Global Markets update:
The global debate over immigration is the human rights issue of our time. France’s World Cup triumph is a reminder that in an era of populist rhetoric and globalization, racial and ethnic diversity represents enduring strength at all levels of society. Values that build cultural, political and economic bridges within and between countries. Back to markets, time has proved that there is a high correlation between currencies and equity (stock) markets. After all, trade can be a big component of any economy and much of how a currency behaves reflects trade. Last week was the perfect example of how currencies can drive market action. On Tuesday, Trump indicated his team had drawn up a new US$200 billion list of Chinese products on which to apply higher tariffs. Shortly after the news, the Chinese yuan began to drop and the dollar, to rise. Regional markets were mixed following the oil prices gyrations with KSA and Abu Dhabi ending on a cheerful note, while most others were stable or in the red. After Libya announced the resumption of exports, oil prices suffered a sell-off at mid-week — which provoked Brent’s sharpest one day percentage loss since February 2016 — and, furthermore, rumors spread over the possible easing of US sanctions against Iran and the US pressure on Russia to increase production. Towards the end of the week oil prices rebounded in the wake of a 12.6mn barrel drop in US crude inventories, more than twice analysts’ expectations. Gold prices continued their slide, threatening to break key support levels, despite global tensions.
Passenger traffic at the Kuwait International Airport increased by 18% YoY to 1.22mn passengers in June.
Lebanon’s central bank head expects the economy to grow at 2% this year, with inflation ranging between 4-5%.
Oman’s inflation rate increased to 1.4% YoY in June from 0.8% in May.
Saudi Arabia published a draft law that covers Public-Private Partnerships: it offers investors exemptions from labour laws, real state ownership restrictions and other regulations. Public consultation on the document will run for three weeks.
Saudi Arabia’s Capital Market Authority approved its first two financial technology licenses on a trial basis: start-up Manafa Capital and Scopeer are set to offer crowdfunding investment services.
South Africa disclosed that Saudi Arabia is planning to invest at least USD 10bn in the country, mostly in the energy sector, including building oil refineries. The details will be given during an investment summit to be held later this year.
Banks in the UAE can now charge VAT on fees, according to a circular from the central bank, reversing a previous notification that prevented banks and finance companies from increasing existing fees (by charging VAT).
The UAE cabinet has approved the implementation of VAT refunds for tourists from Q4 this year.
SMEs contribution to the Dubai economy stood at 47% in 2016, rising from 40% in 2009, while their contribution to job creation grew to 52.4% (from 42%), according to Dubai SME’s latest report. More than 94% of the companies operating in the UAE are SMEs, and account for more than 86% of the total private sector workforce as well as more than 60% of the country’s current GDP, as per the Ministry of Economy.
UAE companies and listed firms have an exposure of up to USD 1bn to Abraaj Group. Commercial Bank of Dubai and Mashreq Bank have up to USD 500mn combined exposure, one of the largest after Air Arabia disclosed USD 336mn worth of exposure. First Abu Dhabi Bank revealed direct exposure to Abraaj through a fully secured three-year loan of USD 21.4mn, which is due to mature in April 2019.
UAE and Russia have signed a visa exemption pact, in a bid to encourage tourism, investment and trade. Total non-oil trade between the two countries reached USD 2.5bn in 2017, up from 2016’s USD 2.1bn.
UAE extended compulsory military service for Emirati men to 16 months from 12 previously; those without a high school qualification continue to serve for two years.
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Global Markets update: