- Egypt poverty rate decreased for the first time in 20 years in 2019/2020, according to CAPMAS. The proportion of the population living below the poverty line which is defined as anyone living on less than 857 EGP (55 USD) a month, decreased to 7% during the past two fiscal years compared to 32.5% in 2017/2018.
- Egypt non-oil private sector growth slowed in November and business confidence decreased to a record low amid fears of a resurgence of COVID-19. However, the private sector still grew, just at a slightly slower pace.
- Egypt public sector is getting an e-makeover with new requirements to register on the Tax Authority’s electronic invoicing system by the start of the next fiscal year in July The tax authority’s e-invoicing system is attempting to curb tax evasion.
- Saudi banks increased their government bond holdings by 49% in the first ten months of 2020 to 431.58 BN SAR (115 BN USD) compared to 383.67 BN SAR (102.27 BN USD) at the end of 2019. In October 2020, the banks’ holdings of government bonds increased by 13.86% y-o-y compared to 379.06 BN SAR (101 BN USD) in October 2019.
- Saudi Arabia non-oil GDP is expected to decrease by 7% in 2020 compared to 3% previously, according to Jadwa Investment report. Meanwhile, the country’s overall GDP in 2020 is predicted to fall by 3.6%.
- A total of 6% of Saudis working in the private sector will benefit from the recent government decision to increase minimum monthly wage of Saudis for Nitaqat program to 4,000 SAR (1066 USD) from 3,000 SAR (800 USD).
- Dubai government has raised 5 BN USD from the reopening of existing debt instruments. Emirates NBD Capital, a wholly owned subsidiary of Emirates NBD, was the sole manager of the transactions on 23-24 November.
- Over 500 businesses in Dubai have benefitted from the partnership between Dubai Economy and Zoho, a global technology company providing business software applications. In October 2020, Dubai Economy and Zoho inked an MoU to enable companies registered with Dubai Economy to handle their sales, finance, IT, and other business functions through the Zoho One suite of apps.
- According to the Financial Times, Egypt might pose one of Joe Biden’s first foreign policy tests. It suggests that the administration which has vowed to place more emphasis on human rights could suspend military aid to Egypt and introduce targeted sanctions. The Wall Street Journal says that the arrests of members of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) is setting a “possible clash” with the president-elect.
- Kuwaitis voted in parliamentary elections on Saturday for the first time since Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah became emir in September. More than 300 candidates, including 29 women, contested 50 seats in the Gulf’s oldest and most outspoken assembly with legislative powers.
- The EGX30 decreased 0.1% on Thursday on turnover of 4 BN EGP (89.35 MM USD) (7% above the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is down 21.1% YTD. Export Development Bank of Egypt (+6.0%), Oriental Weavers (+3.5%) and Juhayna (+2.0%). Emaar Misr (-2.6%), Ezz Steel (-1.3%) and Egyptian Iron & Steel (-1.2%).
- UAE stocks markets have witnessed positive performance by the end of Sunday's trading session. The Dubai Financial Market (DFM) increased by around 57% to close Sunday's session at 2,481.84 points, while the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) increased by 1.38% to settle at 5,033.38 points
Note: All values are calculated by last Thursday.
- Hermes Securities Brokerage will resume 2 BN EGP (127.64 MM USD), two-year short-term corporate bond program it began last year. The EFG Hermes subsidiary will sell 400 MM EGP (25.5 MM USD) of one-year, un-securitized corporate bonds.
- Lorax Capital Partners has acquired a “significant” minority stake in loyalty services provider Dsquares through its LCP Fund II. The acquisition includes Ezdehar Egypt Mid-Cap Fund’s 5% stake, which Lorax Capital was reported to be in talks for back in October.
- Raya Holding is planning to acquire 100% of two subsidiaries of Saudi conglomerate Alturki Holding. The company might bring the targets, United Retail Company (URC) and Itsalat International Egypt (i2 Stores), under the umbrella of its retail electronics arm, Raya Shop.
- Gulf banks First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) and Bank ABC are both reportedly expediting their attempts to purchase the assets of ailing Lebanese banks and increase their share of the Egyptian banking sector.
- Speed Medical (SPMD) started trading its shares on the EGX after completing its upgrade from the Nilex via a capital increase. The exchange’s registration committee approved the listing following the company’s 8 MM EGP (14.15 MM USD) capital increase, paving the way for it to become the first to make the transition from the small-cap market to the EGX.
- Dubai CommerCity (DCC), the first e-commerce free zone in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia (MENASA) region, has partnered with Magento Commerce and Redbox Digital to offer ‘E-Commerce as-a-Service’. The partnership agreements will enable Dubai CommerCity customers to have access to e-commerce solutions and services to improve digital experiences.
- Amlak Finance has sold 72 million shares at a value of 0.2602 AED per share. The sold shares have represented 0.0025% of the subscribed capital. It is noteworthy to mention that in November, the company has sold 3.14 million shares, accounting for 0.0021% of the subscribed capital.
- The Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco) has increased the January price for its Arab light crude to Asia to 0.30 USD a barrel over Oman/Dubai crude compared to 0.80 USD in December.
- Agthia Group has penned a sales purchase agreement to acquire Kuwait's Al Faysal Bakery and Sweets. In 2019, Al Faysal Bakery and Sweets recorded revenues of 92 MM AED (25 MM USD) and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) of 27 MM AED (7.35 MM USD).
Sports and Culture
- The 40th anniversary of GITEX Technology Week was launched at Dubai World Trade Centre last Sunday and will continue until 10 December. Over 1,200 innovative tech enterprises, startups, and government entities from more than 60 countries will participate in the global event.
- Coronavirus vaccines will be optional and free to all citizens and residents of Kuwait, the Gulf state's prime minister said on Wednesday, in comments reported in al-Qabas newspaper.