UAE changes sponsorship rules: the new resolution allows expats to bring family members into the country so long as the total monthly family income is AED 3,000 (including housing) or AED 4,000 (excluding housing), moving away from the job title criteria.
Exports through Abu Dhabi ports increased by 14.8% yoy to AED 27.6bn (USD 7.5bn) in Q1 while the value of imports declined by 7.7% to AED 24.2bn. Saudi Arabia was the top export destination (AED 295.4mn) while Italy was the top import source (AED 19.2mn).
The Abu Dhabi Global Markets issued new Fintech regulations: a regulatory framework for digital investment managers, or robo-advisers, was published last week with requirements including human oversight over the design, performance and security of the algorithm model as well as at least USD 250,000 base capital needed to manage assets. The ADGM also published a guide on the establishment of digital banks earlier this month.
Over 2055 SMEs received support from the government agency Dubai SME in H1 this year – an increase of 83% compared to last year; the value of incentives and exemptions provided expanded by 86% yoy to over USD 10mn this year.
A UAE citizen should be paid a minimum wage of AED 5,000 (USD 1,361) in private-sector jobs, reported Emarat Al Youm, citing the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
Real estate prices dip: average house price in Dubai has fallen to AED 2.46mn (USD 670,000) in June (falling by USD 10,000 on average since April) according to Property Monitor research. In Abu Dhabi, residential property prices are 13% yoy lower according to ValuStrat which also revealed that residential rents were also lower by 2% qoq and 7.9% yoy in Q2 this year.
The UAE is gearing up to issue a new space law, which will promote investment in the space sector, including space tourism and exploration, according to the Director-General of the UAE Space Agency. He disclosed that about 1,500 persons work in the sector with over half of them young Emiratis.
The region’s largest airport solar energy system: 15,000 photovoltaic panels have been installed at Dubai International’s Terminal 2 which will generate 7,483,500 kWh energy annually for Dubai Airports resulting in savings of AED 3.3mn.
E-commerce platform Noon.com plans to deliver goods through driverless mini-buses through a collaboration with a Chinese company specialising in autonomous technology.
Over 7,400 commercial registrations (CRs) were issued in Bahrain in H1 this year; this brings the total CRs to 82,878 of which 46,311 (or 55.9%) are Bahrainis.
The Jordanian government is working with Parliament on an amendment which will give start-ups a five-year exemption from social security registration.
Over 65,000 expatriates have left Oman between May 2018 and May 2019: the number of expats declined to 2.02mn by end-May 2019 and the expat workforce declined to 1.79mn.
Businesses in Saudi Arabia will be given the option to remain open 24 hours a day (for a fee). The decision of whether or not to open all hours will be at the discretion of the individual business owners.
Saudi Arabia approved a new Government Tendering and Procurement law which “seeks to allocate and manage financial resources effectively, provides more transparency in all tenders and procurement procedures”. SMEs will be exempt from providing initial guarantees and will also be given priority over larger competitors.
Equity markets in the US finished last week in the red after stronger data releases, geopolitical tensions (related to Iran) and a Fed warning about reading too much into dovish comments from a policymaker; markets are still pricing in a 25-50bps cut. Political turmoil in Italy weighed on European shares, while in Asia the MSCI ex-Japan index climbed a modest 1% last week. Among regional markets, the UAE outperformed its peers, boosted by strong earnings reports from banks. The euro weakened on expectations of a rate cut (60% chance of a 10bps cut), and the sterling sank to its lowest in 27 months on elections/ Brexit. Oil prices fell last week, with the US crude recording the largest drop in almost two months and gold price was up for the week though it slipped from a fresh 6-year high on profit-taking.
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