A tense week of geopolitics shocks and weak jobs data…

SME Snapshot - weekly round-up of Global, MENA and SME news in under 60 seconds. Published by Business Exchange Bureau.

A tense week of geopolitics shocks and weak jobs data…

Global Markets Update:

It was a week in the markets when events could have turned out badly. The US missile strike on Syria, the subway blast in Russia, another terrorist attack in Sweden spread further tension on global markets. These three events would normally send tremors through the markets. Instead, stocks barely moved. Then came a chilling job report in the US with data 50% below expectations. Traditional ‘safe haven’ assets, for example, US dollar, gold, and the Japanese Yen rallied, but then stalled – for instance, gold closing at $1,260/ounce.

MENA Update:

Saudi Arabia unveiled plans for an “entertainment city” near Riyadh – about a fifth of the area of Riyadh in size – as part of a wider plan of greater economic diversification. The building of this city, which would feature sports, cultural and recreational facilities including a safari and a Six Flags theme park, is expected to start next year and the first stage to finish by 2022.

Fitch has issued a report estimating oil break-even prices for global oil exporters: Kuwait seems to be best-placed, with a break-even of USD 45 while Qatar and Abu Dhabi follow closely at USD 51 and USD 60 respectively. Nigeria was the worst-off, needing oil price at USD 139 to balance its budget.

Britain has allocated GBP 1bn (USD 1.24bn) – GBP 840mn pledged at a Syria aid conference last year and GBP 160mn of new money- to help Syrian refugees displaced by six years of civil war and countries that host them.

Sector News:

National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank merged legally on Apr 1, creating the new entity First Abu Dhabi Bank, with a one-time integration cost of around AED 1.1bn (from earlier-estimated AED 600mn) to be fully absorbed by 2019. The bank will have assets in excess of USD 180bn.

Real estate transactions in Dubai jumped 45% YoY to AED 77bn in Q1 this year, from about 20k transactions.

The real estate sector in Ras al-Khaimah has expanded to AED 4.947bn in 2015 from AED 3.401bn in 2011, according to a study by the RAK Chamber of Commerce.

SME News:

5 Tips to Survive an Thrive: Shamim Kassibawi, Managing Director of Spread Communications, and MENA CEO of The SMC Group, offers tips on how entrepreneurs can make the most of the ups and downs of business ownership. Organise, organise, organise. Make sure you plan and make the most out of your day. Get an early start and list your tasks in order of priority. Do not try and juggle too much and delegate where you can; it gives your team a chance to learn and grow.

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