Global Markets update:
Another difficult week (albeit shortened in the US due to Thanksgiving) for global equities. It started with the news of Nissan-Renault President Ghosn’s detention in Japan and continued with another prick in the tech sector bubble, and finally came the debacle in energy stocks. Hence, the S&P500 closed the week in correction territory. European bourses continued their downward trend on the back of the diatribes on the Brexit, a marked slowdown in the Eurozone economy and the EU rejection of the Italian 2019 budget. Only Japanese shares ended the week on a slightly positive note erasing almost all losses. In emerging markets, the losses were less severe than in the US and GCC markets (except the UAE) displayed decent performances. In currency markets the euro took a blow after the release of weak PMI data, while the GBP was on a rollercoaster caused by the political vagaries over the Brexit treaty. Oil prices fell below USD 60/b, the lowest in more than a year, as traders questioned whether Saudi Arabia will be able to resist the US pressure against production cuts. Furthermore, the downbeat mood was exacerbated by the slowdown in global economic growth and another unexpected large increase in US crude inventories by 4.9 mn barrels. Gold prices traded within in a narrow range to close little changed on the week.
According to Egypt’s oil minister, the first auction for oil and gas drilling in the Red Sea will be launched before end of this year.
Iraq plans to launch a reconstruction agency to focus on core projects like a deep-water port and a rail network, revealed the country’s president.
Jordan’s Parliament passed the amended income tax law: the income thresholds and VAT exemptions were raised; those with annual income above JOD 1mn would be subject to a 35% income tax. The amended bill – expected to raise JOD 100mn instead of the JOD 290mn from the previous version – will still need to go to the upper house for approval before it is enacted as law. The PM had previously warned that rejecting the bill would push upwards the cost of servicing foreign debt – over JOD 1bn (USD 1.4bn) due in 2019.
Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Zakat and Tax called for small businesses with annual revenue between SAR 375k -1mn to register for VAT by December 20, 2018.
Smart city spending in the Middle East & Africa region is expected to double to USD 2.7bn in the next 4 years, according to KPMG. Riyadh and Dubai are the top spenders when it comes to the development of smart cities in the region.
Investments in Fintech startups in MENA are expected to increase to AED 7.3bn in the next decade from AED 550mn in the last 10 years, according to a study by Mena Research Partners.
Saudi Arabia and UAE announced a joint USD 500mn aid initiative to alleviate Yemen’s food crisis.
UAE Cabinet approved long-term visas for investors, entrepreneurs, specialized talents and researchers, also revealing more details about eligibility. (More: https://gulfnews.com/uae/government/uae-cabinet-approves-long-term-visa-system-1.1543068939744)
New freelance work permits was launched by Dubai Internet City: this permit, priced at AED 7500, will allow freelancers in the technology sectors to work with multiple companies and projects. It is estimated that there are around 100k licenced freelancers paid on a short-term contract basis.
Building licenses in Abu Dhabi increased by 23.5% YoY to 1436 in Q2 this year; residential building licenses accounted for 77.1% of the total permits issued during the quarter.
Dubai’s Department of Economic Development added 44 new business activities across a number of sectors in the first 10 months of 2018.
UAE’s Al Etihad Credit Bureau is planning to launch indicators specially for SMEs, to support their access to finance.
About Business Exchange Bureau:
Business Exchange Bureau (BXB) is a Professional Marketplace for Business Owners to Buy and Sell Businesses, Investments or Business Assets in the UAE.
The BXB vision is clear - to connect great business minds to great investments.
Nasser Saidi & Associates
Global Markets update: