The UAE, which is currently implementing 7 hydrogen-related projects, aims to capture around a quarter of the global hydrogen market with hydrogen produced both by electrolysis and from natural gas according to the nation’s Energy Minister.
ADNOC announced, after the drone attacks on its oil facility last Monday, that its business continuity plans had been activated to ensure an uninterrupted supply of oil to all customers.
Masdar signed a deal to develop a green hydrogen production plant in the UAE with France’s Engie and Fertiglobe. The facility will have up to 200MW capacity and is expected to be operational by 2025.
The chairman of DP World revealed that it would take 1-2 years for economic recovery after the pandemic is over, given vulnerabilities in the global supply chain.
Spending in the UAE is now above pre-pandemic levels, according to the payments processor Network International. International and domestic spending volumes were up by 104% and 17% YoY in December; this was 12% and 17% respectively above pre-pandemic levels.
Property deals in Bahrain boomed in 2021: the value of real estate transactions surged by 46% to USD 2.8bn in 2021 while the number of transactions was up by 35% to 26,136.
A USD 1bn financing agreement was signed between Egypt and South Korea, with a duration of 5 years from 2022 to 2026. Bilateral trade between the two nations rose by 23.6% YoY to USD 1.9bn in January-October 2021.
The Suez Canal expansion will be completed in July 2023 (after two years of work), according to the chairman of the Suez Canal Authority. According to plans, the southern-most part of the canal will be widened 40 metres eastward and deepened to 72 feet (from 66 feet). Separately the chairman also disclosed that revenues from the Canal are expected to touch USD 7bn this year (from USD 6.3bn in 2021).
Egypt signed two oil exploration agreements worth USD 506mn with TransGlobe Energy Corporation and Pharos Energy; the agreements cover exploration in the Eastern and Western deserts, in addition to the financing of new investments for research and production of crude oil.
Jordan will sign a deal with Lebanon and Syria this week, to supply Lebanon with electricity.
Lebanon will start virtual talks with the IMF this week; the government hopes to reach an initial agreement for financial support between January-February though no clear recovery plan has been released yet.
Oman signed a strategic framework agreement with Britain’s BP aimed at collecting data about renewable energy in Oman, according to a tweet from Oman’s energy ministry.
Amid risk of a Russian invasion of Ukraine and given concerns about a drop in gas supplies, US is in talks with Qatar and other gas exporters to secure alternative seaborne LNG cargoes. Gas stocks are at a record low for this time of the year.
Mergers and acquisition deals that had any MENA involvement jumped by 57% YoY to USD 109bn in 2021, according to Refinitiv data. Saudi Arabia saw USD 27.3bn worth of M&A activity, accounting for half of the targeted M&A deals in the region. Investment banking fees in the region grew by 3% YoY to USD 1.4bn (the 2nd highest total ever).
Most equity markets closed in the red ahead of the Fed’s meeting this week: a few weak corporate earnings results (e.g. Netflix) sent stocks tumbling in the US while China benefitted from its central bank’s diverging monetary policy vis-à-vis the Fed. Among regional markets, Saudi was at a 15-year high (as of Thursday) while despite the drone attacks last Monday, the ADX and DFM closed on a positive note. Both the euro and the pound slipped vis-à-vis the dollar while safe-haven currencies are expected to gain as risks increase. Oil prices touched seven-year highs during the week, but fell afterwards; geopolitical risks supported the rise in gold price; Bitcoin fell to a 6-month low after investors moved out of more speculative assets.
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