- Egypt non-petroleum industrial exports to U.S have made "remarkable progress" in 2017, increasing 17.5% reaching 1.346 BN USD compared to 1.145 BN USD in 2016. It is worthy to mention that the non-petroleum industrial exports represent 90% of the total Egyptian exports to the U.S. which worked on helping Egypt products enter the U.S market and on maximizing the benefit from the signed trade agreements between Egypt and the U.S.
- The General Authority of Zakat and Tax (GAZT) clarified that Saudi Arabia exports are zero rated under the VAT law and implementing regulations. All intra-GCC supplies will be zero-rated as an interim measure until VAT system is established across the GCC. Also, GAZT has reminded all VAT registered enterprises with annual supplies exceeding 40 MM SAR (10.7 MM USD) to file its monthly tax returns, as agreed on the VAT Law.
- El-Sayed El-Kosayer the chairperson of the Agricultural Bank of Egypt (ABE) expects that the Egyptian economy will achieve 6% growth in 2018 enhanced by the improvement of the sectors of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), housing, energy, tourism, and agriculture, which will be promising this year.
- Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri announced that all Lebanese government institutions must cut their 2018 budgets by 20% as part of the country's efforts to restore its struggling economy. The government is currently trying to finalize 2018 budget, in which it hopes to see serious efforts made to get the state's finances in order.
- The High Planning Authority announced that Morocco annual inflation has slightly increased to 0.5% in December 2017 compared to 0.4 % in November 2017.
- The U.S. Transportation Security Administration is requiring six Middle Eastern carriers (Egypt Air operating out of Cairo International Airport, Royal Jordanian operating out of Queen Alia International Airport, Saudi operating out of King Abdul-Aziz International Airport and King Khalid International Airport, Qatar Airways operating out of Doha International Airport and Emirates and Etihad operating out of Dubai International Airport and Abu Dhabi International Airport) to participate in an enhanced cargo screening program as part of an effort to raise global aviation security to boost international airport security.
- The International Monetary Fund report released that the non-oil growth in Kuwait has picked up modestly over the past two years and the inflation is on the right track to reach a multiyear low by 1.75% in 2017.
- The Jordanian Prime Minister Hani Mulki announced that the government has cancelled its recent decision to increase tax on medicines. The cancellation comes in order to protect the middle and low-income classes.
- Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF) will host experts and entrepreneurs to discuss innovation across six major sectors (smart government, communication technologies, healthcare, renewable energy, transportation and financial services) in the upcoming inaugural Arab Innovation Forum to strengthen the economy at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
- International Data Cooperation (IDC) announced that the UAE and Saudi Arabia are forecasted to be among the biggest markets for information technology (IT) spending in the Middle East and Africa in 2018, while Egypt is expected to become a major regional IT player in the coming three years.
- The Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) will take place at the Dubai World Trade Centre from April 9 to 11, 2018 that will help boost Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flow across the GCC. The event will include some announcements; as according to a survey conducted by the United Nations Council for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Investment Promotion Agency (IPA) Observer, the UAE has been named the 13th Most Promising Home Economy for Investment in 2017-2019, secondly, the Global FDI flow is expected to have grown 5% to in 1.8 TR USD 2017 and at last the worldwide investment flow is expected to grow to 1.85 TR USD in 2018.
- Khaled Ali the last main opposition candidate announced his withdrawal from the upcoming Egyptian presidential elections, his announcement came a day after the Egyptian Authorities detained former army chief of staff Lieutenant General Sami Anan, the only other serious potential challenger to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
- Riyadh police announced a major fraud operation by a gang of six who are offering 40 MM SAR (10.6 MM USD) in exchange for fake dollar bills. The Police efforts resulted in uncovering the major fraud.
- During the Lebanese president official visit to Kuwait, Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah announced that the Kuwaiti government will give an additional aid to Lebanon to help stimulate the economy and respond to the country's needs. This visit to Kuwait was described as being an attempt to revive Lebanon relationship with the Gulf country.
- .EGX30 telecommunication sector has increased led by Telecom Egypt (TE).
- .KWSE real estate sector has increased led by Arkan Al Kuwait Real Estate company.
- .ADI banking sector has increased led by Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB).
- Telecom Egypt (TE) has signed an agreement to settle its dispute with Etisalat Egypt regarding international calls service for 48 MM USD, in which the TE wants to avoid the potential risks estimated at around 100 MM USD, and to settle all the disputes with the other mobile operator companies to avoid the risks that come with these disagreements.
- A start-up airline company in the United States has offered a 25% stake to Qatar Airways to broaden its reach for the Gulf airline.
- Qatar National Bank (QNB), the Gulf largest lender, has mandated Australia, New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) and Bank of America Merrill Lynch as joint book runners for a potential Australian dollar multi-tranche bond transaction under its so-called Kangaroo program. The issuer is considering maturities of five-year and 10-year respectively.
- Sadara Chemical Company (Sadara) will be leading the Egyptian international plastics exhibition It will be the Principal Sponsor of the premier North African trade exhibition too. The company's participation will show the ideal platform to highlight its diversified product offering and showcase its capabilities and the available investment opportunities to the Egyptian and wider Middle East markets.
- Kuwait International Bank (KIB) signed an agreement for a strategic partnership with Safira CSR Company; the first organization in Kuwait to specialize in the area of social responsibility. The partnership paves the way for implementing a series of local social responsibility projects in 2018 targeting women and youth, which will focus on enhancing their health and cultural awareness, as well as their general knowledge.
- Emirates NBD issues 285 MM USD Formosa bonds, which are notes sold in Taiwan by foreign issuers in currencies other than Taiwanese dollars. Such bonds have been increasingly popular for Gulf banks over the past few weeks because of the low cost of issuance they guarantee for five-year maturities. Emirates NBD bond was led by Cathay United Bank, Credit Agricole and Standard Chartered. It has a 30-year tenor and is callable or redeemable by the issuer every five years.
Sports and Culture
- Egypt moved an 83-tonne, 3,200-year-old statue of King Ramses II to the atrium of Cairo new Grand Egyptian Museum in a complex operation undertaken by army engineers and specialist contractors.
- Prince Sultan University (PSU) School of law and the American Bar Association offered an innovative legal training program for women in Saudi Arabia to help enhancing their understanding of the law in the kingdom.
- Renowned international fashion designer Alejandro Resta is planning to create 'Spanish abayas' in Doha as part of his new collection. The designer clarified that he wants to introduce new colors such as white and blue for the Arabian dress, but he wants to keep the new design of 'Spanish abayas' confidential until its unveiling day.
- The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) and Saudi airline companies will support the hiring of women in Saudi Arabia as pilots, co-pilots and flight attendants. Increasing Women participation in the workforce is a major part for fulfilling Kingdom 2030 vision to enhance the economic role.