The UAE abolished the 1972 Israel Boycott Law, allowing individuals and companies in the country to enter into agreements, also enabling trade, tourism and investment.
UAE inflation declined by 2.36% YoY in June, with the costs of recreation and culture down by 18.66% while the largest increase was seen in textiles, clothing and footwear (+10.7%).
Abu Dhabi returned to the bond market, with the longest-ever Gulf bond, offering 3% on the longest tranche maturing in 2070. It raised USD 5bn from a 3-part offering, having received more than USD 23bn in orders for the debt sale. The Emirate’s debt had increased to USD 39.2bn as of end-June, from USD 29.4bn last year, according to the prospectus.
S&P expects Dubai GDP to shrink by 11% YoY this year, before rebounding to 5% next year. It, therefore, lowered credit ratings of two entities – Emaar and DIFC Investments – to BB+ “junk” rating from an investment grade BBB- score citing lowered ability to provide “extraordinary financial support to its related entities”.
Abu Dhabi’s non-oil trade with the GCC nations (excluding Qatar) totaled AED 21.74bn in January-April 2020, and accounted for almost one-third of the total trade value during the period. Saudi Arabia topped the list with a total value of AED 15.95bn, or 73.4% of trade with the 4 GCC nations.
The value of exports and re-exports to China of Dubai Chamber’s members grew by 27% YoY to AED 283.2mn in May. During January-May, about 1100 certificates of origin were issued for china-bound shipments – double the number issued a year ago.
Dubai ranks third globally in greenfield FDI projects and fourth globally in FDI capital inflows during H1 this year, according to a Dubai FDI official. Medium and high technology investments in Dubai also increased by 53% during this period.
UAE left fuel prices unchanged again in September; prices have remained the same since April.
Ras Al Khaimah will lower trade licence renewal fees on certain commercial activities by up to 50%, while firms whose establishments were used for quarantine purposes will get a 25% reduction – these exemptions will be in place for a year.
Egypt approved in principle a VAT incentive scheme: this includes in-kind and in-cash rewards in addition to a periodic withdrawal system. No further details were provided.
Oil imports into Egypt plunged by 76.7% YoY to USD 191mn in April this year; non-oil imports also dropped by 35.2% to USD 6.179bn.
Bilateral trade between Egypt and China stood at USD 5.2bn in January-July this year. China had also invested a total of USD 7.2bn in 1736 projects as of end-2018 in Egypt.
All travelers into Egypt need to carry a negative PCR certificate for COVID-19, issued not more than 48 hours prior to arrival, starting from 1st September.
Only one-fourth of funding for the 2020 Jordan Response Plan (response to the Syrian refugee crisis) has been secured since the beginning of the year. Funding stood at USD 597mn in January-August 2020, with no allocations towards institutional capacity-building projects.
Kuwait will rebuild Lebanon’s 120k tonne large grain silo that was destroyed during the Beirut blast.
Kuwait will extend residency and visit visas that expire at end-August automatically for 3 months (till 30th November).
Mustapha Adib was appointed as designated PM of Lebanon on 31 August 2020.
Inflation in Lebanon surged to 112.4% YoY in July; in MoM terms, prices were up 11.42%. Last week, the Central Bank governor revealed that the BdL could not use the banks’ obligatory reserve to finance trade once it reaches its minimum threshold, while assuring that other means of finance was being created.
Fitch cut ratings of several Omani banks and companies: it downgraded by one notch HSBC Bank Oman, Ahli Bank, and Bank Muscat assigning a negative outlook to all. Bank Dhofar and National Bank of Oman ratings were affirmed, but assigned a negative outlook.
Saudi Arabia is set to launch the derivatives market from 30th August. Separately, Tadawul approved the listing of USD 133.33mn worth government debt instruments.
The value of assets held by Saudi public and private investment funds increased by 17.85% YoY to SAR 380.66bn in Q2 this year, supported by a 44% growth in the assets of public investment funds.
Oil exports from Saudi Arabia plummeted by 55% YoY in June – a drop of USD 8.7bn (in May, exports fell by nearly USD 12bn YoY). Total exports grew by 19.1% MoM.
Saudi Arabia’s crude oil exports to China fell 39% MoM and 23.3% YoY to 5.36mn tonnes – equivalent of 1.26mn barrels per day – in July. This dropped Saudi to the 3rd biggest supplier in China behind Russia (7.38mn tonnes) and Iraq (5.79mn tonnes).
Trucks from Bahrain are now allowed to transit through Saudi Arabia.
US stocks rallied, supported by tech stocks and the Dow close to an all-time high. European stocks recovered from earlier losses and ended the week up 1% and the MSCI (Morgan Stanley Capital International) global index gained, after setting intraday highs. In Japan, stocks fell on the announcement of the PM’s resignation and the yen strengthened (biggest one-day jump since March). In the region, markets remained upbeat, with Oman gaining the most. The dollar weakened, approaching lows previously seen in May 2018 while euro gained. Oil prices picked up on fears of damage from Hurricane Laura, but subsided after the storm passed through with minimal damage; gold price increased by 1.3%.
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