- The Central Bank of Egypt’s (CBE) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has decided to keep the overnight deposit rate, overnight lending rate, and the rate of the main operation unchanged at 25%, 10.25%, and 9.75%, respectively. Also, the discount rate kept unchanged at 9.75%.
- The CBE decided to broaden the base of beneficiaries of the 100 BN EGP (6.3 BN USD) industrial support initiative to include the contracting sector. The initiative involves offering loans at a declining rate of 8% through banks to the industrial, agricultural, and now contracting businesses with annual sales of more than 50 MM EGP (3.1 MM USD).
- The Egyptian Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency (MSMEDA) signed two contracts at a combined value of 620 MM EGP (39.4 MM USD) with Banque du Caire to support and finance micro-enterprises.
- The Egyptian Ministry of Public Enterprise Sector signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Arab Organization for Industrialization (AOI) to set up a new company which will launch two new tyre manufacturing plants.
- Kuwait crude oil production climbed by 259,000 barrels per day (b/d) in April 2020 to reach 13 million b/d compared to 2.87 million b/d in March 2020. Since the beginning of the year, demand for crude oil has been falling due to the national lockdowns, social distancing measures, and travel restrictions taken against the highly contagious coronavirus.
- 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, which will be carried out through a mixture of direct and indirect loans, will target in its first phase products including rice, sugar, soybeans and yellow corn.
- Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund has bought minority stakes in major American companies including Boeing, Facebook and Citigroup. The 300 BN USD Public Investment Fund (PIF) has been buying minority stakes in companies across the world, taking advantage of market weakness in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
- 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 Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa), has pledged 1 MM USD solidarity fund to help startups that are under strain due to the coronavirus pandemic. The fund will be distributed through equity-free grants and commissioned projects.
- The value of non-oil foreign merchandise trade through Abu Dhabi ports reached 1 BN AED (10.1 BN USD) in January and February, up 3.6% compared to 35.8 BN AED (9.7 BN USD) during the comparable period last year.
- Turkish officials were annoyed when the UAE weighed into the tussle for rights to gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean earlier this week. However, a joint statement from the Emirates, France, Greece, Cyprus and Egypt had accused Turkey of violating Cypriot waters and Greek airspace.
- Egypt will reopen in three phases under a plan released by the Ministry of Health and Population that would go into effect by 1st of June. Phase one includes that staff at all businesses wear face masks in the workplace. Phase two starts after they see 14 days of declining day-on-day counts of new cases in phase one. Phase three is probably best described as “watchful waiting” with light precautions in place until the World Health Organization gives the all-clear.
- The Egyptian Exchange (EGX) closed Thursday’s trading session on a negative note amid foreign and Arab selloffs. The benchmark EGX30 index decreased by 05%, ending the session at 10,287 points. The market cap value shrank by 3.8 BN EGP (241.5 MM USD) reaching 544.88 BN EGP (34.6 BN USD).
- The Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) ended the second week of May on a positive The Tadawul All Share Index (TASI) increased by 1.3% or 88.45 points, as it closed Thursday, 14 May, at the level of 6,716.98 points. As for the performance of the market sectors, the telecom index gained 4.7%, while materials and energy increased by 4.1% and 1.5%, respectively, and the banks' sector added 0.4%.
Note: Weekly values are calculated on Thursday of each week.
- The 18th annual ranking of the world’s 2,000 largest public companies by Forbes included nine Emirati companies, topped by First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), ranked at 303. The FAB achieved 8.9 BN USD sales, 3.1 BN USD profits, 227.4 BN USD assets, and 34.4 BN USD market cap value. Meanwhile, Emirates NBD was placed at 351, Emirates Telecommunications Group (Etisalat) at 358, DP World at 715 and Emaar Properties at 981.
- Misr Beni Suef Cement (MBSC) reported 101% y-o-y increase in its net profits in Q1-2020 reaching 37 MM EGP (3.7 MM USD) compared to 29.53 MM EGP (1.8 MM USD) in Q1-2019. Meanwhile, sales decreased to 404.96 MM EGP (25.7 MM USD) in Q1-2020 compared to 435.97 MM EGP (27.7 MM USD) in Q1-2019.
- Cairo-based digital lender Shahry has secured 650,000 USD in pre-seed funding from the investment arm of Egbank. The company’s mobile app allows users to apply for virtual credit and use it to purchase products and set-up monthly installment plans with various online stores without leaving the app.
- The Suez Canal Bank reported 11% y-o-y decrease in its net profits in Q1-2020 reaching 35 MM EGP (7.26 MM USD) compared to 128.56 MM EGP (8.1 MM USD) in Q1-2019.
- ACWA Power International plans to raise about 75 BN SAR (1 BN USD) from a Sukuk sale. The company is reportedly in talks with a number of banks in Saudi Arabia to discuss the issuance of the SAR-denominated Sukuk.
- The board of the Saudi Arabian Fertilizer Company (SAFCO) has decided to distribute 67 MM SAR (113.4 MM USD), or 1 SAR per share, as cash dividends to shareholders in H1-2020. The recommended dividends represent 10% of the share’s par value.
- Dana Gas has repurchased around 8 MM USD of 4% Nile Delta Sukuk Ltd certificates.
- The company referred that the bought back Sukuk will be cancelled, which will lead to a decrease in the total amount of the 4% Nile Delta Sukuk Ltd Certificates to about 379.6 MM USD.
- Abu Dhabi-based Gulf Marine Services (GMS) rejected 32 MM USD takeover proposal from its second-largest shareholder Seafox International, saying the offer fundamentally undervalued the oilfield industry contractor.
- Shuaa Capital is working on a number of deals, including acting as lead arranger on 125 MM AED (34 MM USD) Sukuk for Gulf Navigation Holding (GNH) through a private placement.
- Uber Technologies' Careem subsidiary cut 536 jobs last week, representing 31% of the Dubai-headquartered company's workforce. The announcement came hours after Uber said it was shuttering its Eats delivery business in several markets, including the Middle East, and laying off dozens of staff.
Sports and Culture
- Beaches in France and Italy were open last Saturday for the first weekend since the easing of coronavirus lockdowns while football fans awaited the return of major league action with Germany’s Bundesliga set to kick off. As some countries start to reopen despite fears of a second wave of the pandemic, President Donald Trump voiced hope that a vaccine would be available by late 2020.
- Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union (GWU), President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF), announced that the slogan, "Preparing for the next fifty years: Women are the support of the nation," will be the slogan for Emirati Women’s Day.