- Egypt Minister of Finance Amr El-Garhy said that the ministry aims to reduce the budget deficit to 4% by 2022, while pursuing the economic reform program. Moreover, he announced raising its forecast for the budget deficit during the current fiscal year to a range of 9.5% to 9.7%.
- Egypt net foreign reserves increased slightly to 42.611 BN USD in March 2018 compared to 42.524 BN USD in February 2018. Egypt foreign reserves have been climbing since the country secured a 12 BN USD three-year International Monetary Fund loan program in 2016 as part of efforts to encourage foreign investors and revive its ailing economy.
- Saudi Arabia has lifted its nine-month ban on Egyptian strawberries and peppers. The ban was put in place in July 2017 due to pesticide residues. A series of agricultural export bans by Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates over pesticide residues were lifted in October 2017.
- Qatar Central Bank sold 1 BN QAR (274.73 MM USD) of Treasury bills last week. It sold 550 MM QAR of three-month bills at a yield of 2.65%, 300 MM QAR of six-month bills with a 2.8% yield, and 150 MM QAR of nine-month bills at 3%.
- Qatar Rail has completed 77% of the work on its ambitious Doha Metro Project and was on track for the launch of Phase One Red Line on October 31. This includes 81% of construction work and 59% works related to installation of various systems.
- The American ambassador to Kuwait Lawrence Silverman reveals that the value of the commercial exchange between Kuwait and the USA exceeds 6 BN USD. He disclosed that Kuwaiti investments in the USA have reached 300 BN USD, affirming that the investments are strong with high profitability level
- The World Bank-funded project on municipal services for social adaptation organized two separate meetings with local women and youth in Madaba (Jordan) to listen to the local community's needs and priorities. Under the second phase of the project, the World Bank allocated 327,000 JOD (460,890 USD) to the Greater Madaba Municipality to implement projects serving the local community and Syrian refugees.
- Jordan Energy Minister Saleh Kharabsheh has launched the second national plan to rationalize energy, which aims at lowering electricity consumption by 2,000 gigawatts between 2018 and 2020, with a cost of 700 MM JOD.
- Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, visited former US president George H. W. Bush in Texas last Saturday. On the occasion, the senior Bush tweeted expressing his delight at the "wonderful chance to celebrate the long-standing friendship between our two nations."
- King Salman reiterated Saudi Arabia's support for a Palestinian state after his son and heir apparent said Israelis were entitled to live peacefully on their own land. The king also emphasized the need to advance the peace process in a phone call with U.S. President Donald Trump last Monday, made after Israeli security forces killed 16 Palestinians during a demonstration along the Israel-Gaza border.
- As part of its continuous efforts to strengthen Arab economic and financial cooperation and its commitment to support sustainable development in the Arab world, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) is participating in the joint meeting of Arab Financial Institutions, which will take place in Jordan in April. The meetings will be attended by the Ministers of Finance, Governors of Arab Central Banks, a number of financial officials in Arab countries, representatives of Arab and international financial institutions, and financial specialists in the region.
- EGX30 banking sector has declined led by Commercial International Bank (CIB).
- .TASI banking sector has increased led by Alinma Bank and telecommunication sector led by Saudi Telecom Co. (STC).
- .QSI banking sector has increased led by Doha Bank.
- The Egyptian court ruled that a judicial decision to suspend the licenses of ride-hailing companies Uber and Careem should not be applied, allowing them to continue their work. It is worthy to mention that 42 Egyptian taxi drivers filed a lawsuit in the administrative court a year ago against U.S. based Uber and its Dubai-based competitor Careem, arguing they were illegally using private cars as taxis.
- Orange Egypt, part of French telecom giant, has reached an agreement with a consortium of 8 leading banks. The agreement grants Orange a new syndicated facility for 7 BN EGP (395.9 MM USD) with a tenor of seven years (to be settled by June 2025) including a grace period of two years. The agreement comes after Orange increased its paid-up capital to 15.3 BN EGP and raised its authorized capital to 20 BN EGP.
- Infinity Solar will complete the construction of solar power stations in the second phase of the feed-in tariff projects with a capacity of 130 MW in Q1-2019.
- Egypt division of The former National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) has completed its rebranding as First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), following the merger between First Gulf Bank (FGB) and NBAD in April 2017. As one of the largest foreign banks in Egypt, the division will continue to play a key role in the bank's regional strategy.
- Qatar National Bank (QNB) aims to increase its profit by 5-8% this year and loans and investments by 10-12%, along with strategies of expansion into faster-growing Southeast Asia markets.
- Motiva Enterprises LLC, a wholly-owned downstream oil and gas subsidiary of Saudi Aramco, has signed MoUs worth between 8 BN USD to 10 BN USD with US companies Honeywell UOP LLC and TechnipFMC plc, in a ceremony in Houston timed to coincide with the official visit to the United States by Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.
- Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), a leading financial institution, has opened its 12th Gold Center in UAE, the fourth location it has established in Dubai. The new center is located in Dubai's Al Barsha Mall.
- The newly launched Google News Initiative together with Google News Lab will offer free training to 4,000 journalists in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to help journalists advance their editorial, research, writing, fact-checking and editing skills, over the next 12 months.
Sports and Culture
- Saudi women occupy about 38.5% of government and private sector jobs in Riyadh, according to statistics released by the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI). About 72% of the government jobs in the Saudi capital are occupied by Saudi men and women while non-Saudis occupy around the same percentage of jobs in the city's private sector.
- Saudi Arabia first cinema in more than 35 years will open on 18th of April in Riyadh, the capital. Movie theatres will not be segregated by gender like most other public places in the conservative Muslim kingdom, and the first screening will be Marvel's superhero movie "Black Panther".
- Abu Dhabi Global Market Courts (ADGM Courts), the internationally recognized independent courts of ADGM - the UAE capital's International Financial Centre -launched the ADGM Courts ePortal. The eCourts platform revolutionizes the delivery of civil and commercial judicial dispute-resolution services and transforms the way courts interact with litigants and the legal profession.