- Engineering jobs in Saudi Arabia are to be localized following a ministry decision. The decision, from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, will apply to all private sector establishments in the Saudi market that employ five or more engineering professionals. The 20% localization measure is intended to help graduates seek job opportunities in Saudi Arabia that best suit their degrees. It also aims to help develop the private sector in order to strengthen its contribution to the national economy.
- Saudi Arabia headline annual inflation increased from 5% y-o-y in June to 6.1% y-o-y in July, the highest since 2011, due to the tripling of VAT from 5% to 15% since 1 July. Investment bank MUFG expects inflation to hover between 4 and 6% y-o-y in the coming 12 months and to then turn negative by July 2021.
- Egypt launched a trial run of a digital platform providing a range of electronic government services in August 2020, according to Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Taalat. The trial will see 70 services activated, covering vehicle and driving license renewals, notarial services, and electronic filing of lawsuits. Taalat added that a mobile application will be launched over the next few days, in addition to a call center to allow citizens to obtain services by phone.
- The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) offered treasury bills (T-bills) worth 18 BN EGP yesterday on behalf of the Ministry of Finance. The first tranche of the T-bills is offered through 91-day notes valued at 8 BN EGP (504.16 MM USD), while the second tranche is worth 10 BN EGP (630.20 MM USD) and will be offered through 273-day notes. The issuance will be used to finance the country’s budget deficit.
- The US Federal Reserve announced a new strategy to boost employment and allow inflation to increase above the 2% target for some time. The US Central Bank will target inflation averaging 2% over time to ensure that employment doesn’t fall short of its maximum level. The new approach paves the way for keeping interest rates lower for longer than previously projected.
- UAE has ranked first in economic diversification in the GCC and 16th in global rankings for ease of doing business; climbing up 12 spots within a period of five years, according to a UBS report released by the UBS Global Wealth Management's Chief Investment Office on investing in emerging markets after the Covid-19 pandemic.
- The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) has announced that Emirati women are now exempted from paying the ‘Mubdiah’ license issuance and renewal fees following a decision made by the General Directorate of the Civil Defense to encourage entrepreneurship among women citizens.
- The GCC cities dominated the global Financial Attractiveness Index list with Bahrain capital Manama being named the world's most financially attractive city in AIRINC’s latest Global 150 Cities Index followed by Riyadh in 4th place, Kuwait City in 6th, Abu Dhabi in 7th, Dubai in 12th, and Muscat in 16th. The index ranks 150 of the top global locations according to financial attractiveness and lifestyle attractiveness.
- In Kuwait, the new budget for 2020/2021 has witnessed freezing of about 1183 job contracts of expats in 48 government agencies which in preparation for their cancellation due to Kuwaitization policy. The number of contacts that were frozen in 15 ministries reached 626 jobs for expatriates, the highest was in the Ministry of Electricity and Water by 130 contracts, followed by the Ministry of Health with 123 contracts, than Ministry of Education with 101 contracts, and then Justice Ministry with 84 contracts, followed by the Ministry of Interiors with 70 contracts, the Awqaf with 48 contracts, and the Ministry of Communication with 33.
- Following the announcement of the peace accord with Israel, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has issued a Federal Decree-Law No. 04 of 2020, abolishing the Federal Law No. 15 of 1972 regarding boycotting Israel and the penalties thereof. The Decree comes as part of the UAE efforts to expand diplomatic and commercial cooperation with Israel, and by laying out a roadmap towards launching joint cooperation, leading to bilateral relations by stimulating economic growth and promoting technological innovation.
- Egypt and China will sign by September 2020 an agreement to start working together on a covid-19 vaccine. State-affiliated vaccine manufacturer Vacsera is signing on the Egyptian side. Egyptian scientists are in the third stage of clinical trials on a homegrown covid-19 vaccine, and the ministry has simultaneously contacted six international manufacturers to get its hands on an internationally developed vaccine as soon as possible.
- The Egyptian Exchange (EGX) closed Thursday’s trading session on a positive note on the back of Arab purchases with the main EGX30 index rising by 08% to 11,462 points. The small- and mid-cap EGX70 EWI climbed by 2.01% to 1,820 points, while the EGX100 EWI added 1.5% to 2,731 points. Likewise, the EGX50 index went up 0.57% to close at 2,038 points. The market cap value increased by 1.7 BN EGP (107.13 MM USD) to stand at 630.52 BN EGP (39.73 MM USD).
