- Egypt and China signed a deal of 71 MM USD to build an Egyptian satellite and training center for the Suez Canal Economic Zone Authority (SCZone). Minister of International Cooperation, Sahar Nasr and China's ambassador at Cairo, Song Aiguo, signed the grant agreement in Cairo.
- Egypt is expected to realize GDP growth of 5.8% in Q3-2017/2018 FY. The expected growth is to occur with a total budget deficit of 8.4% of GDP.
- Egypt Suez Canal revenues have declined in February 2018 reaching 435.8 MM USD compared to 451.9 MM USD in January 2018.
- UAE and Qatar Central Bank raised their interest rate by 25 bps following the US Federal Reserves decision to raise interest rates by 25 bps.
- Saudi Arabia inflation rate in February declined to 2.9%, compared to 3.0% in January. The decline of inflation occurred after imposing the 5% value added tax, which suggests that Saudi can escape cyclical inflation.
- The Central Bank of Jordan expects an increase of net FDIs (Foreign Direct Investments) by 12% reaching 1.380 BN JOD (1.95 BN USD) in 2018. During Q3-2017, FDIs increased up to 1.02 BN JOD (1.44 BN USD) compared to 854.2 MM JOD (1.2 BN USD) in Q3-2016.
- After the increase in food prices by 1.7% and non-food items by 1.5%, Morocco's inflation rate increased reaching 1.8%.
- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has released its first loan tranche of Tunisia program that aims to reform the economy whilst keeping the budget deficit under control. The duration of the program is a four-year loan, worth of 2.8 BN USD, the first tranche amounts to 257 MM USD.
- Mohammed Al-Hashel, governor of central bank of Kuwait stated that Kuwait current main objective is to maintain fiscal, monetary and monitoring policies, in order to realize moderate and positive growth rates in the coming years from the non-oil sector.
- A bombing in Alexandria took place on March 24th, causing the injury of 5 people and killing two policemen, the bomb was left under a car. The government condemned the bombing then stated that the bombing will not affect the election.
- Germany contributed 46 MM USD in 2017 to the Iraq humanitarian fund, which is considered the second largest donation for the restructuring of Iraq and humanitarian assistance. Moreover, last February, a coalition including Turkey, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others pledged 30 BN USD to Iraq, in credit facilities and investments, through the upcoming years.
- Saudi Arabia air defense shot down seven missiles that were fired from Yemen Houthi's milita group. Three of the missiles were shot at Northeastern Riyadh, the remaining four were targeting Najran, Jizan and Khamis Mushait. Fragments of the missiles killed an Egyptian resident and wounded two other Egyptians.
- .TASI banking sector has significantly increased led by Banque Saudi Fransi and Saudi British Bank (SABB).
- .KWSE banking sector has declined led by National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) and Commercial Bank of Kuwait (CBK).
- .QSI banking sector has declined led by Qatar National Bank (QNB) and Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB). On the other hand, the Industrials sector increased led by Industries Qatar.
- Al-Futtaim investment in Cairo Festival City is expected to reach 1.7 BN USD by 2023.
- JMA group announced that it will open a chain of 20 supermarkets in Dubai by end of 2018, with an initial investment of 60 MM AED (16.34 MM USD). The chain is expected to create over 1000 jobs and will have further expansion across UAE, Asia and GCC by 2020.
- US-based Mueller Industries will open its first copper tube manufacturing facility in Bahrain International Investment Park (BIIP) in Hidd, with an investment worth 40 MM USD. The facility is expected to create around 200 jobs.Mueller Middle East is a joint venture between Mumtalakat, Mueller Industries and Cayan Ventures, while ABC bank is the funding partner.
- Libyan Telecoms holding company (LPTIC) will work on projects worth 1.7 BN USD, tostrengthen connections across Libya, which were hit by power outages and infrastructure damage.
- Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) has signedan agreement with an international company for a long-term supply of LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas). The international company was described as a leading supplier of LNG.The long-term supply will help the GCC meet the rising demand for energy generation. The name of the company was kept confidential.
- Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) signed a 40-year agreement with China National Petroleum Corporation providing its subsidiary, (PetroChina), a 10% stake in Umm Shaif and Nasr Concession and another 10% stake in Lower Zakum concession. PetroChina contributed 2.1 BN AED (575 MM USD) for the former concession and 2.2 BN for the latter concession.
Sports and Culture
- During the Special Olympics IX MENA Games, Mariam Al Zaabi, UAE long distance runner, won a gold medal in the 1,500-meter race at New York University in Abu Dhabi.
- The practice match that took place on 23rd March, between Egypt and Portugal national teams, ended with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring two goals winning Mohamed Salah's goal. The total score is 2-1 for Portugal's team.
- The largest yet Music Jazz Festival in Saudi Arabia, took place on 22nd of March. Grammy winning musicians took the stage in Juman Park, located in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC).