UAE Golden Visa: Wealthy ‘Retirees’ Flock to Dubai after $272,000 Rule Change…

Dubai’s exceptional services and amenities, including addition of a range of world-class healthcare facilities, are also acting as catalysts for potential relocation for cash-rich retirees.

UAE News:

Wealthy ‘retirees’ flock to Dubai after UAE Golden Visa $272,000 rule change. Dubai’s exceptional services and amenities, including addition of a range of world-class healthcare facilities, are also acting as catalysts for potential relocation for cash-rich retirees.

Inflation eased in Dubai to 3.4% in February 2024 compared to January’s 3.6%. Food and beverages costs, with a weight of 11.6% in the overall index, slowed in February (3.08% from 3.69% in January). Prices increased for a few non-tradeable goods including housing & utilities (6.2% vs 4.7%), education (3.6% from 0.8%) and insurance (10.8% from 3%).

ADNOC signed a 15-year deal with Germany’s state-owned Securing Energy for Europe (SEFE) to supply 1mn metric tons of LNG annually, with deliveries expected to begin in 2028 (from the Ruwais LNG project).

The Dubai government approved public-private partnership projects worth AED 40bn (USD 10.89bn) to boost economic growth and infrastructure development. This will cover 10 fundamental economic sectors from 2024 to 2026, though no further details were provided.

Dubai International Chamber revealed that 50% of the MNCs it successfully attracted to Dubai last year are based in Asia and Australia while Latam & Europe and Middle East & Eurasia accounted for equal shares of 23.5% each. A breakdown by sector shows that financial services (18% of total), trade & logistics (15%) and IT (12%) were the main sectors of the MNC’s operation.

UAE reported a 14.41% YoY surge in tourist tax refunds in 2023, totalling 4.18mn transactions and a daily average of 11,460. No details were given on the total amount refunded.

Abu Dhabi announced an extension of its 10% tourism tax waiver programme for event organisers on tickets sold until 31 December, 2024. In a bid to support tourism, the emirate had earlier reduced tourism and municipality fees for hotels in the emirate.


MENA News:

The World Bank will provide a USD 6bn financing package to Egypt for the next three years; the first USD 1bn of this package is expected to arrive by the end of June. The funds are allocated equally (i.e. USD 3bn each) to support the government’s economic reform programme and to empower the private sector. Separately, the EBRD is planning to extend the IMF’s USD 8bn loan program by USD 1bn, to be used in green transformation projects.

The Egyptian government has requested USD 5bn from the IMF in April, as the first tranche of the financing programme. This is pending review of the IMF’s Executive Board.

Standard & Poor’s upgraded of Egypt’s outlook from stable to positive and affirmed Egypt’s debt rating at “B-/B”.

Iraq disclosed that it would reduce its crude exports to 3.3mn barrels a day (bpd) in the coming months to compensate for exceeding its OPEC+ quota since January. The nation exported an average 3.43mn bpd in February.

Iraq signed an agreement with Siemens Energy to convert flare gas into fuel for electricity: this covers about 120mn standard cubic feet of gas within a period of 6 months and an additional 120mn standard cubic feet within one year.

Total visitors into Lebanon posted a 13.7% YoY increase to 1.67mn last year, according to the Ministry of Tourism. European tourists accounted for 40.77% of the total while the share of Arab and US nationals stood at 25.87% and 20.39% respectively.

Venture capital investments in Qatar declined by 57% YoY to QAR 43mn (USD 11.8mn) in 2023, in line with the wider MENA region’s drop (of 23%), according to a report by the Qatar Development Bank. However, between the 5-year period 2019-23, the VC ecosystem reported a 17% CAGR in capital deployment and 10% growth in transaction volumes.

Turkey and the GCC signed a deal to initiate negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement. Turkey already has a CEPA with the UAE.

Point-of-sale operations in Saudi Arabia increased in the first week of Ramadan: people spent SAR 11.7bn (USD 3.11bn) from 168.6mn transactions. The value was highest in food and beverages (SAR 2.2bn), restaurants and cafes (SAR 1.22bn) while spending in clothing and shoes touched SAR 914mn.

Credit facilities provided to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Saudi Arabia grew by 20% YoY to SAR 275.66bn (USD 75.31bn) in 2023. Medium enterprises received 57% of the credit, amounting to SAR 158.41bn, while micro firms posted the highest growth rate (+36% yoy to SAR 24.93bn).

Saudi Aramco plans to increase its gas output by 60% by 2030, disclosed a senior official at an energy conference.

The New York Times reported that Saudi Arabia plans to create a fund of about USD 40bn to invest in artificial intelligence. Discussions are reportedly ongoing between the PIF and US venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and other financiers.

Foreign investors can now officially be classified as Saudis (when calculating Saudisation percentages) under the Nitaqat Saudization program, following an approval from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development. Other categories that will be treated as nationals include individuals from displaced tribes, citizens of Gulf countries, players or athletes from the region, children of local women married to non-Saudis and widows of non-Saudi residents among others.

Flynas airline is increasing seat capacity by 25%, given the acquisition of two Airbus planes, offering more than 1.2 mn seats for flights during Ramadan.


Global News:

Equity markets across the globe hit record-highs last week on Fed driven expectations of rate cuts by year-end: S&P 500 registered its biggest weekly percentage gain of 2024, as did the MSCI World index; Stoxx 600 and Japan’s Nikkei climbed to new all-time highs. Regional markets saw Abu Dhabi post a weekly gain after 4 consecutive weeks of losses while Egypt posted the biggest drop of 7.2%. Among currencies, the dollar strengthened while the CNY and JPY touched a four-month low (the former given expectations of monetary easing and the latter recovering afterwards); the Swiss Franc slid after the central bank’s surprise rate cut. Oil prices were influenced by ceasefire negotiations, alongside dollar strength and lower demand. Gold touched a record high on Thursday but closed the week slightly lower at USD 2,164 per ounce.

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