The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship has announced the implementation of the UAE Cabinet’s decision to issue five-year residency visas for entrepreneurs. The move is part of the UAE's aim to enhance the ease of doing business in the country.
UAE’s gold reserves grew by 2.5% MoM to AED 1.14bn at end-March.
Bilateral non-oil trade between UAE and China exceeded USD 50bn in 2018, according to the ministry of economy.
Dubai is planning a 3-year rent cap within a new rental law, according to the Dubai Land Department. The draft law is being studied, and no final decision has yet been made.
A record 11.25mn passengers used Smart Gates at the terminals of the Dubai International Airport last year.
The IMF issued its MENA regional outlook: growth for oil exporters is projected to dip slightly in 2019 to 0.4% from 0.6% the previous year while in the GCC growth is to edge up to 2.1% from 2%. Oil prices, geopolitics and challenges of fiscal consolidation will weigh in on the region’s oil exporters, while elevated public debt levels is a key vulnerability for oil-importing nations.
Bahrain MPs have passed an amendment to ban expats from owning property in areas not designated for tourism or investment zones, following complaints that nationals were being priced out of the market. The amendment will be debated by the Shura Council next.
Electric car sales in Jordan dropped by 70% in April, after a 25% tax hike was imposed on it. Under the new tax amendments, the clearance tax for hybrid cars will reach 40% in 2020 and 45% in 2021.
Oman is planning to issue a new banking law this year– with an emphasis on value creation, support to SMEs and digital banking – along with some other by-laws (focused on banks operating electronic payment systems).
Saudi Arabia holds the third largest dollar reserves globally, according to the minister of finance.
Residential mortgage financing contracts for individuals in Saudi Arabia soared in Q1: the number of contracts surged by 221% to 31,462 while value grew by 133% to SAR 15bn.
Tourism in Saudi Arabia is expected to contribute USD 70.9bn to GDP this year, as per the World Travel and Tourism Council. More than 6.5mn Umrah visas have been issued since the season began in Oct 2018.
US State department approved an almost USD 6bn worth of weapons sales to Bahrain and the UAE. This follows a missile defense system sale to Saudi Arabia in April.
Global equities rallied towards end of the week, after a strong jobs report from the US and 49-year low jobless rate; European equities posted gains last week (supported by strong Q1 earnings), as did MSCI’s global stock index. In the region, markets were mixed: Qatar touched a 3-month high. The dollar dipped last week though the pound touched a 4-week high on hopes of a Brexit compromise between UK’s major parties following defeat in local elections. Oil prices fell last week despite threats to global oil supplies (Iran, Venezuela) but remained up around 35% from end-2018. Gold prices ended lower last week after the Fed held rates steady, urging patience.
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