Global Markets update:
Global stock markets started last week on a cautious note waiting for Powell’s Congressional testimony and the repercussions of the Trump-Putin summit. The Fed’s Chairman’s positive remarks gave a little jolt to US equity prices but then at the end of the week the announcement of further sanctions against China pulled the indices down (despite good earning reports) to close the week flat. In Europe the dynamics was almost identical while in Asia the Shanghai Composite fell during the week and recovered on Friday. Emerging markets managed to contain the losses in volatile trading. Despite the jitters spurred by the trade war, global equities markets are living a bullish summer even if fundamentals are not particularly uplifting. In regional markets KSA hit a 3-year record thanks to an upbeat banking sector (at a 52 weeks high) and the UAE continued its positive streak. The dollar started the week very strong against major crosses, touching a six-month high against the JPY, and breaching the 1.3 level against the GBP for the first time since September 2017 (due to weak retail sales). Then on Thursday Trump’s criticism against the Fed and an escalation in the trade war led to a precipitous retreat of the green back. China’s yuan remains on the back foot after slipping close towards a one-year low. In general Asian currency volatility is part of an emerging-market tempest: in Q2 emerging markets currencies had their worst fall against the dollar in seven years.
An amendment passed by Parliament allows Egypt to offer citizenship to foreigners who deposit at least EGP 7mn (USD 392k) in the country.
Jordan’s Ministry of Labour has issued over 106k work permits for Syrian refugees so far while the number of workers in the informal economy remains at an estimated 300k, according to a senior official.
Around 350k new jobs will be created in Saudi Arabia across various sectors in the near future. The food, commercial and housing sectors will provide the biggest opportunity, offering roughly 38,000 vacancies for Saudi citizens and 67,000 vacancies for foreigners.
Saudi Arabia approved the license for Commercial Bank of Iraq to open a branch in the country. One of the first private sector banks set up in Iraq, the Commercial Bank of Iraq is also partly owned by Bahrain’s Ahli United Bank (which has a 64.71% stake).
Saudi Arabia plans to install some 2.5mn smart electronic meters in the coming three years in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.
The Chinese President was on a State Visit in the UAE last week, the first visit by a Chinese leader in 29 years. This trip witnessed the establishment of a comprehensive strategic partnership, with cooperation in areas of economy, trade and energy.
UAE’s strong trade-tourism ties with China: Dubai’s trade with China grew by 6% YoY to USD 48bn in 2017, wither-exports up 60% to AED 4.99bn. Non-oil trade between Abu Dhabi and China was AED 13.2bn (USD 3.59bn) in 2017, accounting for 8.2% of the total trade in the emirate. Dubai reported a 119% increase in overnight Chinese visitors since 2014 and a 41.4% YoY increase in 2017; in the January-May period, there were a record 400,547 visitors from China.
UAE’s Federal Tax Authority urges buyers of commercial real estate to pay the due VAT before proceeding with the transfer of ownership.
Real estate brokerage commissions in Dubai touched AED 571mn in H1 this year, disclosed the Dubai Land Department, from 5181 active brokers (including 678 female brokers). This is a 30% dip from the same period a year ago, given the substantial drop in the value of property transactions.
In a move offering more support for UAE businesses, Ajman Media City Free Zone announced plans to scrap a compulsory security deposit on visas for new companies.
The Dubai Department of Economic Development issued 1185 new business licenses in June, with renewals amounting to 11,043 transactions. Among the new licences, 61.9% were commercial, 35.6% were professional, while industrial and tourism accounted for 1.4% and 1.1% respectively.
In a bid to boost tourism during the summer months, the UAE Cabinet announced an exemption of visa fees for dependents aged 18 and below. The exemption is applicable between July 15 - September 15.
Dubai was included as one of the world’s top five in the International Shipping Centre Development Index, joining Singapore, Hong Kong, London and Shanghai.
A new Salik (toll) gate will be operational from October 24th in Dubai, and is expected to reduce traffic by 25% on Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road. This will be Dubai’s 7th tollgate, and is expected to generate more than AED 300mn in annual revenues, in addition to the estimated AED 2bn annually from the 6 other existing gates.
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Global Markets update: