Global Markets Update:
Markets had to assimilate last week. It appeared the US and North Korea hostilities were calming down but the sad events in Spain and Finland reminded us that terrorism is something that can and will wreak havoc. After the rally in traditional safe havens, stock markets went through another fidgety phase culminating after the virulent diatribes on the Charlottesville incidents and the resignation of key American CEOs from a presidential advisory board. As a result, the S&P 500 suffered its biggest one-day fall since May. On Friday the fillip after Bannon’s resignation was followed by another sharp correction in the S&P 500 when the White House announced an investigation into Chinese intellectual property theft. However, while Wall Street recorded the second consecutive week in the red.
Egypt plans to modernise its railway system infrastructure – by boosting manpower efficiency, improving maintenance standards, through increased engagement with the private sector – by 2022, according to the Transport Ministry spokesman.
Iraq and Saudi Arabia re-opened the Arar border crossing for trade for the first time since 1990.
Tourism revenues in Jordan increased by 13.5% YoY to USD 2.5mn in H1 this year, supported by the 9.5% rise in the number of tourists during the same period.
Saudi Arabia has confirmed Dec 20 as the deadline for VAT registration: the online registration portal will open on Aug 28.
GCC project awards fell to USD 56.1bn in H1 this year, compared to USD 69.3bn a year ago, according to MEED data. Saudi Arabia was the only country to report a 12% increase in contract awards to USD 15.8bn. MEED forecasts USD 61bn of project awards in H2, bringing the total to about USD 117bn this year, roughly the same as in 2016.
UAE firms can register for VAT starting mid-Sep, according to the director-general of the Federal Tax Authority. IMF projects a slight uptick in inflation following the introduction of VAT next year – 2.9% in 2018 and 2.5% in 2019 from under 2% this year.
Excise taxes – 100% on tobacco and energy drinks and 50% on fizzy drinks (excluding carbonated water) – will be introduced in the UAE from Q4 this year. Both VAT and excise laws will be signed and finalised in Q3, and its regulatory framework issued in Q4.
According to the Dubai Land Department, 68 real estate projects valued at AED 21bn were registered in Dubai during H1 this year. Total projects were 88 from the beginning of 2016 to Jun this year.
Consumer spending in the UAE is projected to increase at an annual rate of 7.5% to over USD 261bn in 2021 (2016: USD 183bn), according to a report by the Dubai Chamber. Household goods, at USD 75.7bn, accounted for 41% of consumers expenditure, followed by food and non-alcoholic beverages (USD 24.8bn) and transport (USD 16.7bn).
Middle East start-up investment nears $1Billion in 2017. At the first-ever ChangemakerXchange Summit for entrepreneurs from across the Middle East, sponsored by social entrepreneurship platform Ashoka and digital transformation enabler SAP, 20 entrepreneurs were selected to receive access to fundraising, resources, and mentorship at a regional and global level.
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Global Markets Update: