DP World signed an agreement to build a USD 80mn logistics park at Egypt’s Sokhna Port. The 300k sq m park is expected to create about 600 direct and indirect jobs, and will focus on logistics, trading, distribution, value-added, and light industrial activities.
In H1 2022, Dubai officially submitted about 200 bids and proposals to host international business events. While several bids are still pending, the emirate clocked in 99 successful bids – these confirmed events are expected to welcome around 77k delegates and account for about 330k hotel room nights.
Abu Dhabi’s Department of Economic Development is offering discounted plots of land to firms implementing sustainable business practices: under the plan, the land will be sold at rates as low as USD 1.4 per sq m.
Abu Dhabi Airports reported that 6.3mn passengers passed through in H1 2022, thanks to an increase in demand for travel and 94% YoY rise in the number of scheduled passenger flights. The top 5 nations in terms of passenger volumes were India, Pakistan, UK, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt while top 5 destination airports were Heathrow, Delhi, Mumbai, Cochin, and Cairo.
Bloomberg reported that the money exchange firm Al Ansari Exchange plans to list and trade its shares on Dubai Financial Market in Q1 2023.
UAE healthcare firm Burjeel, ahead of its potential IPO later this year, announced plans to expand into Saudi Arabia with an investment of up to USD 1bn by 2030 (as part of an MoU with the Ministry of Investment). The Saudi investments will likely be financed with project debt, reported Reuters, citing the CEO.
Mobile app downloads in the UAE increased by 23% in H1 2022, with finance related apps seeing the most demand (+183% YoY), according to data from AppsFlyer. Interestingly, in line with the rising footfall in malls, retail app downloads have seen a decline.
Saudi Energy Minister, in an interview with Bloomberg, stated that OPEC+ could cut output to correct the recent decline in oil prices. Various other ministers have supported this or made similar statements supporting OPEC+ efforts to maintain stability including from Sudan, Oman, Bahrain, Iran, Algeria, Libya and Congo among others; Reuters reported that UAE was also aligned with this thinking. The Saudi Minister also highlighted that “very thin liquidity and extreme volatility” in the oil futures market was taking the focus away from spare capacity issues. Without giving any details, he hinted at a new OPEC+ agreement beyond 2022.
Egypt grew by 6.6% in the 2021-22 fiscal year (that ended on 30th June), from the previous year’s 3.3% and higher than the Cabinet’s earlier estimate of 6.2%. Growth in Q4 eased to 3.2% from 7.8% in July 2021-March 2022. Growth was supported by expansions in the restaurants and hotels sector (+45%) and communications (+16.3%).
Egypt’s Central Bank increased cash withdrawal limits (to up to EGP 150k from EGP 50k previously) and removed restrictions on the amount that could be deposited.
Egypt signed initial agreements with seven global firms to implement green hydrogen projects in the Ain Sokhna industrial zone. The fuel will be used for export purposes and ship catering services.
Talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia (the 5th round of which was held in April) are separate from the ongoing negotiations related to the 2015 nuclear pact, and such cooperation could help restore regional peace and security, following the reappointment of Ambassadors to Iran by the UAE and Kuwait.
Iraq’s foreign currency reserves crossed USD 80bn and will likely reach USD 90bn by end of the year, according to the deputy governor of the Central Bank. Gold reserves have increased by 30 tonnes to more than 131 tonnes.
Kuwait will hold parliamentary elections on 29th September to elect a new 50-seat assembly, reported KUNA.
Oman’s government settled outstanding loans of 1,169 SME owners and individuals, valued at OMR 2.45mn, also cancelling related prison sentences and property seizures.
FIFA estimates that returns from the Qatar World Cup 2022 could reach USD 6bn; of the 3.2mn tickets available, one-third was issued to sponsors and carriers. The best-selling match tickets were for Mexico-Argentina and Saudi Arabia-Argentina, both sold out.
SAMA granted permits to two fintech startups – Lean Technologies and Mod5r – bringing the total number of companies in the sandbox to 38.
A new tourism law approved by the Saudi Cabinet includes streamlined licensing procedures, crisis management measures, financial guarantees, an information database as well as strengthening the relationship between investors, tourists and relevant authorities. Residential real estate transactions in Saudi Arabia surged by 21.4% YoY to SAR 36bn (USD 9.58bn) in Q2 2022, according to a CBRE report. The volume of transactions fell by 19.9% to over 44k deals in the quarter.
Car imports into Saudi Arabia touched some 320k in H1 2022: this compares to 562k cars imported in 2021 (+2.9% YoY), reported Al Eqtisadiah, citing the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority.
Saudi Arabia finalized regulatory procedures for electric vehicle charging stations: this will support the move towards EVs and achieve Riyadh’s target of 30% EVs by 2030.
International passenger traffic through Saudi airports more than tripled to 16.6mn in H1 2022 and has recovered to approximately 70% of pre-pandemic levels. A reduction in airport charges for airlines (between 10-35%) is likely to be introduced in Q4, making it more attractive. The goal is to triple annual passenger traffic to 330mn by 2030.
Saudi Arabia plans to invest USD 1bn in Pakistan, reported the Saudi state TV.
Global equities had a bad week, given the Fed’s hawkish message at the Jackson Hole conference: MSCI’s gauge of global stocks fell by 2.47% on Friday – its worst day in more than 2 months; pan-European STOXX 600 fell by 2.6% from a week before, after flash PMI readings disappointed. Regional markets were mixed, with many markets tracking oil gains. The GBP and EUR posted weekly losses after the dollar gained post-Powell’s speech (with the euro tumbling to a 20-year low near USD 0.99). For oil markets, the week started with Saudi Minister’s comments suggesting a potential cut in output (next OPEC+ meeting is on 5th September) and prices remained volatile on concerns about supply tightness and fears of economic and geopolitical uncertainty; gold price fell by 1%+ on Friday alone, and posted a 0.6% weekly loss.
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