Dubai PMI jumped to a 38-month high of 57.9 in August (July: 56.4), with travel and tourism posting the highest growth followed by wholesale and retail. The rate of job creation was the fastest seen in the year to-date while business expectations slipped to the weakest since May.
Dubai’s toll operator Salik plans to sell 20% stake via an IPO: 1.5bn shares will be offered at a nominal value of AED 0.01 and subscriptions will remain open during 13-21 September. It reported core earnings of AED 800mn (USD 217.82mn) in H1 2022, up 25.5% YoY and could potentially introduce dynamic pricing at a later stage (i.e. higher toll rates for peak hour usage).
The Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD) is planning to build a 25k sqm electric vehicle assembly facility to be operated by smart electric firm NWTN. NWTN’s operations will have an annual capacity of 5k-10k units of semi knocked down EVs initially before expanding to 50k units.
The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) reported a 22.2% YoY rise in total firms to 4,031 in H1 2022. The number of fintech and innovation firms grew by 23% to 599.
Dubai granted provisional approval to crypto firm Blockchain.com to operate in the emirate: the firm is a crypto exchange and offers users a crypto wallet.
The number of firms in the car rental industry in Dubai grew by 23.7% YoY from 1,087 firms in H1 2021. A total of 78,000 vehicles were registered in this period, up 11.8%.
New industrial licenses issued in July declined by 67% MoM to 30; total licenses issued till August stands at 531. The number of existing and under construction factories reached 10,685 as of the end-July, with investments amounting to SAR 1.367trn (USD 363.3bn).
The Saudi Industrial Development Fund disclosed that it approved a total of 930 loans valued at over SAR 75.4bn (USD 20bn) since the launch 6 years ago, with SMEs accounting for 79% of loans. This year till July, about 60 loans were approved, valued at over SAR 6.2bn.
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Finance announced investments of more than SAR 700bn (USD 186.66bn) towards the development of the green economy and job creation. Initiatives have been launched to reduce carbon emissions by more than 278mn tons annually.
US Treasuries held by Saudi Arabia increased to USD 119.2bn in June (May: USD 114.7bn): this is the highest month-on-month rise since August 2020.
Aramco disclosed that Saudi Arabia lowered October official selling prices for its flagship Arab light crude it sells to Asia by nearly USD4 a barrel, the first reduction in four months.
Saudi PIF plans to issue debt green bonds as soon as this week or potentially in October (depending on market conditions), reported Reuters.
The chairman of Saudi Esports Federation revealed that almost two-thirds of Saudis consider themselves regular gamers, indicating the potential for the country’s esports market – which is forecast to expand by more than 250% in the next 8 years. Separately, the Saudi National Development Fund approved a grant worth SAR 300mn (USD 79.8mn) to finance the gaming and esports sector.
Knight Frank disclosed that Saudi Arabia is to become the world’s biggest construction site, with USD 1.1trn investment.
Bahrain attracted USD 52mn in venture capital last year, up 167% YoY, according to MAGNiTT. Startup funding in the Middle East grew by 138% to USD 2.5bn, with UAE (USD 1.1bn), Saudi Arabia (USD 548mn) and Egypt (USD 502mn) the largest recipients.
Egypt increased the customs dollar price to EGP 19.31 – its highest level in history. This will result in an uptick in prices of imported goods, further adding to inflationary pressures.
The government of Egypt launched a new “pre-proposal” fund to support government enterprises to list on the exchange, according to the Minister of Planning and Economic Development.
The head of Iraq’s state oil marketer SOMO disclosed having received requests to increase quantities of crude oil exports to Asia (specifically India and China) in spite of them getting Russian oil at discounted prices.
Iran’s ambassador to Lebanon proposed an Iranian “gift” of fuel to Lebanon which could be used to run the nation’s power plants. A Lebanese technical delegation is expected to visit Iran to discuss the offer.
According to the World Gold Council, Qatar Central Bank was the largest buyer of gold in July, adding 15 tonnes to its reserves (largest monthly increase on record). This brings total gold reserves at 72 tonnes (10% of total reserves) this is the highest on record in tonnage terms.
MENA startups witnessed a 260% MoM increase in funding in August: about USD 378mn was raised across 33 deals, according to Wamda. This brings investment year-to-date to USD 2.2bn (+29% YoY). Most funded were fintech (68% of total), e-commerce and ad-tech firms.
The World Travel and Tourism Council expects a pickup in demand over the next several years, resulting in the creation of 3.9mn jobs in the Middle East alone (or 3.1% of global total).
Equity markets in the US posted gains last week (the first in 4 weeks), as did Europe and UK while Asian markets had a rough week. Regional markets were mostly down, mirroring the volatile oil prices: Abu Dhabi gained on Friday as oil prices rose while Egypt’s gain was partially supported by an influx of international investors. Among currencies, the euro climbed to a 3-week high vis-à-vis the dollar (rising to above parity); during the week, the dollar touched a 24-year and 37-year high against the JPY and GBP respectively. Gold inched up a 0.3% gain from the previous week while oil prices were slightly lower (the nominal OPEC+ production cut was offset by fresh lockdowns in China).
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