The UAE’s Emirates Global Aluminium is planning to IPO in 2022, and likely to offer between 10-20% of its shares, reported Reuters. The company, one of the world’s largest aluminium producers, is valued between USD 16-19bn.
Dubai will establish a specialized court within the Court of First Instance and Court of Appeal to focus on financial crimes including money laundering.
Abu Dhabi DED identified 725 industrial activities eligible for full foreign ownership. Separately, in a bid towards self-sufficiency, the Abu Dhabi Industrial Development Bureau plans to add 50 industrial facilities over the next three years to manufacture locally basic commodities from food to medical supplies.
The Fujairah Oil Terminal is investing an estimated USD 45mn to upgrade infrastructure by the end of 2022: this will see the terminal connected to the Port of Fujairah’s very large crude carrier (VLCC) loading facility and the Abu Dhabi Crude Oil Pipeline.
The Mohammed bin Rashid Innovation Fund will support 24 new businesses (selected as part of the Fund’s accelerator programme) to expand operations and enter new markets. Of these, 13 businesses are based in the UAE while the others have a presence in the country.
Dubai schools’ regulator announced a return to 100% in-person learning from 3rd October, with a switch to online learning should positive cases be detected.
UAE’s unvaccinated Federal employees are required to take a PCR test every 48 hours, according to the latest set of regulations. This is also required of consultants and experts visiting government buildings or attending meetings.
All fully vaccinated (as per the WHO-approved list) tourists from across the world are eligible to apply for UAE visit visas starting 30th August. The visitors will require a mandatory rapid PCR test at the airport and need to register on the Al Hosn app.
Iraq signed a contract with China’s state-owned PowerChina to build its first solar power plants: the first plant will have a capacity of 750MW and the plan is to boost total capacity to 2000 MW from multiple plants. Though no details were provided about when production would begin, the aim is to reduce dependence on Iranian power imports.
Kuwait-based logistics company Agility disclosed that it had applied for a license to establish a digital bank.
Kuwait suspended passenger transport by sea due to COVID-19 concerns, but shipping operations are expected to continue, according to the ports authority.
Fuel prices in Lebanon increased by 66-67% after the subsidy cut: cost of fuels has now almost tripled in the last 2 months since support for imports was decreased.
Lebanon picked Dubai’s ENOC in a tender to swap 84,000 tons of Iraqi high sulfur fuel oil with 30,000 tons of Grade B fuel oil and 33,000 tons of gasoil. The swap tenders are essential as Iraqi fuel is unsuitable for Lebanese electricity generation.
Oman allows entry for anyone with a COVID-19 vaccine certificate from 1st September.
Qatar and UAE have helped evacuate more than 40k and 36,500 persons respectively from Afghanistan. Qatar has agreed with the US to temporarily host 8k Afghan nationals while the UAE and Kuwait would host 5k.
The total number of funding deals reached 220 in the Middle East and Africa region till mid-August this year, compared to 310 investment deals closed in the full year 2020, according to a report from Red Seer. Early-stage and Series A funding rounds contributed 65% and 18% to the total number of deals. Financial technology and food services were identified as the best performing industries when it comes to investor interest.
More than 75% of respondents from the Middle East revealed that their use of digital payment modes has increased by about 10% due to the pandemic, according to a McKinsey report. About 90% of those surveyed believe that at least half of new users will stick with digital payments and not revert to cash in the post-pandemic era.
COVID-19 led to an expansion of e-commerce in the Middle East, according to Sitecore research. The region witnessed a 54% YoY growth last year to USD 12.1bn; electronics and retail accounted for over 42% of the total.
The Vice Minister for Mining Affairs in Saudi Arabia disclosed that mining investments are expected to surge by 150% in the next decade from the current SAR 170-180bn. The investment is likely to create up to 220k jobs.
Start-up costs for commerce fees register in Saudi Arabia was reduced by 96% for companies and between 33-75% for enterprises for the first 5 years. SMEs will be exempt from commerce fees register for 3 years. Fees will start in the fourth and fifth year, but at a reduced rate of SAR 500 (USD 133) for entrepreneurs and SAR 200 for entrepreneurs with a capital of less than SAR 375k and whose employees do not exceed five.
The contribution of sports to Saudi Arabia’s GDP grew to SAR 5bn in 2019 from SAR 2.4bn (USD 640mn) in 2016; this is expected to rise to SAR 18bn by 2030. Currently, SAR 11bn worth of major sports projects are being planned or under construction in the country.
local firms are being invited to invest in. The number of licensed companies in Saudi Arabia’s military sector reportedly increased by 41% to 99 in H1 this year (85% were local firms).
Another week where investors overlooked rising COVID-19 cases, vaccine efficacies and growth concerns: major global equity markets ended the week higher, with the US markets rallying after the Fed chair’s Jackson Hole speech indicating a gradual removal of stimulus measures this year; Europe’s Stoxx600 closed higher, helped by commodity linked stocks; MSCI (Morgan Stanley Capital International) Asia ex-Japan rose as well, posting its best weekly gain since February. Regional markets showed a mixed picture, with Tadawul clocking in a second consecutive weekly loss while Egypt and Dubai gained upwards of 2%. Among currencies, dollar slipped after Powell’s speech while the British pound posted a 1% weekly gain. Brent and WTI (West Texas Intermediate) oil prices closed higher by more than 10% (on supply concerns after companies shut production ahead of Hurricane Ida) – the biggest weekly gains since June 2020 – while gold price also gained by 2% compared to a week ago.
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