Global Markets Update:
GBP enjoyed another strong few days basking in the anticipation of the first interest rate rise since July 2007. On Wall Street, the week started with a record closing for the S&P 500 despite the aftermath of Irma and extended to most major stock markets around the world. Despite another North Korean missile launch over Japan, the mood among investors remained broadly upbeat. In currency markets, the USD rebounded against the euro and even more against the yen, due to relief that the damages by the hurricanes are less severe than initially expected and hopes over the prospects of a tax reform. Oil prices continued to climb as the rebalancing in the world market picks up strength. Gold prices interrupted their winning streak as the jitters from North Korean missile launch were metabolized.
Bahrain’s real estate sector grew by 4.5% YoY in Q1 2017, according to the EDB, contributing over USD 1.7bn to the economy. Real estate transactions grew by 15.2% QoQ and 8.1% YoY to USD 770mn in Q1.
VAT tax returns in Lebanon registered an increase of 51.39% in the first 12 days of Sep, disclosed Global Blue (company designated by the Finance Ministry to reimburse VAT purchases to tourists in Lebanon); the bulk of the tourists reimbursed were from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and UAE.
Saudi Aramco clarified that its IPO remains on track after a Bloomberg report stated that contingency plans were being made for a delay into 2019.
Saudi Arabia plans to launch a tender process for its first nuclear reactors as early as next month.
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology announced that users will be able to access online voice and video call applications (that have met regulatory requirements), starting Sep 20.
The value of construction projects in the GCC touched USD 2.4trn (from 21,893 active projects), according to BNC Network; urban construction contracts constitute 80% of the total.
Registration for businesses subject to excise tax in the UAE will begin from Sep 17, according to the Federal Tax Authority. Excise taxes – 50% on carbonated drinks excluding water and 100% on tobacco products and energy drinks – will be imposed from Oct.
Dubai’s industrial sector is expected to grow by an additional AED 18bn by 2030, creating 27k jobs, with exports forecast to increase by AED 16bn. The strategy, which is in its implementation phase, also resulted in an increase in the growth rate of Dubai’s industrial GDP to 3.4% in 2016, from 0.6% the year before.
Both Dubai and Abu Dhabi are among the top 25 in the latest edition of the Global Financial Centres Index. Dubai moved up 7 places to rank 18, while Abu Dhabi rose to 25 from 28 last year. London, New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tokyo are the top five.
UAE ranked 8th globally (with 110 points) in the latest Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index: six in 10 UAE respondents were confident about job prospects in the coming year while 66% stated that their personal finances would be good or excellent in the next 12 months.
The UAE Cabinet has approved visa on arrival for Indian passport holders with UK and EU residency visa; this follows the previous move granting Indians with American visa or Green card visa on arrival from May.
The Intelak Incubator has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Dubai SME to host and foster ‘Intelak Idea Lab,’ a three-week training programme focused on giving entrepreneurial-minded Emirati youth the tools they need to turn ideas into businesses.
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Global Markets Update: