Global Markets Update:
The US dollar remains under pressure as President Trump continues to feud with fellow Republican Senator Bob Corker and the major tax-code overhaul could be harmed as a result. US stocks hit six consecutive closing high for the first time in more than 20 years. This week it was Japan’s Nikkei to touch a two-decade closing high, boosted by stronger earnings and improved macro data. Emerging markets recorded another rally while regional markets were mixed with Qatar and the UAE rebounding while KSA and Egypt were on the back foot. The focus once again remains on the ongoing Brexit negotiations -the 5th round finishes today. Philip Hammond released a statement yesterday that the government is preparing for every possibility, which suggests there is a greater chance of a ‘Hard Brexit’ where the UK walks away from the negotiating table without a deal. Sterling dropped in response to a reported deadlock in the negotiations. Oil prices were lifted by another drawdown in US crude inventories and stronger global growth prospects. Gold made some gains largely on dollar weakness.
The IMF, in its latest World Economic Outlook report, forecasts growth of 2.2% this year for the MENA region compared to 5.1% last year. While regional insecurity and geopolitical risks remain, next year’s growth (3.2%) is likely to be driven by stronger domestic demand among oil-importers, and oil production rebound in the oil exporting nations.
Work on expanding and modernising Bahrain’s airport – a USD 1.1bn project – is “on track”, according to the chief executive of Bahrain Airport Company. Once completed, the terminal’s capacity would have increased four times, with the ability to handle 14mn passengers annual
Kuwait announced plans to complete three major airport projects over the next three years, at a total investment of KWD 1.45bn (USD 4.79bn).
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund announced the creation of a SAR 4bn (USD 1.07bn) “fund of funds” to support the growth of SMEs. The investments are expected to create 2,600 jobs and contribute SAR 400mn to GDP by the end of 2020.
Saudi Arabia plans to supply electricity to Ethiopia through its grid in Egypt sometime in the next three years, revealed the former country’s minister of energy, industry and mineral resources. He also stated that Saudi Arabia plans to invest in electrical power projects worth SAR 250bn over the next 5 years, bringing on board a peak load of 80k megawatts by 2022.
The GCC Summit is most likely to be postponed this year, given the ongoing Qatar rift, according to the Arabic online newspaper The paper also stated that if the summit is to be held in Dec, it is likely to happen in Riyadh, and not Kuwait – as was earlier agreed upon.
The IIF’s latest regional economic outlook report commends UAE as the best-managed economy in the region. Noting that UAE was the first mover to reform energy subsidies, the IIF also highlights the country’s “large financial buffers (estimated at around USD 670bn), safe-haven status, perfect infrastructure, sound banks, and diversified and business-friendly economy” as key positives driving growth.
Online registration for VAT is now open in the UAE: businesses must register for VAT if their taxable supplies and imports exceed AED 375,000 per year. The Federal Tax Authority has urged businesses with an annual turnover of over AED 150mn and over AED 10mn to register before Oct 31 and Nov 30respectively.
The Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) was named “Global and Middle East Free Zone of the Year 2017” by the Financial Times fDi Magazine, for the third consecutive year. There are over 13,700 companies registered in the free zone, with an annual average growth rate of 33% in the last ten years.
Sales of off-plan properties at the Cityscape Global event this year totaled more than AED 870mn, according to the Dubai Land Department.
Spending by UAE residents is expected to rise by 1% YoY to AED 712.1bn this year, according to Euromonitor International. The biggest expenditure items are housing (AED 300.3bn), food and beverages (AED 103.1bn) and transport (AED 93.8bn).
Dubai Startup Hub, an initiative of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has launched its new Market Access programme which aims to enhance cooperation and facilitate deals between innovative startups, SMEs, leading companies, and government entities in Dubai.
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Global Markets Update: