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Monday, 20 Jul 2020

The United Arab Emirates successfully launches its first Hope spacecraft bound for Mars


Insights MENA

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Economic Outlook

Economic Outlook

  • Egypt Ministry of Health has reserved 30 million packets of a potential Coronavirus vaccine set to be produced by a UK-based pharmaceutical company. The company aims to produce up to 400 million packets, with the World Health Organization (WHO) instructing that at least one or two countries per continent can manufacture this vaccine.
  • The novel coronavirus has pushed Egypt health sector into taking effective digital transformation steps as it comes to rely ever more on modern technologies. Mamoun El Naggar, Managing Director of Dar Al Fouad Hospital, has revealed that 200 MM USD investment has been pumped into the digital transformation of the company’s hospitals.
  • Egypt Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anany held several meetings with Ukrainian officials during his visit to Ukraine, where he discussed the positive signs of tourism’s return to Egypt, pointing out that since July 1st the South Sinai and Red Sea governorates have received 41 flights from Ukraine: including 27 flights to Sharm el Sheikh, and 14 to Hurghada.
  • The Consumer Price Index (CPI) in Dubai declined by44% in June 2020 compared to 3.49% in May 2020, amid a decrease in the price of five goods groups. The prices of the housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels group contracted by 5.54% in June, which led to 2.29-point decrease in inflation, while the prices of the transport group plunged by 13.39%.
  • Bilateral trade between UAE and China will continue to surge in the coming years due to the strong trade relations and people-to-people synergies between the two countries as they transition to the digital economy.
  • Dubai and Abu Dhabi are among the top destinations in the world for people travelling overseas to obtain medical treatment. The latest Medical Tourism Index for 2020-2021 ranked Dubai in the 6th place and Abu Dhabi in the 9th position for providing some of the best healthcare options for visitors.
  • Dubai continues to be a magnet for financial and fintech firms even during the Coronavirus pandemic as the number companies at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) increased by 13% to 2,584 at the end of H1-2020 compared to 2,289 in H1-2019.
  • Saudi Arabia consumer price index increased 5% in May 2020 compared to May 2019, the smallest annual increase since January 2020. Food prices, which went up 6.9% y-o-y, were the main driver for the increase in the overall inflation rate. Saudi Arabia has ordered a tripling of VAT to 15%, starting this month July, as it seeks to boost state revenues battered by low oil prices and the Coronavirus pandemic.
  • S&P Global Ratings revised Kuwait outlook to 'negative' from 'stable', saying it expects that the country's main liquidity buffer, the General Reserve Fund, will be insufficient to cover central government deficit.
Political Events

Political Events

  • Syrians headed to polling stations in government-held parts of the war-torn country to elect a new parliament amid strict health measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. The vote is the third to take place in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011. It has killed more than 400,000, displaced half the country’s population and sent more than five million as refugees mostly into neighboring countries.
  • President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi stated that Egypt will not stand idle in the face of any moves that pose a direct threat to Egyptian and Libyan national security. Moreover, Egypt army is authorized to intervene in Libya in order to protect Libyan sovereignty.
Stock Market

Stock Market

  • Galina Holding is planning to make its EGX debut around the beginning of 2021, by which time it expects markets will have stabilized from the fallout from the covid-19 pandemic. The company has tapped Renaissance Capital to lay out a plan for the offering, including the size of the transaction. The plan should be ready by Q3-2020, with an eye to take the offering to market by early 2021. Galina plans to use proceeds from the IPO to finance capex spending to expand its operations in fruit and vegetable concentrates and meat alternatives.
  • Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) has seen an increase of 25% in its overseas investor base and has distributed cash dividends worth 5 BN AED (6.1 BN USD) in H1-2020, highlighting the growth and robustness of the platform in the face of COVID-19.

Note: All values are calculated by last Thursday.

Companies Transactions

Companies Transactions

  • Uber picked Egypt to become the first country worldwide to debut its new intercity bus service, offering round-trip routes between Cairo and Alexandria alongside plans to expand to the rest of the country in the next few months. This service aims to ease traffic across Egypt cities. Riders can access the service with eight trips per day and are able to pre-book trips through the application.
  • Misr for Central Clearing, Depository and Registry (MCDR) has reportedly received offers from Emirati and Saudi businessmen and an unnamed Egyptian institution to purchase most or all of its 71% stake in Makasa Sport. The acquisition comes as MCDR aims to focus on its core clearing business. It appears MCDR is moving towards a sale and away from a potential initial public offering for its subsidiary.
  • The National Bank of Egypt (NBE) has submitted an offer to Raya Holding to purchase a 20-25% stake in its subsidiary Aman Holding. Raya’s board will meet to assess the offer and decide the process for due diligence. Noting that Raya received 24 offers for a minority stake in its Aman Holding from domestic and international investors in January
  • Capital Intelligence (CI) has affirmed the sovereign's long-term foreign currency and long-term local currency ratings of UAE at 'AA-', with a stable The international credit rating agency has also affirmed the sovereign's short-term foreign currency and short-term local currency ratings at 'A1+'.
  • Saudi Real Estate Refinance Co (SRC), the Saudi equivalent of U.S. mortgage finance business Fannie Mae, has agreed to buy a mortgage portfolio worth over 3 BN SAR (799.8 MM USD) from the Saudi Public Pension Agency (PPA).
  • Saudi Industrial Export has signed a credit facility agreement (Shariah-compliant) worth 106 MM SAR (28.26 MM USD) with Alinma Bank. The credit facility duration is 6 months. The purpose of the loan is to strengthen, and finance company deals, as well as import and export operations in regional markets.
  • Al Mal Investment announced that its 25%-owned subsidiary Diyar Al Kuwait Real Estate Co acquired a 50.82% stake in Egypt MSG Developments. The acquisition deal is valued at 2.1 MM KWD (about 6.8 MM USD).
Sports and Culture

Sports and Culture

  • The United Arab Emirates (UAE) launched its first-ever interplanetary mission yesterday July 19. The 200 MM USD Hope mission will arrive in Mars orbit in early 2021, then study the Red Planet from above for at least one Mars year (a little less than two Earth years). The mission will provide a more detailed and comprehensive understanding of the Martian atmosphere. Key to that goal is Hope's unique equator-circling orbit, which will give the probe a new perspective of the Red Planet's thin, carbon dioxide-dominated air.
  • Saudi Arabian Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan has been elected as member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) during its session on Friday. Princess Reema is the third Saudi in this position after the late Prince Faisal bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (1983-1999), and Prince Nawwaf bin Faisal bin Fahd Al Saud (2001-2014).

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