Global Markets Update:
The US dollar began to unwind some of last week’s losses on Monday as investors moved away from safe haven assets as two critical events failed to materialise over the weekend. Firstly, Florida managed to evade the fun extent of Hurricane Irma as it changed direction at the last minute, dropping to a category 3 hurricane as it hit the mainland. The weakened storm had a much lesser effect on infrastructure and the economy than was initially feared. Secondly, no further missile or nuclear tests took place in North Korea adding to hope that the situation may not escalate further. The Euro rallied as high as 1.2059 against the dollar, and after profit taking managed to hold most of the gains. The yen also surged due to flight to safety effects and the GBP had some relief from the Brexit-induced slide. The oil price was lifted by the devastation caused by Harvey on the oil industry and the refineries, while gold continued its upward swing spurred by the North Korean test of an H-bomb.
Bahrain is set to receive arms (including F-16 jets, upgrades, missiles and patrol boats) worth more than USD 3.8bn after the US State Department approved the sale.
Tourism revenues in Egypt picked up by 170% YoY to USD3.5bn in Jan-Jul this year, with a 54% increase in the number of tourists to 4.3mn. As for nationality of the visitors, it was disclosed that Europeans accounted for 75% while Arabs were around 20%.
Egypt’s trade with the BRICS nations was close to USD 20bn in 2016, stated the country’s industry minister, ahead of the BRICS Summit in China. Meanwhile, Egypt signed two agreements with China last week: one, for an electric train to the country’s new capital, worth USD 739mn and two, for Egypt’s second satellite a grant of CNY 300mn (USD 45mn).
A preliminary assessment estimates that reconstruction in Iraq could cost nearly USD 150bn; a creditors’ conference will be held in Kuwait next Jan – sponsored by the Iraqi Reconstruction Fund, the World Bank, and the Kuwait Development Fund – to support this effort. The country has also approved a 10-year plan to rebuild its war-damaged areas, to be launched in 2018.
Saudi Arabia’s Economic Cities Authority announced that it plans to charge real estate fees from Feb 2018, to “enhance competitiveness” and to regulate the real estate sector. A fee of 1% “of the sales value as per the registered Sales and Purchase Agreement or the approved valuation by the Real Estate Department”, whichever is higher, will be charged, in addition to a fee of SAR 100 for every property registration transaction.
According to a survey conducted by Expat Insider, Bahrain ranked as the top destination for expats, with almost 9 out of 10 expats rating positively the friendly attitude of the local population towards foreign residents, compared to a global average of 67%. Among the worst 10 destinations feature Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, with main issues remaining lack of career prospects and quality of life.
Non-oil trade in the UAE grew by 3.2% YoY to AED 401bn in Q1 this year; non-oil exports, at AED 46bn, accounted only for 11.5% of the total trade during this period. Trade with Asia and Pacific accounted for 43% of the total, followed by Europe at 21% and MENA and 19.5%.
Foreign investments in the Fujairah Free Zone – home to 3500 companies from over 44 countries – amounted to more than AED 8 billion, disclosed the Director-General of the free zone authority.
Pearl Initiative launches 3-year programme to boost GCC SME business resilience. The Pearl Initiative has launched a three-year programme aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of SMEs through a tailored approach to corporate governance that is robust, flexible and simple to adopt.
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Global Markets Update: