New business licenses issued in Dubai increased by 35% YoY to 9,489 in January-April 2019. The Business Confidence Index in Dubai also climbed to 117.8 points in Q1 2019 compared to 116.4 points during Q1 2018, according to a DED survey. Separately, it was revealed that total FDI inflow into Dubai touched AED 22.2bn in Q1 versus AED 7.3bn in Q1 2018.
DIFC enacted two new laws: the new Insolvency Law and Regulations – which introduces a new debtor in possession bankruptcy regime – came into effect from June 13, while the new DIFC Employment Law – which addresses key issues such as paternity leave, sick pay and end-of-service settlements – will come into effect from August 28.
The UAE Cabinet, in an attempt to promote the role and participation of Emirati youth, issued a decision that it specifies at least one Emirati under the age of 30 must be included in the boards of directors of government entities, institutions and companies.
The UAE Cabinet approved a National Strategy for Wellbeing 2031: a framework includes enhancing people’s wellbeing by promoting healthy and active lifestyles, promoting good mental health and adopting positive thinking.
More than 3 million passengers travelled through air, sea and land ports in Dubai during the Eid al-Fitr holiday period, according to the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs.
Infrastructure update from Bahrain: the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development will support the construction of two major road expansions (estimated to cost BHD 30mn) which had been announced in 2014 but stalled due to lack of funding; part of a “wish list” is a new second airport that will be operational by 2034, with construction planned by 2030.
A total of 43 investors offered to invest USD 970.6mn in the 1Y dollar-denominated Treasury bills tender issued by the Central Bank of Egypt. The CBE accepted 24 offers worth USD 715mn, and the average yield was 3.877%.
Egypt is set to receive tenders for constructing the first dry port in the country starting from July 11. The port will be set up in partnership with the private sector.
The US has granted Iraq a 120-day waiver to import Iranian gas for its power grid, according to the US State Department.
Oman has initiated registration for a one-person company– a limited liability company owned by one natural or juristic person – permitted under the new Commercial Companies Law. The law does not stipulate specific capital for this establishment.
The number of tourists visiting Oman surged by 34.3% YoY to 330,685 persons in April; GCC nationals comprised 46% of the total (+41% YoY growth).
Oman’s excise taxes on tobacco products, energy drinks, alcohol and pork have come into effect from June 15: the government has called upon all firms that have a stock of the excise goods must declare its value and pay the tax in full within 15 days of the tax coming into effect. The new tax is expected to generate OMR100mn in revenues a year.
Qatar reduced prices of its marine and land crudes by more than 1% MoM in May.
More than 390,828 work visas were issued in Saudi Arabia in Q1 this year, with 58.8% issued for individuals while the private sector and government accounted for 36.8% and 4.5% respectively. Of the 12.765mn employees in the country, about 75.6% were expatriates, while among the Saudis 65.4% were men. Breakdown by age shows that the age group of 30-34 and 35-39 represented 18.5% and 17.3% respectively.
Geopolitical worries with rising fears of a US-Iran confrontation, unresolved trade tensions, and worries about global growth affected markets– S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite, though falling on Friday, posted weekly gains; in Europe and Asia, markets mostly edged lower. Regional equity markets retreated following the attack on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. The dollar index climbed to its highest level in two weeks while the euro fell against the dollar. The geopolitical tensions post-Gulf of Oman attack lifted oil prices but Brent crude still posted a weekly loss. Gold, as a safe haven asset, hit a 14-month peak though closing lower afterwards.
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