Global Markets update:
Wall Street until mid week suffered a 5 day losing streak, then on Thursday it staged a rebound led by tech and energy shares. Equities also jumped after US President Donald Trump stated that China “wants to make a deal” on trade, but not enough for indices to record a weekly gain. European and Japanese equities had another bad week as the GDP data came out much below expectations and the new drama in the Brexit saga irked investors. In contrast, emerging markets performed well on the back of a positive mood in China. Regional markets were mixed as the oil price weakness remains in focus. In currency markets the GBP took a blow due to the political uncertainty over the Brexit treaty, while the euro managed a small rebound after two weeks of decline. Oil prices stabilized despite another unexpected large buildup in US crude stockpiles, while gold prices remained confined in a narrow range above USD 1200/ounce.
The IMF issued its Regional Economic Outlook for the MENA region: growth is projected to recover in the GCC to 2.4% this year and rise further to 3% in 2019 (after a contraction last year). While the report stated that the direct impact of the trade wars would be minimal, the region could be affected by lower growth in its key economic partners, a global economic slowdown, a sharp deterioration in emerging market sentiment and also due to a decline in FDI. (More: https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/REO/MECA/Issues/2018/10/02/mreo1018)
Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Economic City awarded new contracts worth over SAR 1.2bn in 2018 for the construction and development of the city, according to official reports. According to the acting CEO, national companies and establishments received 90% of the awarded contracts.
Saudi Aramco has approached banks to finance its USD 5bn Amiral petrochemical project: the project is scheduled to start up in 2024.
The Middle East and Africa hotel sector is booming, according to STR Global data: a total of 1,066 properties are in the pipeline as of October, accounting for 266,602 rooms in total. UAE topped the list for the largest number of rooms under construction – 54,371, or 33.5% of the existing supply.
FDI into the UAE will be around USD 11-11.5bn this year, according to the economy minister. Last year, FDI stood at USD 10.4bn.
Japanese investments in Abu Dhabi touched AED 6.1bn (USD1.66bn) at end-2017, while the number of trade licenses issued to these investors were 32. Non-oil trade between Japan and Abu Dhabi grew by 17.8% YoY to AED 9.803bn in January-October 2018, disclosed the chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development at a conference.
The UAE’s Accommodation and Food Services sector’s nominal GDP increased 8.8% YoY to AED 31bn in 2017, with its contribution to the overall GDP at 2.2% and accounting for 3.1% of non-oil GDP.
The house price growth in Dubai declined 5.6% YoY and 1.2% MoM in Oct 2018, according to property consultancy Cavendish Maxwell. The data shows that the average villa/townhouse price stood at AED 4.9mn, with the average apartment price being AED 1.9mn last month.
Real estate transactions in Sharjah touched AED 14.6bn in January-September this year, with investors from 43 nationalities involved in real estate deals. GCC nationals led with investments worth AED 12.6bn in 11,763 properties.
Tourists in the UAE will be able to reclaim VAT starting November 18: around 4507 stores have signed up to become part of the scheme, according to the Federal Tax Authority. The daily maximum VAT refund for tourists has been capped at AED 10,000 in cash, and any amount above that will be transferred electronically to the tourist. The refund will be the amount of VAT minus a 15% administration fee and AED 4.8 for each tag presented.
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Global Markets update: