers more than 20% higher than in 2018. The Saudi volumes will be processed at Sinochem's wholly-owned Quanzhou refinery in southeast China Fujian province, as well as at the Hongrun refinery in Shandong province and the West Pacific Petrochemical Corp (WEPEC) plant in Dalian.
- Kuwait-based Jazeera Airways has reported an operating revenue of 63.7 MM KWD (209 MM USD) in the first nine months of 2018, marking a 38.4% growth y-o-y and welcomed 1.5 million passengers, with an increase of 44.5% y-o-y. The company's net profit stood at 8.5 MM KWD (27.94 MM USD) for the first nine months of 2018, down 11.2% compared to the same period in 2017.
Sports and Culture
- FIFA's museum in Zurich has added Egyptian goalkeeper Essam al-Hadary's equipment to its display, in celebration of the player who became the oldest in history to take part in the World Cup.The equipment included his mint and silver gloves as well as his national team t-shirt.
- Saudi General Sports Authority (GSA) announced that The King Salman Tennis Championship which was to bring together Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic has been postponed. Nadal, who underwent ankle surgery, is not expected to recover in time for the event on 22nd December.
- Bedaya Center for Entrepreneurship and Career Development, a joint initiative by Qatar Development Bank and Silatech, is gearing up to launch the "Start Up Weekend 2018" competition, which will be held for three days from November 15th to 17th, 2018 at the Panorama Hall in Tawar Mall. It is a business modeling competition targeting university students or professionals looking for potential partners to build business ideas.
- Portugal again left out Cristiano Ronaldo, their all-time record scorer and most topped player, as coach Fernando Santos named the squad for this month's Nations League matches. Santos previously omitted Ronaldo from the squad in September and October, saying the decision was taken by mutual accord as the 33-year-old was still adapting following his move from Real Madrid to Juventus.