- Goldman Sachs Saudi Arabia has completed all regulatory and technical requirements to become a member of the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul). Goldman Sachs will have the right to conduct brokerage services for derivatives trading and as a principal and agent in Tadawul for the new market launch. Yesterday, Tadawul is launching the derivatives market to offer investors a comprehensive and diversified range of investment products and services.
Note: All values are calculated by last Thursday.
- Amazon will open its first Fresh grocery store in Los Angeles’ Woodland Hills neighborhood in the upcoming period, as the e-commerce company seeks to develop its offline portfolio. Amazon's grocery store in Los Angeles is part of the company's new chain of grocery stores which will be found in seven locations across Southern California and greater Chicago. Adding high-tech features, the Fresh store will be the first with Amazon's recently launched Dash Cart, a new smart shopping cart that allows customers to avoid the checkout line.
- State-owned Banque du Caire’s (BdC) won’t make its EGX debut in 2020. The bank had planned to float 20-30% of its shares on the exchange in April 2020, but the listing was postponed in the wake of covid-induced market turmoil. BdC, Egypt third largest state-owned bank, was hoping to raise 500 MM USD via its IPO on the EGX in what was expected to be the country’s biggest sale of state assets since 2006.
- Energy trading company IMEX International is planning to acquire at least 50% of Nile Cotton Ginning. IMEX will submit a mandatory tender offer for 50 EGP per share. The company has appointed EgyTrend as its financial advisor.
- State grain buyer GASC made a near-record wheat purchase from Russia, picking up 530,000 tons in a tender. Russia near-record harvest has allowed it to sweep the competition and provide 80% of Egypt purchases this season, nearly twice as much as the same time last year.
- Export Development Bank of Egypt (EBE) reported a slight decrease in its annual net profits, registering 10 BN EGP (69.51 MM USD) in 2019/2020, compared to 1.11 BN EGP (70.33 MM USD) in 2018/2019. The bank’s interest income on loans and similar income grew to 5.55 BN EGP (349.76 MM USD) in the 12-month period ended on 30 June compared to 5.52 BN EGP (347.87 MM USD) a year earlier.
- The board of National Marine Dredging Company (NMDC) has approved to sell the company's stake in Arabtec Holding, according to the company's disclosure to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) on Thursday. The board also welcomed the offer to merge with the National Petroleum Construction Company (NPCC).
- The net losses of Invest Bank decreased by 24% to 12 MM AED (37 MM USD) in H1-2020 compared to 179.65 MM AED (48.9 MM USD) in H1-2019. The bank's net interest income decreased to 62.54 MM AED (17 MM USD) in H1-2020 compared to 115.39 MM AED (31.4 MM USD) in H1-2019.
- Riyad Capital announced a cash dividend distribution of 34.3 MM SAR (9.14 MM USD) to Riyad REIT Fund unit holders in H1-2020. The distribution will be to 7 million existing units, at 0.20 SAR per unit. The amount represents 2.10% of the unit’s initial price and 2.06% of the net asset value (NAV) as per the latest financial statements issued on 30 June 2020.
- The Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of Allied Cooperative Insurance Group (ACIG) approved the board’s recommendation to cut the company’s capital by 5% to 141 MM SAR (37.59 MM USD) from 200 MM SAR (53.32 MM USD). The number of shares will be reduced to 14.1 million shares from 20 million shares. The capital reduction aims to offset the insurer's accumulated losses worth 59 MM SAR (15.73 MM USD).
Sports and Culture
- Dubai Municipality has announced that it has opened Mushrif Park to cyclists every day from 6 am to 9 pm free of charge. The move is part of the Municipality’s plan to provide special lanes in its parks for cycling enthusiasts and in implementation of the directives of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, to transform Dubai into a bicycle-friendly city, as well as to encourage residents to ride bicycles safely.
- Angry Barcelona fans chanted for the resignation of club president Josep Maria Bartomeu after captain Lionel Messi announced on Tuesday that he wished to leave the Catalan side. Messi, who has been named world's best player of the year a record six times, has grown increasingly unhappy over the last 12 months on how the club is being run under Bartomeu. He criticised club officials for forcing players to take a pay cut to cope with the financial hit of the coronavirus pandemic.