- The construction output growth in the MENA region for 2020 has been revised to -2.2% (down from -1.4% previously) adding that the sector expects further cuts mainly due to the impact from COVID-19 and low oil prices, according to GlobalData. The immediate business impact of preventative measures against the coronavirus pandemic has hit the commercial sector
- The Egyptian Ministry of Manpower announced that the 2nd tranche of the exceptional aid to irregular workers are being disbursed from Sunday, 21 June, to Thursday, 25 June. A total of 800 MM EGP will be paid to irregular workers under the presidential directives to support the temporary laborer who were hardly hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
- Egypt mobile phone market is facing a new challenge, as prices of some brands have increased, particularly in the lower-priced categories. Several workers in the local mobile market have attributed the price hike to the recent appreciation of the US dollar against the Egyptian pound.
- Around 2% of all households across Egypt will see their income decreasing over the next three months, according to CAPMAS survey. Urban households are slightly more optimistic, with 43.3% expecting a decrease in income, while 52.3% of rural households are anticipating the same.
- Egypt Ministry of Finance has announced that individuals will be obliged to submit their tax returns via the Egyptian Tax Authority website, starting from January 2021. The decision comes as part of amendments to some provisions of the executive regulations under the Income Tax Law.
- Dubai announced that the country is ready to welcome tourists from July 7, 2020. Adding that the tourists will be required to present a recent COVID-19 negative certificate or undergo testing at Dubai airports. Moreover, the Emirate's airports started receiving residents stranded abroad from June 22 and that citizens and residents will be permitted to travel overseas from today, June 23.
- UAE government has launched more than 227 economic and trade incentives from March to June to promote economic growth and support the business sector amid the coronavirus crisis. As part of the incentives, UAE has provided facilities and grants as well as postponed loan payments to all the economic sectors, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and individuals.
- A new mobile app has been launched to help people in Saudi Arabia identify positive coronavirus cases in proximity in order to protect themselves and help curb the spread of the virus. The Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, launched Tabaud (Distancing) to notify people in crowded areas of individuals who have got COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
- Saudi Arabia is planning to launch a tourism development fund at an initial capital investment of 15 BN SAR (4 BN USD). The fund will launch equity and debt investment vehicles to promote the tourism sector in cooperation with private and investment banks.
- Inflation rate in Kuwait increased in April 2020 by 85% y-o-y. On a monthly basis, the inflation rate decreased by 0.09%, as the prices of food and beverages solely retreated by 1.63%, while eight price groups went up and another four remained unchanged in April.
- Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi instructed Air Force combat units during an army inspection to prepare to carry out missions outside Egypt’s border if necessary. Egypt has the right of international legitimacy at this point, based on the United Nations Charter, to militarily intervene in the Libyan crisis supported as well from the Libyan House of Representatives. Any intervention will aim to protect and secure the western borders from terrorist militias, and to restore stability to Libya’s territories and thereby maintain the stability of Egypt and Arab national security at large.
- Saudi Arabia is welcoming the return of aircraft and passengers amid strict precautionary measures to counter the spread of coronavirus. The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) opened yesterday 11 of the Kingdom’s 28 airports in a step toward restoring normality to everyday activities.
- Amlak International for Real Estate Finance has recently unveiled its plan to offer a total of 18 million ordinary shares through an Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the main market of the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul). In addition, the company has set a price range of 15-17 SAR per share, with the book building process to take place from Monday, 22 June, to Monday, 29 June 2020.
- The benchmark index of the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) declined by 94% or 19.53 points to stand at 2,058.85 points by the end of Sunday's trading session, unlike its upward performance on Thursday, 18 June. A total of 233.48 million shares were traded through 2,572 transactions at a total value of 161.49 MM AED (43.96 MM USD).
Note: All values are calculated by last Thursday.
- Facebook is the most used social media platform in UAE, Kuwait, and Egypt while Twitter dominates the digital landscape in Saudi Arabia. Facebook dominates the UAE social media market with 8 million users, along with 38 million active users in Egypt, and 7 million users in Kuwait. In Saudi Arabia, Twitter is the preferred social media platform with 14 million users while Facebook ranked 2nd with 13 million active users.
- Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) is looking to inject more than 88 MM EGP (50 MM USD) worth of investments in the Egyptian market by the end of 2021 by setting up a new production line for protective masks. The total value of the company’s investments in Egypt exceeded 3.5 BN EGP (216.6 MM USD).
- Pioneers Holding Company for Financial Investment announced that its chairman and managing director Walid Mohamed Zaki Ibrahim and his five minor children reduced their stake from 24% to 37%. The sale deal is part of the stock-swap transactions implemented for the acquisition of 90% of five of Pioneers Holding’s subsidiaries until the issuance of the capital raise shares.
- The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, announced investing 10 MM USD in the Egyptian electricity meter manufacturer GlobalTronics. The investment will help the firm expand into manufacturing and installing prepaid electricity meters in homes.
- Ride-Hailing company Careem is integrating all its new and current services under one place “Super App”, ensuring the customers with a one-stop-shop for accessing transport, delivery, and e-payment options. Moreover, Careem has launched a package of new value-added services for customers, including gift cards, city-to-city transport, and a loyalty program.
- The EGX-listed Cleopatra Hospital Group denies that the planned merger with Alameda will take place this week. The two healthcare players have been in talks since February 2020 to merge and become the single largest private-sector healthcare service provider in Egypt.
- The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will provide the Commercial International Bank (CIB) with a 100 MM USD loan for on-lending to shore up the liquidity positions of SMEs and corporations through the covid-19 pandemic.
- Saudi Vitrified Clay Pipes Company (SVCP) reported 1% higher net profits after Zakat and tax in Q1-2020 reaching 5.41 MM SAR (1.44 MM USD) compared to 1.6 MM SAR (426,433 USD) in Q1-2019. Revenues reached 40.55 MM SAR (10.8 MM USD) in Q1-2020, up by 34.5% compared to 30.1 MM SAR (8 MM USD) in Q1-2019.
- In Saudi Arabia, Taiba Investments Company announced the sale of its 5% stake in Fiber Glass Oasis Co (FGOC), a closed joint-stock associate company. The sale is in line with Taiba’s strategic plans to exit some non-core investments and boost its investment and real estate development activity.
- Moody's Investors Service (Moody's) has reaffirmed the credit rating of National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah (RAKBANK) at Baa1/P-2, with a negative In Q1-2020, the bank's net profits dropped by 43.2% reaching 153.5 MM AED (41.78 MM USD) compared to 270.2 MM AED (73.55 MM USD) in Q1-2019.
Sports and Culture
- Dubai Sports Council has stepped up its efforts to restore the emirate's sports sector to full capacity by allowing to fitness centers and gyms, which were operating at maximum 50% as per earlier guidelines, to operate at 100%, while adhering to all the earlier COVID-19 precautionary measures and safety guidelines issued by relevant authorities.
- Official sources at the Ministry of Health revealed that the drug remdesivir, which is used to treat severe cases of COVID-19, will be manufactured in Egypt, and will be available in the Egyptian market by July 2020. The drug has gained emergency approval to use as a treatment for coronavirus patients in hospitals in the US, the UK, and in Japan.