Crude steadies after initial disappointment over OPEC…

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

Crude steadies after initial disappointment over OPEC…

Global Markets Update:

The S&P 500 closed on Friday beating a record high for the third consecutive day but the weekly gain was just 1.4%. Most other global equity markets displayed mildly positive or stable performances thanks to buoyant economic data and positive earnings reports, but Shanghai fell to a seven-month low after Moody’s China downgrade. Regional markets however (with the notable exception of Egypt, where fiscal and monetary policy are improving) were mostly negative after oil prices slumped. In currency markets the dollar had some respite from the slide that has persisted for weeks and the GBP dropped as a result of the terrorist attack in Manchester. The price of Oil on Thursday collapsed by -4% but then steadied. The agreement, by OPEC/NOPEC members in Vienna to extend their production reduction deal for a further 9-months was already expected and pretty much priced-in, thus there was some disappointment in the market that no added measures were announced, and that Iran had said it would not reduce its output, leading Crude to dip back towards US$48 per barrel.

MENA Update:

Lebanon’s central bank governor was reappointed for another six-year term, after the cabinet unanimously agreed to an extension.

Foreign investments into Qatar grew by a robust 11% yoy to QAR 537.3bn in 2015, with FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) accounting for 25% of the total.

An estimated 5,800 housing units will be added in Qatar by the end of 2017, as per a report by ValuStrat, which also disclosed that the country added nearly 1500 units in Q1 this year (comprising about 17% villas and 83% apartments).

Saudi Arabia’s Aramco plans to spend USD 18bn over the next five years to expand its operations in the US, according to the Aramco-owned US oil refining subsidiary Motiva Enterprises.

Saudization at Jeddah malls has reached 50%, according to a senior official at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Only 30% of Middle East businesses have a comprehensive encryption strategy to secure data within enterprise and cloud applications, revealed the Middle East edition of 2017 Global Encryption Trends Study (The report is available at:


UAE News:

Deposits in the UAE grew by 1.3% mom to AED 20.6bn in Mar (Feb: +1.2%), driven by domestic deposits.

The UAE Ministry of Finance revealed that all UAE businesses subject to the Value-Added Tax (VAT) have to submit their tax declaration statements on a quarterly basis starting Jan 2018.

UAE fuel prices are set to decline next month: the Ministry of Energy announced that petrol prices will decline by 2.5-2.7% mom while diesel prices will drop by 3.6% to AED 1.90.

Dubai is considering the creation of a USD 1bn investment fund focused on shipping to further develop the maritime industry.

SME News:

Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC) has teamed up with Mind Cloud Academy to offer the UAE’s first entrepreneurship programme accredited by the Government of Dubai Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). The Mind Cloud entrepreneurship progamme is designed to support the UAE’s drive to build a knowledge economy–a core pillar of the country’s strategy to fuel economic diversification, industrial growth and job creation, and is set to launch in September 2017.

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