BRICS Extended an Invite to Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE to Join the Group …

This is the group’s first expansion in 13 years. Officially, the nations will join the group on January 1, 2024.

BRICS Extended an Invite to Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE to Join the Group …

UAE News:
Private loans in the UAE grew by 4.2% YoY in June (May: 3.3%), with credit disbursed to the government and public sector rising by 2.5% and 3.7% respectively. UAE central bank’s foreign assets jumped to USD 161.33bn in June, and the monetary base grew by 0.1% MoM to AED 622.2bn. The UAE central bank’s public budget grew by 32% YoY and 0.2% MoM to AED 649.42bn in June 2023, with deposits standing at AED 135.3bn and cash & and bank balances at AED 257.2bn.
According to data from the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, its members’ top global export destination was Saudi Arabia in H1 2023. Exports to Saudi grew by 15% YoY to AED 35bn) while Kuwait came in 2nd (AED 12.8bn) and to Qatar it grew by 39.3% to AED 12.4bn.
Six UAE banks financed green projects worth AED 190bn (USD 51.8bn) in 2022, according to the UAE Banks Federation.
Moodys disclosed that UAE’s biggest banks, which together account for 77% of banking assets, posted a combined net profit of USD 7.4bn in H1 2023 (+68% YoY). This was largely due to the increase in interest rates and higher business volumes.
Abu Dhabi Investment Authority-owned vehicle plans to double its investment (to USD 449mn) in an Australian real estate private credit vehicle called Qualitas, disclosed the latter.
Dubai International Airport reported a 49% increase in passenger traffic to 41.6mn in H1 2023, surpassing pre-pandemic levels. The forecast for this year has been raised to 85mn passengers, from 83.6mn before this is just 1.6% lower than the annual traffic reported in 2019.
DP World plans to invest around USD 510mn to build a new container terminal at the Kandla port in the Indian state of Gujarat. The firm already operates 5 container terminals in the country and the new terminal is estimated to be completed by early 2027.

Regional News:
The BRICS extended an invitation to Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE to join the group, along with Argentina and Ethiopia. This is the group’s first expansion in 13 years. Officially, the nations will join the group on January 1, 2024. See our article
Bahrain and Oman signed an agreement to exchange credit information to support transparency and reduce financial risks, mirroring previous agreements with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
The registered unemployment rate in Egypt declined by 0.1% QoQ to 7% in Q2 2023. There were a total of 2.17mn unemployed persons in Q2, roughly 7% of the total labour force, of which 1.23mn were men. The 15-29 age group accounted for 61.8% of the unemployed.
Egypt announced a new oil discovery in the Geisum and Tawila West Concession in the Gulf of Suez. In the current exploration phase, total output from the field has reached about 23k barrels per day.
E-trade exports from Egypt rose to 2.9% of total exports in 2021, from just 0.2% in 2011, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics. Egypt ranked 109th globally and 13th in the region in 2020, as per UNCTAD’s (The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development ) eTrade Readiness Assessments.
Iraq and Turkey have not yet reached an agreement about resuming Iraq’s northern oil exports after the flows were stopped on March 25th.
Jordan reported a 50% increase in tourists to 3mn persons in January -July 2023 while tourism revenues surged by 59.4% to USD 3.45bn. Separately, Jordan citizens spent USD 905.5mn (46.6% YoY) in H1 2023 on travel and tourism activities outside the country.
Exploratory drilling for oil and gas began in Lebanon’s offshore Block 9 last week. The energy minister stated that the results of the drilling would be available after 67 days. However, Lebanon should be careful not to ramp up spending in expectation of an oil windfall which is not likely before 6 to 8 years; a national oil fund independent of the finance ministry should be set up for the economy to reap the benefits of any potential future revenues.
Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister appreciated the BRICS invitation to join the group and disclosed that the nation would take “the appropriate decision” before the January 1st joining date proposed by the bloc.
Saudi Arabia revealed a masterplan to develop 59 logistics centres (with a total area of more than 100mn sqm) by the end of this decade: This is being rolled out as a part of its National Transport and Logistics Strategy; already, 21 centres are in development.
Saudi Arabia tops the list of number of dollar millionaires in the MENA region, with 354k in 2022 (+8% YoY), according to a Credit Suisse report. Saudi ranked 23rd globally in a list dominated by the US and mainland China (with 22.7mn and 6.2mn respectively).
SMEs in Saudi Arabia touched 1.23mn in Q2, up by 2.6% QoQ, according to data from Monsha’at. Separately, the minister of commerce disclosed that SMEs accounted for 80% of total jobs while the annual growth of e-commerce touched 33% between 2016-22.
Saudi Arabia’s off-plan property sales surged by 52% YoY in H1 2023, according to Wafi, the off-plan sales and leasing committee in the Ministry of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing. The committee licensed 79 projects in H1 to provide 1,832 new real estate units in all regions countrywide.

Global News:
Global equity markets inched up across most markets. Regional markets were mixed affected by uncertainty in the energy markets and oil prices, with the DFM (Dubai Financial Market) and Egypt posting rises; the former had a 6-session winning streak last week though ending lower on Friday. The GBP touched a 10-week low after the flash PMI (Purchasing Managers Index) data raised recession fears, while the euro fell on expectations that the ECB (European Central Bank) could pause its tightening cycle at the meeting next month; the yen fell to its lowest level against the dollar since November. Oil prices fell for the second week in a row while gold prices rose by 1.4%.

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