- The Egyptian government has deployed 40 BN EGP of the 100 BN EGP allocated by the government to protect the economy against the covid-19 pandemic. Around 5.1 BN EGP has been allocated to the Health Ministry, 5 BN EGP to the Supply Ministry to pay for strategic commodities, 10 BN EGP to the Export Subsidy Fund, and another 10 BN EGP to support tourism, aviation, and other vulnerable sectors.
- Egypt foreign reserves decreased in April for the second consecutive month as the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) honored repatriation requests from foreign investors. Reserves decreased by another 1 BN USD in April 2020 reaching 37 BN USD compared to 45.5 BN USD in February 2020.
- President Abdel Fattah El Sisi ratifies four newly approved bills, including covid-19 tax relief, higher income tax exemptions. Other laws include allowing pensioners to add the previous five raises to their pensionable pay under the recently ratified Social Security and Pensions Act.
- The contract to build Egypt 3 GW electricity interconnection project with Saudi Arabia will be signed this month and the construction will then begin in June. State-owned Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) is pushing the window for companies bids in the project’s tender by up to 40 days.
- Saudi Arabia has allocated 2 BN SAR (533.3 MM USD) to fund importing agriculture products and secure food supplies amid coronavirus fears. The initiative will target in its first phase products including rice, sugar, soybeans and yellow corn.
- The total trade exchange between Saudi Arabia and member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) decreased by nearly 4% to around 2 BN USD (7.8 BN SAR) in February 2020 compared to 17 BN USD (8.13 BN SAR) in February 2019.
- The Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA) announced that it is waiving nearly 20,000 AED (5,445 USD) worth of start-up fees for new businesses. The regulatory authority added that with the new incentives package, new clients will be exempted from paying 12,000 AED (3,267 USD) license fee and 6,900 AED (1,878 USD) registration package for the first year until the end of June 2020.
- Oil production in UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait increased in April 2020, ahead of the start of a new deal to take millions of barrels of crude offline amid dropping demand compared to the losses posted by other producers like Iraq, Angola and Iran.
- Kuwait Finance House (KFH) has received a letter from the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) on Tuesday, 5 May, requesting KFH to conduct a comprehensive reassessment of its acquisition of Bahrain’s Ahli United Bank (AUB). The reassessment process shall begin after circumstances return to normal and the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic are clear, to consider the feasibility of the acquisition.
- Kuwait enacted "total curfew" from 4pm (13:00 GMT) yesterday to May 30 to curb the spread of the new coronavirus. During the curfew, public sectors will work remotely and private sector activities, excluding vital ones, will be suspended. All banks will be closed but will continue to provide services electronically.
- The US Department of State has approved Egypt request to purchase 2.3 BN USD of equipment to refurbish 43 Apache attack helicopters. The agreement will include the provision of missile warning systems and target designators, as well as US personnel training and contractor engineering.
- CI Capital Holding for Financial Investments witnessed a block-trading transaction worth 6 MM EGP (9.9 MM USD) on the Egyptian Exchange (EGX). The deal involved the trading of 43.51 million shares at an average price of 3.6 EGP apiece. The company’s capital stands at 800 MM EGP (50.75 MM USD) distributed over 800 million shares at a nominal value of 1 EGP per share.
- Saudi Aramco has given up some of its storage space in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. The world’s biggest oil company reported that tanks in the country were being used to store raw sterilizing materials for the Saudi Food and Drug Authority ahead of their use in the fight against the virus.
Note: Weekly values are calculated on Thursday of each week.
- Growmore Group, a UAE-based global investment and financial services conglomerate, is planning to fully acquire Medicinos Bankas UAB, a leading retail bank in Lithuania with assets amounted to 395 MM USD. The acquisition will mark the expansion of Growmore's banking sector investments into Europe, backed by its expertise in financial services including offshore banking and asset management.
- The Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company signed a contract with El Sewedy Electric to implement the 500 kV four-circuit antenna wind power line in the Gulf of Suez, according to Al Mal. The project will cost around 120 MM EGP and take six months to implement.
- Phosphate Misr is expected to sign within days the final funding contracts with investors ahead of beginning construction on its 1 BN USD acid phosphate facility in Abu Tartour. The facility will be constructed with a Chinese alliance consisting of the Chinese Construction Engineering Company and Wengfu Group.
- Ibnsina Pharma plans to invest 250-300 MM EGP to set up four new branches in 2020. The company is also planning to dedicate a portion of its investments to launching a website for online purchases.
- Banque Misr will arrange 4-1.6 BN EGP syndicated loan to Damietta Furniture City to help increase production and exports. The National Bank of Egypt, the Egyptian Arab Land Bank, and the Export Development Bank are in talks to participate in the loan.
- Saudi petrochemical giant SABIC has established a joint venture company to build one of the world's biggest utility-scale battery factories. The new factory is expected to be in production in 2021. Battery storage is attracting a wave of international investment as demand increases to store the energy being produced by new renewable projects worldwide
- Saudi Arabia Al Moammar Information Systems (MIS) signed an Islamic facility agreement with Riyad Bank for 290 MM SAR (77.15 MM USD) and it will be renewable every year.
- STC and MBC Group have announced the signing of a joint partnership to offer Shahid VIP, MBC’s premium subscription video on demand (SVOD) service, to STC customers for no additional cost for the duration of two months.
- Agthia Group PJSC, one of the region’s leading food and beverages companies, announced its Q1-2020 total revenues recording 571 MM AED (155.45 MM USD) representing 12% y-o-y growth compared to Q1-2019 and recording 27 MM AED (7.35 MM USD) net profits.
- First Takaful Insurance Company (FTI) completed the sale of its full stake in Turkish peer Neova Sigorta for 12.14 MM KWD (39.24 MM USD). In February 2020, FTI announced that it had signed an initial agreement to sell its 35% stake in Neova Sigorta.
Sports and Culture
- Soccer clubs in Spain's top two divisions will return to individual training this week for the first time since activity was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, while organizers aim to re-start the league campaign in June.
- Fitbit Inc launched a virtual study to test if its wearable devices can detect irregular heart rhythms, which could identify a condition called atrial fibrillation. The study is open to individuals who are 22 years old and above in the US and own Fitbit devices like "Ionic" and "Versa".