The UAE became the 1st Arab country to reach Mars. The Emirates Mars mission, named the Hope probe, reached Mars' orbit at 7:42 p.m. Tuesday 9th February local time and sent a signal back to Earth. The success of the mission makes the UAE the 1st Arab country and the 5th globally to reach the red planet.
UAE’s PMI was unchanged at 51.2 in January, thanks to an “increase in client sales and a resumption of construction projects”. While employment moved above 50 for the first time in over a year, the headline index remained lower than the index average of 54.2.
Inflation in Abu Dhabi declined by 2.6% YoY in November, clocking in a negative reading for the 18th consecutive month. During January-November 2020, inflation fell by 2.4%, with prices of housing and utilities down by 3.1%.
According to the UAE National Economic Register, there were 3,899 branches of GCC- and foreign business operating in the UAE as of end-January: of this, most are based in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
The White House, under President Biden, disclosed that the US will maintain a tariff of 10% on aluminium imports from the UAE.
The UAE is ranked first in the region and fourth globally in the Global Entrepreneurship Index 2020 created by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor.
Hotel occupancy rates in Egypt is expected to rise between 43% to 62% this year, according to Colliers, thanks to high 80%+ hikes in occupancy rates in tourism hotspots.
Jordan plans to become the energy exchange hub for the region: its renewable energy projects have enabled it to reduce import dependence and generate surplus energy for the first time. The country is in the process of strengthening links with its neighbouring nations to export excess electricity.
Kuwait invited bids from contractors to build 11 separate oil pipelines at various locations at a cost of around KWD 205mn (USD 675mn).
With the faster spread of COVID-19 cases, Kuwait imposed a 2-week ban on the entry of non-Kuwaitis into the country from 7th of February; furthermore, all commercial facilities (excluding pharmacies, medical and food supplying outlets) will be closed between 8 pm to 5 am for one month from 7th February.
PMI in Lebanon fell to 41 in January (December: 43.2), as output continued to contract, and new orders fell sharply amid subdued demand conditions. Firms also were severely pessimistic concerning the 12-month outlook.
Lebanon’s National Coronavirus Committee is discussing the involvement of the private sector in importing COVID-19 vaccines including Russia’s Sputnik V and China’s Sinopharm vaccine as well as India’s under-development vaccine.
Oman’s new fee structure to hire expats for specified senior or top-level temporary posts is set at OMR 336 for 4 months, or OMR 502 or OMR 752 for 6 and 9 months respectively while a recruitment license (for salaries of OMR 4k+) is set to cost OMR 2001.
Qatar has re-imposed restrictions, given the new wave of COVID-19 cases, on businesses (to operate at 50% capacity), nurseries (operate at 30% capacity) and a limitation of maximum 15 persons for outdoor gatherings.
Saudi Arabia’s PMI inched up to 57.1 in January (December: 57) – the highest reading since November 2019 – thanks to a marked improvement in output as well a rise in new orders; foreign orders rose to the “greatest degree in almost 4 years”. However, employment fell for the 10th time in 11 months.
It was disclosed that 24 international firms had officially signed agreements to establish regional offices in Riyadh, including PepsiCo, Schlumberger, Deloitte and PWC among others. This is part of the Riyadh government’s aim to create 35k new jobs for its citizens and boost GDP by up to SAR 70bn (USD 18.67bn) by 2030.
Saudi Arabia imposed restrictions given an uptick in COVID-19 cases: suspension of recreational events (cinemas, indoor entertainments) as well as the closure of gyms and sports centres for 10 days.
The UAE and Bahrain are 2nd and 4th highest respectively in terms of share of people who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine – at 36.39% and 10.55% respectively (as of 4th and 5th February).
After the retail trading havoc subsided, major equity markets across the globe had a good week: Nasdaq and S&P 500 hit new highs, as expectations of stimulus deals supported market sentiment while the published Q4 earnings showed US firms performing better compared to their European counterparts. Regional markets were mostly down, with many markets introducing restrictions to dampen the rise in COVID-19 cases. Among currencies, the dollar hit a near-three-month high vis-à-vis the yen during the week, but a 2-month low against the euro. Oil advanced to hit the highest level in a year, inching closer to USD 60, after OPEC+ extended production cuts, falling inventories and expectations of vaccination drives leading to faster economic recovery; gold price fell.
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