- Egypt presidential plan to provide consumers with goods at lower costs started yesterday. The initiative aims to offer up to 20% discount on items in order to help support Egyptian consumers. The plan comes as part of the country’s efforts to contribute to improving the economic situation in Egypt for the benefit of the manufacturers, traders and consumers.
- Egypt economy grew 8% in 2019/2020 despite the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Moreover, Egypt Finance Minister Mohamed Maait stated that the budget deficit decreased to account for 7.8% of the GDP.
- Egypt non-oil imports declined by 18% y-o-y to 23.53 BN USD in the first five months of 2020, compared to 29.85 BN USD, according to data by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS). Egypt food imports decreased to 4.553 BN USD in the January-May period, down by 22.8% y-o-y compared to 5.894 BN USD.
- Saudi oil revenues plunged by 97 BN SAR (35.71 BN USD) or 40.38% on a yearly basis during the first five months of 2020, driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the global economy and the oil demand. The decline came also amid a collapse in prices due to tensions between OPEC and its partners regarding output cuts before a reduction agreement was reached.
- China oil imports from Saudi Arabia grew by 15% on a yearly basis in June 2020 reaching 88 million tons equivalent to 2.16 million barrels per day (b/d) after refiners ordered record volumes during March and April at a time when oil prices collapsed, strengthening the kingdom’s position as the Asian country’s top crude supplier.
- The financial services sector in Saudi Arabia has been vital in supporting SMEs and the economy as the kingdom recovers from the impact of COVID-19. The topic was discussed at a webinar hosted by Forbes Middle East in partnership with Oracle.
- UAE Ministry of Finance (MoF) has announced the launch of a digital system for the collection of revenue and public funds. This is in line with the Ministry's efforts to adopt digital solutions and to develop processes to collect national debt in accordance with international best practices.
- 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.
- 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.
- Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi addressed the Egyptian people in a statement marking the 68th anniversary of the July 1952 Revolution, stressing that “time has demonstrated the nobility of the goals of the revolution.” El-Sisi extended his “sincere greetings to the symbol of the revolution”, former Egyptian presidents Mohamed Naguib and Gamal Abdel-Nasser.
- Travelers flying to Dubai from at least 29 countries will be required to take a coronavirus test twice starting next month. Effective August 1, UAE-bound passengers, including tourists, will be required to take a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test no more than four days before departure.
- Egypt House of Representatives has approved amendments to the stamp duty law No 111 of 1980 and the Income Tax Law No 91 of 2005. The amendments will see the stamp duty on the Egyptian Exchange (EGX) transactions for residents reduced to 5 per thousand on listed and non-listed securities. The tax will be 1.25 per thousand on stock market transactions for non-residents. There will be a full tax exemption on day trading.
- The general index of the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul), the Tadawul All Share Index (TASI), closed Sunday higher by 10% or 7.27 points to settle at 7,434.05 points. The traded value registered 4.846 BN SAR (1.292 BN USD) on Sunday compared to 5.15 BN SAR (1.373 BN USD) in the previous session. Meanwhile, the trading volume amounted to 252.089 million shares, compared with 232.58 million.
Note: All values are calculated by last Thursday.
- Saudi Dairy and Foodstuff Company (SADAFCO) posted a 8% annual increase in net profits in Q2-2020 to 70.53 MM SAR (18.75 MM USD) compared to 57.90 MM SAR (15.43 MM USD) in Q2-2019. Revenue soared by 16.64% y-o-y to 565.99 MM SAR (150.90 MM USD) in Q2-2020.
- Banque Saudi Fransi (BSF) showed a 65% annual plunge in Q2-2020 profits. The lender’s net earnings stood at 437 MM SAR (116.5 MM USD) in Q2-2020, compared with 804 MM SAR (214.36 MM USD) in Q2-2019.
- Yamama Cement Company’s net profits slid by 10% in Q2-2020 to total 85 MM SAR (12.75 MM USD) compared to 53.17 MM SAR (14.17 MM USD) in Q2-2019. Revenues went down by 2.21% to stand at 161.68 MM SAR (43.10 MM USD) by June-end compared to 165.33 MM SAR (44.08 MM USD) in Q2-2019.
- Furniture and homeware startup Drowzy has secured an undisclosed six-figure USD investment from an unnamed “strategic angel investor” based in the UAE. The Cairo-based company will use the money to expand its product range and grow its workforce.
- The company currently has a range of almost 100 products and around 300 SKUs on its platform.
- Cairo-based Egyptian Steel is in talks with local banks to obtain 2 BN EGP worth of shariah-compliant funding. The company aims to utilize the loan to increase its working capital and finance the expansion of its factories in Port Said and Ain Sokhna. Port Said's factory is built over a total area of 40,000 square meters with a total annual capacity of 350,000 tons of steel.
- Raya Holding for Financial Investments has obtained the necessary regulatory approvals to proceed with intended securitized bond issuance. The 562 MM EGP securitized bond issuance is underlined by receivables from 3 of Raya Holding’s subsidiaries including Raya Electronics, Aman Financial Services, and Aman Microfinance. The receivables consist of installments for consumer loans for electronics and home appliances and micro loans for small enterprises.
- Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Jiaozi Fintech Dreamworks, one of China first Fintech innovation and entrepreneurship platforms. The MoU will enable the center to further support UAE in facilitating the ‘Belt and Road’ economic initiative and forms a central part of the Centre’s 2024 strategy to strengthen relationships with the international financial community and increase access to the South-South corridor.
- The Etihad Aviation Group has announced that it has chosen the First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) as its card payment processing partner for both online and in-store card payments. The collaboration between two of Abu Dhabi leading companies will accelerate the delivery of innovative payment solutions to the airline’s passengers.
Sports and Culture
- The beautiful game returns in Saudi Arabia after over four months of absence with the Saudi Pro League kicking off next week, and the league launching its campaign #OurLeagueIsBack. All 64 matches, to be played in just 36 days would take place behind closed doors in line with government health and safety protocols. The first round of fixtures includes the highly anticipated Riyadh derby between Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal on August 5.
- Juventus have won the Serie A title for the ninth consecutive season. Maurizio Sarri’s side have clinched the crown with two games to spare, following a 2-0 victory over Sampdoria. The win takes them seven points clear of second-placed Inter, who cannot catch with them with only two matches remaining for both sides.