Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates has introduced WeChat Pay…

The US-China trade negotiations drag on with no concrete results

Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates has introduced WeChat Pay…

Global Markets update:
The US-China trade negotiations drag on with no concrete results (in its 6th round of negotiations), while in the UK PM May suffered another setback losing the February 14 vote on Brexit. In Europe, though Germany managed to just avoid a technical recession, forward looking data points toward a slow first half. Politics will dominate in the coming months with Spain’s call for snap election on April 28th adding to the series of local and European elections in May. The S&P 500 in the US had good week, also recording the highest daily increase in February. In spite of any specific progress in the US-China trade negotiations, investors seem to be betting on the fact that a deal would be a win-win for both sides. European stock markets were up as well, though in Asia most markets closed lower. Regional markets were mixed: Dubai gained, as did Egypt and Saudi Arabia, while Qatar slipped to a 4-month low and Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain edged lower. The euro bounced back after dipping on comments from an ECB board member that targeted longer-term refinancing operations were “being discussed”; the pound slumped after the February 14 Brexit vote as no-deal Brexit fears grow. Oil prices last week surpassed USD 65 for the first time this year, on tightened supply while gold prices rose on a weak dollar.

MENA News:
PM stated that the country’s four major gas fields, which saw investments exceeding USD 27bn, will have a maximum production capacity of 6.5bn cubic feet of gas per day upon completion.
Kuwait’s central bank has granted initial approval for the merger between Bahrain’s Ahli United Bank with the Kuwait Finance House.
Saudi Arabia lifted its longstanding warning against its citizens travelling to Lebanon, “based on reassurances from the Lebanese government”, revealed the ambassador to Beirut.
According to the IMF, Saudi Arabia would need oil prices at USD 80-85 a barrel to balance its budget. The regional head of the IMF also stated that while the government “can afford” additional spending (As proposed in the budget), its top priority should continue to be balancing the budget by 2023.
The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) permitted 7 companies looking to provide digital payment services to be part of its regulatory sandbox for fintech firms. It has also permitted 11 banks to let customers open and edit accounts remotely (without visiting branches).
Pakistan expects to receive a USD 10-20bn economic package from Saudi Arabia, during the visit of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince. The country, which has only USD 8bn left in foreign reserves, is hoping to get USD 30bn in loans and investments from Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Saudi women will be able to get property loans from the Real Estate Development Fund; this was announced after the fund’s board meeting in 2019.
UAE News:
New business licenses issued
by the Dubai Department of Economic Development increased by 20% YoY to 2046 in January 2019.
According to the Dubai Department of Economic Development, the emirate is home to 1985 branches of foreign companies and 833 branches of GCC companies. British companies accounted for 28.6% of the total branches of foreign companies, followed by Indian (13.9%) and US (12.2%). The GCC list was topped by Kuwait, at 63.3% of companies, Saudi Arabia (23.3%) and Bahrain (19.1%).
A business confidence survey conducted by the Dubai Department of Economic Development in Q4 2018 revealed that about 59% of respondents were optimistic about Q1 growth (vs. 41% a year ago) while 34% expected stability. The Composite Business Confidence Index was 126.2 in Q4 2018, up 7.7 points QoQ and 10.2 points YoY.
Emaar Malls, with a total gross leasable area of 6.7mn sq ft, maintained strong occupancy levels of 93% last year, with footfall up 5% YoY to 136mn visitors. The Dubai Mall alone welcomed 83mn visitors in 2018, up 4% YoY.
Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates has introduced WeChat Pay, in a bid to enable Chinese tourists to undertake cashless transactions. Mall of the Emirates has also become the first mall in the country to own an official verified WeChat account.
The World Bank will be establishing an office in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).
UAE ranked 5thin the latest DHL Global Connectedness Index, rising 5 places from the previous edition, and behind Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland and Belgium.
UAE-based money transfer firms UAE Exchange and Unimoni are now on RippleNet, enabling real-time, seamless cross-border transactions (using blockchain technology) to Thailand; plans are to extend to other nations.

About Business Exchange Bureau:
Business Exchange Bureau (BXB) is a Professional Marketplace for Business Owners to Buy and Sell Businesses, Investments or Business Assets in the UAE.
The BXB vision is clear - to connect great business minds to great investments.

Nasser Saidi & Associates