Global Markets Update:
Better-than-expected earnings reports from the US tech giants led the S&P500 and the Nasdaq Composite to new intra-day record highs. In fact, the S&P500 and NASDAQ are up by 15.29% and 24.49% respectively year-to-date. Euro weakness and ECB stance (which was perceived as dovish by markets) supported the Old Continent’s stock indices, which hit 5-month highs (though the Spain’s IBEX was hurt by the Catalonian quagmire). Japanese indices outperformed in response to the landslide victory obtained by PM Abe in the parliamentary elections. Regional markets mostly closed lower, dragged down by companies missing investors’ expectations. Worries over Spain and the ECB’s slow phasing out of QE pushed the euro down to a 3-month low against the dollar. Oil prices edged up, with Brent closing above 60 USD/barrel despite an increase in US crude inventories, on expectations that the OPEC cuts will be further extended. Gold prices touched a 3-week low in the absence of new geopolitical tensions.
Kuwait’s ministry has approved new conditions for expat recruitment: according to sources, the conditions are likely to begin next year and include barring the recruitment of expats below the age 30 for diploma holders and above, and barring recruitment without the proof of experience in the field they are being recruited for. Separately, it was revealed that the number of expats in the public sector declined (by 211) as of Oct 1compared to Jul 1 while the number of Kuwaitis went up by 1316.
Lebanon’s central bank announced that it intended to launch its own digital currency “in the next few years”, which will fall under Lebanese law and be monitored by the BDL.
Saudi Arabia reduced the validity of work visa issued for expats in the private sector to one year, from two previously. This, however, is not applicable for visas issued for government services as well as for domestic workers.
UAE announced the “One Million Arab Coders” initiative last week: the website www.arabcoders.ae will provide free training, in cooperation with the best international companies, with top students and tutors getting incentives of over USD 1mn.
The UAE central bank issued a warning against the use of “digital coins”, saying it has not issued a license to allow the currency in the local market.
Property transactions in Dubai touched AED 204bn (USD 55.6bn) in Jan-Sep this year, according to the Dubai Land Department, and compares to AED 259bn worth last year and AED 132bn in H1 this year.
Real estate trade in Sharjah touched AED 8.2bn (USD 2.2bn) in Q3 this year, from a total 11,853 transactions.
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Global Markets Update: