UAE’s inflation touched a 4-month low of 2.1% YoY in April, driven down by a 5.08% YoY decline in housing and utility prices and a 4.99% decline in pricing of clothing and footwear.
Real estate transactions in Dubai exceed AED 34bn (USD 9.3bn) in January-May (+33% YoY).
Expat remittances from the UAE touched AED 1.5trn between 2009-2018, according to the UAE central bank. Remittances increased by 4% or AED 150bn a year and in 2018, remittances accounted for 11.1% of UAE’s GDP.
The Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) announced on Tuesday that it has opened the AED535 million ($145.6 million) Ghadan Ventures Fund to support the emirate's growing venture capital and start-up ecosystem.
Bahrain will issue a new law to “organise the business of SMEs this year, according to the chairman of the Bahrain SME Development Society.
Tourists into Bahrain increased by 3.1% YoY to 3.2mn visitors in Q1 this year. Tourists spent approximately 4.1mln nights in total, making it an average of 3.3 nights per tourist.
Lebanon’s draft plan to tackle the issue of undocumented foreign labour has been sent to the Cabinet’s secretariat. Currently, only 1,733 Syrian nationals were in possession of a legal work permit, whereas some 939,00 refugees are registered with the UN.
Oman’s new USD 1bn power plant Sohar-3, which generates 1710 MW, started commercial operations.
Oman’s government extended the expat visa ban (first introduced in January 2018) for a further six months in certain professions and industries, reported the Times of Oman.
Saudi Arabia further reduced its oil output in May: sources told Reuters that the country pumped 9.65mn barrels of oil per day versus the agreement of 10.3mn bpd.
Unemployment rate in Saudi Arabia dropped to 12.5% in Q1 this year versus 12.7% in the previous quarter. Female unemployment stands high at 31.7% (vs. male unemployment rate of 6.6%)
Saudi Arabia and Russia’s energy ministers are expected to meet on June 10th to discuss economic cooperation as well as joint projects in energy and agriculture. Separately, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund plans to invest more than USD 2bn in Saudi Arabia this year.
Most global equity markets ended on a positive week: optimism picked up as US revealed plans to give China more time to avoid a tariff hike (further, on Friday, Trump tweeted that tariffs on Mexican imports were “indefinitely suspended”), while weak jobs data raised expectations for a Fed rate cut. Yields on 10-year Treasury notes hit their lowest since September 2017. Regional markets were mostly closed for Eid holidays. The dollar index retreated against most currencies. Oil prices recovered towards end of the week from the 5-month lows touched earlier; WTI dropped more than 20% from its April high this week. Gold prices touched a 14-month high on rate cut expectations. Trade wars and tariff threats continue to take center stage at the G20 meetings (will the G20 communique show a united front?), and the world is bracing for slower economic growth if not recession. This is supported by the latest round of PMI data: the news is not very promising as the surveys signal the weakest global economic growth since June 2016.
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