Emirates and Etihad Airlines signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that expands their interline agreement. This landmark agreement will provide travellers with additional itinerary options, thereby increasing tourism in the region.
The UAE Ambassador to India revealed that the CEPA with India that came into effect from 1st May last year has been successful: “We have already exceeded USD 40bn in non-oil trade, USD 80bn in oil trade and the target is USD 100bn by 2027”. UAE is India’s third-largest trading partner and its second-largest export destination.
UAE’s Economy Minister disclosed that the UAE has managed to address many of the Financial Action Task Force’s 58 original concerns (when it placed the nation on the “grey” list) and has around 15 left.
The UAE Federal Tax Authority’s board was presented with the comprehensive FTA report: it was highlighted that the number of VAT registrants reached 351,514 alongside 1,549 registrants for excise tax and 467 tax agents.
The UAE Finance Ministry has clarified residency rules for the implementation of corporate tax: non-resident persons will be liable to pay tax when they either have a permanent establishment in the Emirates or derive state-sourced income.
Petrol prices in the UAE will increase by 5%+ MoM in May while diesel prices will be lower by 4% to AED 2.91.
Private sector firms in the UAE (with more than 50 employees) have been given 30th June as the deadline for achieving the half-yearly Emiratisation target of 1% of skilled jobs.
Etihad Airways CEO disclosed plans to triple the number of passengers it carries to 30mn by the end of this decade while also nearly doubling its fleet to 140 planes.
ACWA Power has been given approval by Abu Dhabi’s Electricity and Water Company to begin work on the 2nd phase of the Al Taweelah desalination project. This will result in the plant achieving its full capacity of 909,200 cubic metres per day.
S&P revised Egypt’s outlook to negative while affirming its long and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings at “B/B”, seven notches above default level. This was largely due to the ongoing surge in inflation, the potential for further currency depreciation and growing external financing needs.
Japanese investments in Egypt surged by 98.7% YoY to USD 73.7mn during the fiscal year 2021-22. Meanwhile, volume of bilateral trade dropped by 26.3% to USD 1.1bn in 2022.
Inflation in Lebanon surged to 264% YoY in March, more than doubling since end-2022 (122%) with food inflation rose at a much faster pace of 352%. Lebanon has seen costs rise across all categories: monetary financing of government deficits, the recent devaluation of the pound in February and forex shortages have led to the 33rd consecutive month of hyperinflation.
India is planning to link its power grid with Saudi Arabia and the UAE via undersea cables, disclosed India’s Union Minister for Power and Renewable Energy; he also stated that the India-UAE agreement is in its final stages.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE together accounted for more than 80% of the total oil imported by Japan in March. Imports from the Arab region accounted for 96.6% of Japan’s March oil imports.
Saudi Arabia’s achievements through 2022 (since the launch of Vision 2030) highlighted in the Annual Report indicates a potential to outpace Vision 2030 goals. Saudi surpassed target of non-oil exports to non-oil GDP by 6.3ppts (25% in 2022); SME loans as a share of bank loans stood at 8% (versus baseline of 2%); achieved 59.5% of local content in the oil and gas sector (vs targeted baseline of 37% in 2022); percentage of university graduates joining the labour market within 6 months of graduating reached 32% (vs the target of 13.3%). Link to the report is in the Media Review section.
About 2.05 million Saudis and expatriates joined the Saudi employment market during the last 15 months, according into Saudi Gazette. Over 255k Saudi women joined the labour market during this period while the number of expats crossed 1.62mn.
Saudi Arabia targets to have 315k new hotel rooms by 2030, according to Knight Frank: to give a comparison, the UAE currently has around 200k keys (including 140k in Dubai).
Firms in Saudi Arabia that paid more than SAR 150mn (USD 39.9mn) in VAT during 2021 or 2022 are now required to integrate their e-invoicing systems with the Fatoora platform – an electronic invoicing project in Saudi Arabia.
Parcel delivery companies in Saudi Arabia saw deliveries surge by 56% YoY to over 14mn shipments during Ramadan.
US equity markets posted weekly gains, thanks to strong earnings (especially tech) though many firms warned of slowdowns ahead (including Amazon). Markets in Europe and Asia were subdued though Japan’s Nikkei 225 touched an 8-month high (+12% year-to-date) after BoJ’s move; the yen weakened to its lowest in 6 weeks with investors expecting a continued dovish stance from the BoJ under Governor Ueda. Gains in most Middle East markets stemmed from positive corporate earnings results (especially banking sector in the UAE). Though there were signs of rising fuel demand amid declining crude output, uncertainty about the impact of interest rates on demand led to oil prices declining for the 2nd week in a row. Gold gained after 2 straight weeks of losses.
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