Global Markets update:
The return to Wall Street’s trading floors after the Thanksgiving long weekend was quite auspicious. On Monday investors shrugged off another round of aggressive Trump’s rhetoric against China. Then, on Wednesday, Federal Chairman Powell allayed fears of aggressive future interest-rate hike, fuelling a rally which eclipsed most losses in November, thanks to the biggest one-day percentage gain in the Dow Jones since last March. Investors’ optimism intensified on the eve of the G20 meeting on expectations of a truce over the trade disputes between the US and China. At Friday’s close US stocks displayed their best weekly performance in almost 7 years. Wall Street pulled up most bourses, particularly in Japan and emerging markets, while in Europe the Brexit saga and weak macro data prevented a strong rally. Regional equity markets were mostly on the front foot with the exception of the UAE as oil prices stabilized. In currency markets the dollar suffered a mid-week slide, but then by Friday pared most of the losses and ended the week with a gain on major crosses. Despite US crude inventories increasing by 3.6mn barrels (adding to 4.8mn the previous week) against market expectations of a 0.769mn rise, oil prices were slightly higher. Nevertheless, after the 10th consecutive week of larger than expected reserves rise, November saw the largest monthly oil price plunge since 2015. Gold prices, as it has been the case for several weeks now, were little changed.
Qatar said it will leave OPEC next month. A member since 1961, Qatar is leaving to focus on its liquefied natural gas production.
Bahrain and Saudi Arabia further developed their energy cooperation with the opening of the new 350k barrels per day (bpd) pipeline which replaces the existing 230k bpd link.
Oman’s budget deficit narrowed by 36.1% to OMR 1.9bn in the period January-September compared to OMR 3bn over the same period in 2017 thanks to higher oil revenues.
In preparation for the World cup 2022, Qatar imported QAR 37.82bn (USD 10.48bn) transportation equipment during January- September 2018 (+20.25% YoY). Imports of transportation and machineries represented 43.7% of the country’s total imports during this period.
Saudi Aramco needs USD 150bn worth of gas investments over the next decade, for its aim of boosting gas production to 23bn standard cubic feet (scf) a day from 14bn scf currently, according to its CEO.
The cost of construction in Saudi Arabia is forecast to increase at a marginally lower rate in the next 12 months, according to Colliers International. The firm expects average construction cost inflation to be 1.8% for the 12 months from November 2018, versus 1.9% registered during Q3 2017-Q3 2018.
UAE has launched six initiatives to promote trade and shape the future of the economy, according to the minister of economy. This focuses on regulating e-commerce, promoting the economy, supporting and regulating public-private partnerships, as well as achieving growth in non-oil commodity exports.
The Abu Dhabi Executive Council approved a resolution to exempt all new economic licenses issued in the Emirate from all local fees for two years. This covers all commercial activities in Abu Dhabi and the Emirate’s free zones.
Abu Dhabi set up a new water and electricity company: the Emirates Water and Electricity Company as a public shareholding company will replace the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Company.
UAE fuel prices have been reduced for December: petrol prices are down by 12.5-13.9% MoM while diesel price declined by 9% MoM to AED 2.61.
Indians remitted AED 34.83bn from the UAE during H1 this year, accounting for around 39.6% of total remittances from the country. They were followed by Pakistanis (AED 7.48bn, 8.5%) and Filipinos (AED 6.25bn,7.1%) and Egyptians (AED 4.75bn, 5.4%).
The UAE will initiate a new system next year to digitally track all cigarette products to guarantee compliance with excise tax requirements.
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Global Markets update: