Healthy appetite for investment in MENA startups…

SME Snapshot - weekly round-up of Global, MENA and SME news in under 60 seconds. Published by Business Exchange Bureau.

Healthy appetite for investment in MENA startups…

Global Markets Update:
The US stock market had another positive week. The NASDAQ recorded the longest positive sequence of closings since 2015, touching a new all-time record. The S&P500 index rose 0.6% over the week, to 2, 472.54, a fraction below a further all-time high set last Thursday. The US performance also pulled up Asian markets and most emerging markets, while in Euroland equity prices were hit by the strong appreciation of the euro. Most regional markets ended in positive territory, despite falling oil prices. In currency markets, the euro got a boost from Draghi’s remark that the ECB is not overly worried about the exchange rate and reached levels not seen in two years. Gold prices regained ground to $1,255/Oz. The slow but steady recovery in the US has gradually spilled over other areas, in particular, Europe where the recovery is now self-sustaining. However, this stimulus has not been strong enough to solve entrenched problems in Asia. China has erratically tightened and eased credit with the aim of keeping the economy stable

MENA Update:
Egypt is planning a new tender for crude discovery and exploration for five oil exploration blocks in the Western Desert before the end of 2017, according to the petroleum ministry. The ministry also disclosed separately that the country is planning to establish a petrochemical complex in Suez, with an investment cost of greater than USD 4bn.
The sale of soft and energy drinks in Saudi Arabia had dropped by nearly 30% and 60% respectively after excise taxes were implemented.
Saudi Arabia has launched 6 new initiatives to boost tourism in the country, to meet the goals set in the Vision 2030 document. While boosting religious tourism is the main initiative, others include developing the country as a Muslim destination and also the development of integrated tourism destinations and the Kafalah program initiative (to finance commercial establishments for tourism projects).
Saudi Arabia’s new Jeddah airport is almost 90% complete. The new airport can handle 30mn passengers annually, and trial operations are set to begin in 2018.

UAE News:
UAE is the “third most-prepared for change in the world”, in a list topped by Switzerland, according to KPMG’s International Change Readiness Index.
UAE’s Emirates airline and Flydubai – both owned by the government of Dubai – are embarking on a new partnership, while being independently managed. Separately, Etihad Airlines sold its minority stake in European regional carrier Darwin Airline, “as part of a continuing review”.

SME News:
MAGNiTT’s report highlights positive news for entrepreneurs and investors alike with a solid start to 2017. In the first six months of this year, they identified 88 disclosed deals amounting to $290 million in start-up funding. Twenty-seven per cent of investment deals were made by Angel Investors (deals up to 500k) and 27 per cent were investments at SEED stage ($500k – $2m) showing active investment in early stage startups.

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