- UAE has ranked 21st on the Global Food Security Index in 2019, a 10-place leap from 31st place in 2018, reflecting how far the country has come in establishing itself as a world leader in innovation-driven food security.
- UAE investments worth 12 BN USD covering 49 renewable energy projects across 25 countries, producing some 4 GW of energy supplies to communities.
- UAE opened up the long-term Business Visa application process for entrepreneurs looking to make this country their home for good. Business Visa aims to enhance UAE competitiveness by welcoming entrepreneurs and foreign investments to boost the nation's economy.
- The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) eased restrictions on personal loans to raise the value of loan installments financed by banks to individuals for consumer purposes. The borrowing limit on personal loans, credit cards and loans for buying personal cars will reach 50% of the monthly total income of a bank client, instead of the previous 35%. Moreover, the value of mortgage loans for personal housing will stand at 40% of the monthly total income of the client.
- Egypt ranking in Euromoney’s global risk table has improved to 93 out of 165 countries, up from 98 in Euromoney’s November update to its risk table. Egypt score out 100 (with 100 being the least risky) is 43, up from 38 in the November update.
- The World Bank is worried about the impact of low interest rates in light of the 55 TR USD in debt accrued by developing nations. Emerging market total debt has risen to around 168% of their combined GDP, a 55% increase from debt levels in 2010.
- Saudi Arabia has been ranked as the world’s top ease of doing business improver in the World Bank Group’s Doing Business 2020 Saudi Arabia has jumped 72 global positions in Trading Across Borders, an indicator which compares the time and cost of exporting and importing goods.
- Saudi trade balance surplus narrowed in Q3-2019 reaching 85 BN SAR (26.08 BN USD) decreasing by 62.55% compared to 160.41 BN USD (42.75 BN USD), according to the Saudi General Authority for Statistics (GaStat).
- The Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (Apicorp), a multilateral financial development institution, reported that investments in MENA gas sector is witnessing 70 BN USD y-o-y decline over the next five years. However, petrochemicals investments for 2019-2023 increase 50% from previous 2018-2022 outlook.
- Kuwait Oil Minister is hoping that Kuwait and Saudi Arabia resolve the Neutral Zone issue by the end of 2019. The two countries halted output from the jointly run oilfields- Khafji and Wafra - in the so-called Neutral Zone more than three years ago, cutting some 500,000 barrels per day or 5% of global oil supply.
- Yesterday, the House of Representatives approved nominations submitted by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to reshuffle some ministers in the government of Moustafa Madbouli. Khaled Anani was appointed as tourism and antiquities minister, Omar Marwan as justice minister, Hala el-Saeed as planning and economic development minister and Rania el-Mashat as minister of international cooperation.
- The EGX has completed its review of its classification system for the sectors of its constituent companies. The new system, which the EGX designed to be in line with international practices, will come into effect as of 2020.
- Dubai-listed National Central Cooling Company PJSC (Tabreed) has increased its stake in Saudi Arabia-based district cooling firm Saudi Tabreed to 28% from 20%. Vision Invest (known as ACWA Holding previously) and IDB Infrastructure Fund II of the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia are among other investors in Saudi Tabreed.
- McDonald’s has received an overwhelming response of 42,000 applications by using Snapchat Lens for a recruitment drive targeting mostly Saudi nationals noting that the responses smashed its expected goal of 10,000 applications. To kick off the "Snaplication" campaign, McDonald's distributed a Lens Snapcode to 10 influencers in KSA who started posting Snaps to their Story.
- The Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) signed a 150 MM USD (2.4 BN EGP) contract with a consortium led by Japan Toyota Tsusho to build, operate, and transfer a roll-on roll-off vehicle terminal at East Port Said.
- Norway Equinor has acquired an additional 2% stake in Norwegian solar power company Scatec Solar for 83.9 MM USD (1.34 BN EGP). The move brings the total ownership stake of Equinor in Scatec Solar to 15.2%.
- AMN Industrial Investment has acquired 7% of the Paint and Chemical Industries Company (Pachin) in a 38.9 MM EGP (2.4 MM USD) transaction. Pachin is 44.63% owned by the state’s Chemical Industries Holding Company and 12.81% by state-owned Banque Misr.
- Osool & Bakheet Investment Company, the fund manager of Al Maather REIT Fund, has signed an MoU with Al Roqi National Schools Company to establish a new school building.
- The board of Wafrah for Industry and Development Company has recommended reducing the company’s capital by 438% from 200 MM SAR (53.3 MM USD) to around 101 MM SAR (26.9 MM USD). This will decrease the number of shares from 20 million shares to 10.112 million shares.
- Facebook announces 5% VAT on ad services in All advertisers with a 'sold to' of UAE that have not provided a tax registration number will be charged VAT at 5% on advertising services.
- Media company ViacomCBS Inc will take a 49% stake in film studio Miramax, owned by Qatar BeIN Media Group, for 375 MM USD. ViacomCBS stated the deal includes upfront cash payment of about 150 MM USD, along with a commitment to invest 45 MM USD annually over the next five year
- Qatar Petroleum (QP) plans to change the pricing of its crude for cargoes loading from March. The producer will announce in February 2020 the official selling prices (OSPs) for Qatar Land and Qatar Marine crude on a forward pricing basis.
Sports and Culture
- Jürgen Klopp, Liverpool manager, struggled to find the words to describe Liverpool’s triumph in the Club World Cup. Roberto Firmino struck in extra time to win the trophy for the first time in the club's history. The champions of Europe became champions of the world with a 1-0 victory at Khalifa International Stadium.
- Rafael Nadal marked his 10th Mubadala World Tennis Championship anniversary by picking up a record fifth Abu Dhabi title with victory over the in-form Stefanos Tsitsipas in a great final at a sold-out Abu Dhabi International Tennis Centre.