A week with global, regional and local repercussions...

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

A week with global, regional and local repercussions...

Global Markets Update:

Markets have been fixated this week by various events taking place around the world. The UK general election, the blockade of Qatar by a number of GCC states as well as the US Federal Reserve’s outlook on US interest rates in the coming week. Global markets went through the week concentrated with key events relatively calmly given the extreme volatility. In the U.S, Comey’s testimony went largely as expected. In Europe, the ECB meeting went in line with expectations BUT the result of the UK election was a surprise. The British Pound sank several points down to a 7-week low but the benchmark FTSE 100 index of large British multinationals responded positively to sterling's decline, gaining 1%, as earnings from abroad will be worth more from a weaker currency. In regional markets, Qatar suffered the repercussions of a diplomatic row with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other countries that reverberated on global media. In currency market the euro retrenched and the GBP slid again after the elections in the UK produced a hung Parliament. Oil prices accelerated their slide as US stockpiles rose for the first time in 9 weeks and gold prices did not react much to the tensions in the Arabian Peninsula.


MENA Update:

Four nations – Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and UAE – announced on Monday a severing of ties with Qatar. It was disclosed that air, sea and land links with Qatar would be cut off, citing the nation’s support of “terrorist groups aiming to destabilize the nation”. Markets were affected by the row: Qatar’s stock market tumbled 7.3% on Mon (to the most since 2009) and continued to fall through the week, but rebounded on Thu; overall, the market was down 7% last week;

Foreign reserves in Egypt rose 8.7% in May to USD 31.1bn. This is the highest level reported since Feb 2011 and only about USD 5bn short of the USD 36bn peak in Dec 2010.

Mobile subscriptions in Oman grew 2.7% YoY in Apr, exceeding the 7 million threshold for the first time.

About 8 million pilgrims visited the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia during the first eight days of Ramadan; this compares to an estimated 5.3mn pilgrims during Ramadan last year.

Middle East carriers reported a 10.8% YoY increase in traffic in Apr, as per data from the International Air Transport Association. If the laptop ban from several airports in the region were extended to Europe-US flights, IATA estimates a USD 1.4bn hit on productivity.


UAE News:

Emaar plans to sell as much as 30% of its real estate development business in the UAE in an IPO, with the raised funds to be primarily distributed as dividend to Emaar’s shareholders. The IPO would be the largest in UAE since Emaar Malls raised USD 1.58bn in 2014.

Abu Dhabi’s trade in pearl, gemstones and precious metals, which accounts for 10.2% of the emirate’s total trade, increased by 42.4% YoY to AED 4.7bn in Q1 this year.

Going green: UAE’s Majid Al Futtaim announced plans to install new solar panels at four of its malls, thereby saving up to AED 80mn in traditional electricity costs and reducing CO2 emissions by 3200 tonnes per year.

Abu Dhabi received 1.6mn guests in Jan-Apr this year, up 7% YoY; guest arrivals grew by 15% in Apr alone. China maintained its position as the largest overseas source market with 131,253 hotel guest arrivals in Apr, followed by India (104,436) and the UK (86,529).

Dubai generated over AED 1.4bn from medical tourism sector last year, with around 326,649 tourists seeking treatments in the emirate, the most popular of which were orthopaedics, dermatology and ophthalmology. Asian medical tourists accounted for 37% of visitors, followed by Arab & GCC (31%) and Europe (15%).


SME News:

More than 23,000 Emirati entrepreneurs have received business consultancy services from Dubai SME since its inception and the agency has also supported the launch of over 4,000 projects. Dubai SME, the agency of Dubai Economy mandated to develop the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector, has also been successful in securing nearly AED 3.3 billion worth of contracts to its members under the Government Procurement Programme (GPP) so far. Meanwhile, more than 4,000 enterprises benefited from Dubai SME’s incentive packages Emirati entrepreneurs and the net value of such support has exceeded AED 290 million.


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Nasser Saidi & Associates

CPI Financial