- Magdy Sabaa, President of Tanta University in Egypt, announced the success of a research team includes 8 university scientists at Tanta University in locally manufacturing an Egyptian ventilator mask to support university hospitals in the face of the emerging coronavirus and its risks. The President added that in light of the high price of the imported masks and the need for hospitals to have large numbers of it to face any possible cases of increasing infections with the virus, the university tended to produce it with local components.
- The Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi ordered to increase the monthly bonuses for house officers by 450% to 2,200 EGP (139.63) from 400 EGP (25.39 USD). The decision covers 12,000 junior doctors who graduated in December 2019 noting that the cost of the bonus raise amounts to 320 MM EGP (20.3 MM USD).
- Egypt local liquidity increased by 14% reaching 187 TR EGP (265.7 BN USD) in February 2020 compared to 4.14 TR EGP (262.7 BN USD) in January 2020 and 3.67 TR EGP (232.9 BN USD) in February 2019. In addition, the money supply increased to 1.004 TR EGP (53.7 BN USD) in February 2020 compare to 840.5 BN EGP N USD) in February 2019.
- Saudi Arabia and Egypt non-oil private sector decreased at the fastest pace for over a decade amid precautionary measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The seasonally adjusted IHS Markit Saudi Arabia and Egypt Purchasing Managers’ Index dropped to 4 and 44.2 in March compared to 52.5 and 47.1 in February, respectively.
- Banks operating in Saudi Arabia have raised their investments in government-issued bonds by 7% y-o-y or 68.81 BN SAR (18.29 BN USD) in February 2020 reaching 400.2 BN SAR (106.39 BN USD) compared to 331.39 BN SAR (88.1 BN USD) in February 2019.
- The foreign direct investments (FDI) of Saudi Arabia grew by 97% y-o-y or 17.11 BN SAR (4.56 BN USD) in 2019 reaching 885.62 BN SAR (236.17 BN USD) compared to 868.51 BN SAR (231.6 BN USD) in 2018.
- Kuwait Ministry of Oil announced that the first shipment of Al Khafji crude oil from joint operations in the neutral zone shared with Saudi Arabia has been exported after about a five-year break. The shipment was loaded on to the Kuwaiti tanker, Dar Salwa, on Saturday and Sunday, 4 and 5 April 2020.
- The Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) announced a stimulus package to help its economy reduce the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. The CBK has reduced the liquidity requirements for banks and eased the risk weighting for SMEs to 25% from 75%, reduced capital adequacy requirements by 5%, and increased the maximum lending limit to 100% from 90%.
- The Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) has lowered the reserves requirements for demand deposits for all banks to 7% from 14% to protect UAE economy from the repercussions of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The CBUAE's decision aims to inject around 61 BN AED (16.6 BN USD) liquidity to back banks’ lending to UAE economy.
- United States enters one of the most critical weeks so far in the coronavirus crisis with the death toll exploding in New York, Michigan and Louisiana and some governors calling for a national order to stay at home. New York is the hardest-hit state with more than 40% of all U.S. deaths and nearly 115,000 reported cases on Saturday.
- Thomas Schaefer, the finance minister of Germany, has committed suicide apparently after becoming "deeply worried" over how to cope with the economic fallout from the coronavirus. Schaefer, 54, was found dead near a railway track.
- The Egyptian Exchange (EGX) closed Thursday’s trading session in green zone amid heavy liquidity, supported by local purchases. The benchmark EGX30 index increased by 32%, ending the session at 9,455 points. The market cap value gained 2.4 BN EGP (152.3 MM USD) to 528.4 BN EGP (33.5 BN USD).
- The main index of Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) gained 13.24 points or 35% to close Thursday's trading session at 3,758.35 points. A total of 45.07 million shares were traded through 1,502 transactions at a total value of 119.48 MM AED (32.5 MM USD). The market cap value increased by around 4 BN AED reaching 412.92 BN AED (112.42 BN USD) compared to 412.88 BN AED (112.4 BN USD) during the previous session.
Note: Weekly values are calculated on Thursday of each week.
- The Saudi General Authority for Competition (GAC) has agreed on Saudi Arabian Fertilizer Company’s (SAFCO) acquisition of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation’s (SABIC) subsidiary at a total value of 59 BN SAR (1.22 BN USD). The acquisition will be paid through the issuance of 59.368 million new shares for SABIC in SAFCO, valued at 77.35 SAR (20.56 USD) per share.
- Almarai Company has reported a 14% increase in net profits after zakat and tax reaching 383 MM SAR (101.8 MM USD) in Q1-2020 compared to 336 MM SAR (89.3 MM USD) in Q1-2019. The company's sales reached 592 BN SAR (954.98 MM USD) in Q1-2020, up by 8.6% compared to 3.308 BN SAR (879.47 MM USD) in Q1-2019.
- The estimated financial results of Advanced Petrochemical Company showed a 75% decrease in net profit in Q1-2020 reaching 104 MM SAR (27.6 MM USD) compared to 161.88 MM SAR (43 MM USD) in Q1-2019.
- The total liabilities of NMC Healthcare Group's operating companies to Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) have reached 6 BN AED (425 MM USD) as of 31 March, representing nearly 0.7% of the bank's assets. DIB's subsidiary, Noor Bank, has an exposure of 426 MM AED (116 MM USD) to the health group.
- Standard and Poor's (S&P) has assigned Gulf Finance House (GFH) Financial Group a long-term credit rating of 'B-', with a stable It is noteworthy to mention that in 2019, the group's net profits attributable to the shareholders reached 80.1 MM USD, down by 29.8% y-o-y from 114.1 MM USD.
- Edita Food Industries signed a medium-term loan agreement with the National Bank of Kuwait Egypt (NBK Egypt). The seven-year loan amounts to 96 MM EGP (6 MM USD) and will be used to finance the company’s capital expenditures in Egypt.
- A subsidiary of Al Imtiaz Investment Group has signed a 30-month deal valued at 62 MM KWD (56.6 MM USD) with Kuwait Ministry of Electricity and Water for the construction, completion, and maintenance of four main freshwater lines in South Mutlaa City.
- The Securities House has sold one of its property investments operating in the light industry sector for 2.38 MM KWD (7.6 MM USD). The transaction generated total earnings worth nearly 622,000 KWD (2 MM USD) and a net return on invested capital (ROIC) of 40%, equivalent to an internal rate of return (IRR) of more than 15% on an annual basis.
Sports and Culture
- Egyptian international swimmer Farida Osman had entered quarantine in Marsa Alam on Friday upon her return. Osman thanked the government for its hard work, especially in sending special flights to return them and hoped this period would pass smoothly.
- FIFA is getting ready to deal with complaints and appeals over wage cuts for players, producing guidelines for clubs and football bodies looking to cut costs during the stoppage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.