- Dubai expects household consumption to rise 4% as vaccine rollout expands. Dubai Economy says recent data suggests increase in tourism and retail activity while DXB remains world's busiest international airport.
- To facilitate donations, and given that more than half its beneficiaries are from Islamic Cooperation Organization countries, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees aims to tap into Islamic social finance by launching mobile Zakat Fund app. The refugee Zakat fund is also the first donation vehicle in the UN system where you don't have overheads. 100% of the donation goes directly to the refugee family that the user specifies.
- The Lebanese pound continues to be ranked as the most undervalued currency in the world, according to an analysis by Arabian Business based on the Big Mac Index published by The Economist. Analysis of the Big Mac Index reveals the Lebanese pound is 7% undervalued.
- Fitch Solutions downgraded its forecast for Egypt’s real GDP growth for the second time in two months to reach 3% in 2021 compared to 3.2% projected in December 2020. Egypt was the only country that had witnessed growth in 2020, estimated at 5%.
- The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) bans banks from paying dividends to shareholders. Banks would also be allowed to distribute employee bonuses and compensation to board members.
- Oil Prices: The Brent crude price has bounced from about $40 per barrel in mid-2020 to now be above $50 (as of January 4, 2021). Stronger demand is behind the rebound, as progress on Covid-19 vaccinations promise a return to normality. The easing of lockdown restrictions and resulting upturn in activity, particularly in China, is another factor that drove demand gains.
- Emaar The Economic City has signed a framework cooperation agreement with the Tourism Development Fund, FTG Development Company, Albilad Investment Company, and Ekofine Holding BV to establish a 8 BN SAR closed and private investment fund to support development of Rixos Emerald Shores resort project. The resort is expected to be one of the largest leisure tourism destinations in Saudi Arabia.
- Dubai’s jewelry trade braces for “ healthy correction” phase with major retailers reducing the number of outlets, in particular low-yielding stores in their network due to Covid-19.
- End of the blockade on Qatar is a “historic moment” that will bring more travel and more access to markets in the region. Yousuf Al-Jaida of the Qatar Financial Centre says the end of the gulf rift will bring foreign investment to Qatar and is “very optimistic” about more foreign direct investment inflows coming into Doha.
- Saudi Arabia’s Royal Air Force (RSAF) and the US Air Force take part in joint military exercise. Official statement says this exercise highlights the continuation of the cooperation between the two air forces to maintain security and stability in the region.
- Nassef Sawiris’ investment firm NNS Holding raised its stake in Signature Aviation to 41% from 7.16%, according to a disclosure to the London Stock Exchange. Sawiris purchased more than 2.14 million shares at 5.47 USD (85.65 EGP) per each, investing almost 11.7 MM USD (183.20 MM EGP) in the company.
- TASI closed on Sunday down by 27% to reach the level of 8,874.90 points. Capital goods and consumer durables went up by 0.28% and 0.94%, respectively, whereas energy and materials lost 0.56% and 0.25%, respectively. Furthermore, banks edged down by 0.16% and telecoms dropped by 0.08%.
Note: All values are calculated by last Thursday.
- NUCA sells 5k-feddan land plot in Capital Gardens City, Egypt, to TMG Under the agreement, the Arab Company will establish an integrated urban community in the Capital Gardens City development. Project will see 500 BN EGP of investments and create 3.5 million jobs.
- Deliveroo has raised more than 180 MM USD in a new funding round and is set to expand its business globally. The latest funding round values the food delivery firm at over 7 BN USD. British food-delivery company Deliveroo operates across 12 countries, mostly in western Europe but also in Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.
- Dubai-listed Orascom Construction signs 3 BN USD deal for 1,000km Egypt rail system. The MoU was signed together with Siemens Mobility and Arab Contractors with Egypt’s National Authority for Tunnels (NAT) and covers the design, commission and installation of the railway.
- Egypt Ventures leads 1 MM USD funding round for life science startup Nawah, the first private Egyptian multidisciplinary research center for natural and medical sciences. This is in line with Egypt Ventures to support and promote entrepreneurship in tech companies and technology-backed companies at the local and regional level.
- Bank ABC acquires Blom Bank Egypt for 480 BN USD. The transaction included all physical and non-physical assets as well as customer accounts
- Egyptian pharmaceutical company, EIPICO, plans to invest about 800 MM EGP over the next three years, directed towards re-modelling and renewing the machinery at its facilities. The financing will not be directed to its biosimilar project. The company’s management expects to increase the prices of 20-25 products in 2021.
- The equity holders of Cairo for Investment and Real Estate Development (CIRA) approved the recommendation of paying EGP 0.9 per share as a dividend for the fiscal year ended in August 31st2020. The cash dividends will be distributed within one month from holding the ordinary general meeting on December 2nd
- The Royal Commission for Makkah City and Holy Sites (RCMC) in Saudi Arabia announced the launch of a new company at an authorized capital of 1 BN SAR to develop the holy sites and the nearby areas. The new firm is the first closed joint-stock company to be owned by RCMC.
- Mubadala Investment Company, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and ADQ announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to establish the Abu Dhabi Hydrogen Alliance. The Alliance partners will collaborate to establish Abu Dhabi as a trusted leader of low-carbon green and blue hydrogen in emerging international markets.
Sports and Culture
- Egypt through to the World Championship main round with an easy victory over Macedonia. This is Egypt’s 2nd victory in the tournament after defeating Chile in its first match and they will go on to face Sweden next.
- Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al Faisal welcomes return of Formula E as Saudi Arabia embraces new era of motorsports. Saudi Arabia will host rounds 1 and 2 of Formula E’s maiden campaign in Riyadh’s historic Diriyah.