UAE will create a new taskforce to develop a next generation economy for 2050-60: the Economy Minister disclosed that the plan will be digitally driven and be based on the highest levels of innovation, building on discussions around digitalization, diversification and tourism.
Abu Dhabi announced a “virtual” license for non-resident foreign investors, allowing them to conduct business from outside the UAE and within the Emirate. Permits cover 13 economic sectors including agriculture, manufacturing, repair, contracting, maintenance, installations, retail, transport, services, leasing, health and entertainment and companies can either be a limited liability company or a sole proprietorship.
The Abu Dhabi DED introduced a “Smart Manufacturing Project” to encourage transformations of factories that manufacture electronics, food and pharmaceutical products (to more automated, safer and more efficient using technology) by tapping new financing opportunities from local banks and banks specialised in industrial financing. Abu Dhabi’s Industrial Development Bureau is overseeing the Smart Manufacturing Project.
The consumer confidence index in Dubai rose to 153 points in Q3 2021, two points up from Q2 and 21 points up from Q3 2020. About 73% of consumers were positive about the jobs market (vs 46% last year) while 88% were optimistic about finding a job in the next 12 months.
UAE and Israel’s negotiations on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement are progressing as scheduled; it will be signed within the 9-month timeframe set in June 2021.
According to the COO of Abu Dhabi’s Hub 71, the technology hub which has accepted 100 startup firms since 2019, has brought in around 19 venture capital funds with a combined USD 2-2.5bn of assets under management to support its companies.
Dubai Silicon Oasis launched a Sandbox programme to support early-stage tech startups: it is a 1-year programme for startups that have only a minimum viable product; the application process will be a rolling one.
Occupancy rates at Dubai’s hotels increased to 67.2% in September (+51% YoY), following 58% and 53.9% recorded in August and July respectively, according to STR data. Revenue per available room surged by 117% YoY to AED 271.85 (USD 74) in September.
The IMF estimates growth in the MENA region to rebound to 4.1% this year, following a 3.2% drop in 2020. The Regional Economic Outlook report highlighted the region’s uneven recovery, while urging nations to continue reforms and job creation (youth unemployment ranged between 25-27% this year) amid rising food prices and energy costs. Gross financing needs increased to USD 390bn in 2021-22, up by 50% versus 2018-19.
Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait will continue to support Bahrain’s Fiscal Balance programme, according to the finance ministers of the nations. A balanced budget is being targeted by 2024, after COVID-19 derailed plans to achieve this goal by 2022.
Egypt’s e-finance increased by 40% on its stock market debut last week. The initial price of EGP 13.98 per share gave the IPO a deal size of EGP 5.84bn (USD 371.7mn) and valued the company at EGP 22.4bn.
Foreign investments in Egypt’s oil sector fell by 26.02% to USD 5.4bn in 2020-21, revealed the Oil Minister.
Egypt plans to boost share of renewable energy to over 42% by 2035: the country already crossed its 2022 target of 20% early this year.
Egypt issued tenders for 17 new desalination plants, with an aim to more than quadruple desalination capacity over the next 5 years. The new plants will produce a combined 2.8mn cubic metres per day vs current installed capacity of 800k cubic metres per day.
Egypt and Israel are in discussions about the construction of a new onshore pipeline: expected to cost USD 200mn, the pipeline could be operational within 24 months and supply an additional 3-5 billion cubic metres (bcm) per year.
Iraq and the UAE signed an agreement to promote and protect mutual investments. The agreement protects both nations’ investments from all non-commercial risks including nationalisation, confiscation, judicial seizures, and freezing.
Iraq plans to reduce its winter crop planting area by 50% in 2021-22 due to a water shortage. Current water availability can irrigate around 250k hectares of land.
Kuwait has started increasing its crude oil production in line with the OPEC+ agreement, according to the Oil Minister. He also disclosed that Kuwait’s plans to increase output including production from the shared zone with Saudi Arabia.
Kuwait’s PM revealed that all COVID-19 restrictions had been lifted for vaccinated people, without giving further details. The airport operates at full capacity starting from 24th October.
Oman’s Data Protection Law is currently in draft stage, according to the Executive President of the Central Bank. He also revealed that the apex bank is “working on a comprehensive customer protection framework for customers of our licensed institutions”.
Moody’s has upgraded its outlook on 7 Omani banks to stable from negative before, on expectations of an improvement in banks’ operating environment.
A new law issued in Qatar mandates all employers to provide mandatory health insurance coverage for expats and their families.
In a recent government reshuffle, Qatar announced the formation of a new ministry for environment and climate change.
Qatar signed a comprehensive air transport agreement with the EU, allowing it easy access to markets, with fewer restrictions, replacing existing bilateral agreements.
The World Bank will donate USD 80mn to support economic welfare for Palestinians. The grant will be transferred to the dedicated trust fund for Gaza and the West Bank and used as cash-for-work opportunities while supporting social protection and strengthening resilience.
Boeing predicted that airlines in the Middle East would require 3000 new aircrafts by 2040, valued at USD 700bn, to accommodate increased passenger and cargo traffic.
Saudi SMEs have raised SAR 100mn this year through crowdfunding, according to the President of the Saudi Capital Market Authority.
Another week of strong equity performance across global markets thanks to better-than-forecast corporate earnings while news about Evergrande averting a default supported gains in Asia; slowing recovery amidst higher COVID cases and rate hike fears saw FTSE post a weekly loss. In the region, Saudi Tadawul touched a 15-year high, while Dubai logged its biggest intraday gain since January 2009 on Wednesday. Oil prices stayed near 3-year highs posting its 7th weekly gain, with Brent and WTI up by 0.8% and 1.8% respectively. Gold prices gained for a second week, supported by a weaker dollar. Meanwhile, Bitcoin touched a record high of USD 67,017 after the launch of the first US bitcoin futures ETF.
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