Dubai PMI edged down slightly to 56 in October (September: 56.2), with the output sub-index showing a slight decline. Posting its 23rd consecutive month of expansionary reading, sector-wise numbers show that wholesale & retail grew at the sharpest rate since July 2019, potentially a result of the level of discounting on offer (it was the quickest in more than 2 years, given easing cost pressures). Meanwhile, the rate of job creation rose to the highest since November 2019.
UAE launched its Tourism Strategy 2031 with an aim to raise the sector’s contribution to GDP to touch AED 450bn in 2031, attract AED 100bn as additional tourism investments and attract 40mn hotel guests.
DP World revealed its plans to invest around USD 500mn to reduce carbon dioxide in its operations by 700,000 tonnes over the next 5 years.
Thanks to travel demand recovery and easing of pandemic restrictions, Emirates airlines reported a record profit of AED 4bn in H1 of the 2022-23 financial year. Revenues surged by 131% to AED 50.1bn in H1 and the firm has increased employees by 10% (to 93,893).
Dubai real estate market continues to flourish in October: the residential sector reported a 72.5% YoY increase to 8,269 transactions, driven by a 133.5% surge in off-plan market sales. Year-to-date, total transactions stands at 71,412 – the highest total since 2009.
Real estate firm Nakheel disclosed having secured AED 17bn in financing (AED 11bn in refinancing and additional funds of AED 6bn via a syndicate from Emirates NBD, Mashreq bank and Dubai Islamic Bank) for new waterfront projects including another man-made island named Dubai Islands and revisit plans for the Palm Jebel Ali (inactive since 2009).
Hotel and casino operator Wynn Resorts will open a casino at its luxury resort being built in Ras Al Khaimah. It was disclosed during an earnings call that the casino would be completed in 2026.
Brazilian soccer league LIBRA chose Mubadala Capital as a new investor (over two US-based equity firms), with the latter owning 20% of the league’s commercial rights for USD 971mn.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai says hosting the World Cup in Qatar is a “historic milestone for Arabs” and expressed his support to the host nation.
Bahrain announced two natural gas discoveries in the Al-Joubah and Al-Jawf reservoirs: estimated reserves were not disclosed in the official statement.
In Bahrain’s general elections on Saturday, voter turnout was more than 70% according to the authorities. The number of women candidates stood at 94, double that of the 2018 elections.
Egypt signed partnerships to support the implementation of climate projects with investments worth USD 15bn, including one energy project worth USD 10bn. Other 8 projects cover food security, agriculture, irrigation, and water projects.
UAE and Egypt signed an agreement to develop one of the world’s largest onshore wind projects in Egypt: Egypt will save an estimated USD 5bn in annual natural gas costs with this project.
Egypt aims to attract 30mn tourists annually, stated the Tourism Minister in an interview with CNN.
New CEOs were appointed for Kuwait’s state oil companies: Kuwait Oil company, Kuwait National Petroleum Company and Kuwait Integrated Petroleum Industries Co among others.
Blurring the distinction between the executive and legislative powers, Lebanon’s caretaker PM stated that the country could still finalise an IMF deal in the absence of a president and fully empowered government: “if parliament approves it, it can go into effect”.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince committed USD 2.5bn to the Middle East Green Initiative launched last year. He also stated that the PIF would aim for net-zero emissions by 2050.
The number of fintech companies in Saudi Arabia grew by 79% to 147, according to Fintech Saudi (in 2018, this number stood at just 10). About 114 fintech firms have their headquarters in Riyadh. Funding grew by 11% YoY to SAR 1.508bn (USD 402mn) from Sep 2021-Aug 2022. Of fintech firms active in Saudi Arabia, 87% are based in the country, 6% in the UAE, and 2% in Kuwait, while UK, India, Jordan, US and Bahrain all account for 1% each.
Reuters reported that PIF was working with Lazard on a potential IPO of Masar, a USD 27bn mega project in the holy city of Mecca. While the IPO plan was scheduled for next year, it would be moved as the size or value is yet to be finalised.
Saudi PIF sold a 10% stake in the stock exchange operator Tadawul Group (12mn shares) raising SAR 2.3bn (USD 612mn) via a secondary share offering. PIF still owns a 60% stake.
Most equity markets gained last week, after US inflation eased (raising expectations for a lower Fed hike come Dec) and given China’s decision to scrap COVID flight bans and relax quarantine requirements for international inbound travellers. Asian shares rose to a 7-week high while signs of a potentially lengthy recession in UK pulled the FTSE down. Regional markets were mostly up except for Saudi Arabia which posted a 3rd weekly loss. Currency markets saw the dollar post its biggest 2-day drop in 2 years. Oil price declined in week-on-week terms on worries about Chinese demand and rising US oil inventories though it saw gains towards end of the week (on news from the US and China). The gold price rose to a near 3-month high. The FTX drama and related turmoil resulted in bitcoin dropping to a 2-year low.
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