- The Central Bank of Egypt announced that Egypt inflation rate has dropped from 11.88% in February to 11.59% (y-o-y) in March. It is worthy to mention that Egypt inflation rate has jumped after the devaluation of the pound in November 2016 and reached its maximum in July 2017, however it started decreasing afterwards.
- Since the devaluation of the pound Egypt has conducted two energy subsidies cut. In the draft budget for the fiscal year 2018/2019, the Egyptian government aims to cut again the petroleum and electricity subsidies by 26% and 47% respectively. The value of subsidies in the new budget is 89.075 BN EGP compared to 120.926 BN EGP last year.
- Qatar economy is expected to grow by 2.6% this year and 3% in 2019. It is worthy to mention that Qatar managed to overcome the consequences of the boycott done by the four Arab countries; Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain and maintain a growing economy. The number of properties sold in February 2018 in Oman has increased by 12% compared to the same period last year. This increase goes back to the stabilization of the land prices and the drop of oil prices that affected the cost of built-up properties leading to the decrease in their prices.
- After his meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri said that certain agreements will be signed soon with Saudi Arabia in different economic sectors such as industry, tourism and services sector.
- The Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) has announced that the occupancy rate of five-star hotels has reached 90% this year during the 2018 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix. Hotel revenues have increased due to the high occupancy rate with more than 23,000 hotel rooms booked. Last year during the Grand Prix, hotel revenues reached 3.7 MM BHD with 12,000 hotel rooms booked and an occupancy rate for five-star hotels of 89%.
- The economic team in Jordan is focusing on reducing the cost of electricity for the productive sectors in Jordan to boost their competitiveness. The team is thinking of implementing some projects which were previously proposed by the Jerash representatives. These projects include improving public transport, the industrial estate and connecting the ancient and the modern cities of Jerash, a city that lies 45 kilometers north of Amman.
- According to the General Authority for Statistics (GaStat), more than 350,000 new jobs will be offered in Saudi Arabia, where about 140,000 of these jobs will be offered to Saudis, while the rest for expatriates. GaStat expects about 107,000 new jobs in the fields of trade, hospitality and restaurants, 66,000 in the construction fields and 56,000 in the industry fields.
- The British Minister of Transport signed a memorandum of cooperation with the president of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) in Saudi Arabia, which aims at increasing the cooperation between both the GACA and the UK department of transport in order to develop the Saudi and British relations in the civil aviation sector.
- Egypt is to extend its nationwide state of emergency for three months starting from April 14th. It is worthy to mention that Egypt first imposed the current state of emergency in April 2017 after two church bombings killed at least 45 people. It was extended in July and again in October then January.
- USA made an agreement with Qatar worth 300 MM USD sale of advanced weapon systems that will be sent to Qatar. The agreement covers the sale of 5000 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon Systems II Guidance Sections, including related equipment and services.
- A fine of 1,060 USD is going to be imposed on anyone defacing a Bahraini passport. Any authorized officials in Bahrain or abroad are now exempted from writing or stamping a Bahraini passport.
- Kuwait resumes the death penalty in 2017, along with Bahrain, Jordan and United Arab Emirates. In 2017 report, the human rights organization stated that 84% of the executions carried in 2017 took place in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan.
- TASI banking sector declined led by the National Commercial Bank (NCB) and telecommunication sector led by Zain.
- .QSI telecommunication sector declined led by Vodafone Qatar and real estate sector led by Barwa Real Estate.
- .ADI real estate sector has increased led by Aldar and Eshraq Properties. On the other hand, the telecommunication sector declined led by Etisalat.
- Orange Egypt reached an agreement with a consortium of eight banks for a loan worth 7 BN EGP, to be repaid in seven years with a grace period of two years. This agreement took place after Orange has increased its paid-up capital to be 15.3 BN EGP and its authorized capital to 20 BN EGP.
- A partnership agreement was signed between Alex Bank and the Jordan Post Company in order to ease the remittances transfer to Egypt. The agreement is also expected to increase the support offered by the Alex Bank to the Egyptians working in Jordan. The agreement allows the Egyptians in Jordan to use the Jordan Post network which is comprised of 300 branches spread throughout Jordan.
- Muscat Aviation Training Center (MATC), Oman first Aviation training center began operations on April 7th. MATC is planning to cover all aspects of aviation; pilots, cabin crew, ground staff, dispatchers, drivers at the airport and other jobs related to aviation. The center got the recognition of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and is planning to be an IATA (International Air Transport Association) accredited aviation training center.
- The first hospital that offers resort-style services for mental health and addiction recovery opened in Oman. The hospital treats patients with psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression and Alzheimer's and children psychological disorders such as urinary incontinence and learning difficulties.
- A new business in Bahrain, the Business Clinic is willing to provide support for 1000 Bahraini SMEs in order to face their challenges. It is also willing to provide them with consultation and training services, so they can guarantee their growth with minimum cost and effort. The Business Clinic is backed by the Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister and has succeeded to help 80 Bahraini entrepreneurs to face their economic challenge.
- Philippine Airlines (PAL) is planning to stop its flights to Kuwait starting from May 16th due to the falling demand on traveling to Kuwait. This falling demand in the travel to Kuwait has led the operations of the airlines to be economically unsustainable. However, according to the Philippine's President, PAL will continue to serve Kuwait through its flights to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam.
Sports and Culture
- Qatar is moving fast in its preparation for the World Cup in 2022. It is expected that 90% of the infrastructure needed for the World Cup will be done by 2019.
- Oman bans advertisements on tobacco products and derivatives in all media platforms. By this ban, the Sultanate approves its consent to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. According to WHO, a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertisements and sponsorships will gradually lead to the decrease of tobacco consumption by an average of 7% and could reach 16% in some countries.
- A fine of 800 USD will be imposed on drivers who transport passengers illegally in Abu Dhabi. In addition to the fine, the vehicles can also be confiscated for 30 days. An awareness campaign is planned to take place throughout the year to aware the drivers about the illegal transportation of passengers.