Dubai Announces World’s Largest Fruit and Vegetable Market…

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced the development of the Logistics Hub for Foodstuff, Fruit and Vegetable Trade, the largest such facility in the world.

Dubai Announces World’s Largest Fruit and Vegetable Market…

UAE News:

UAE PMI, at 54.6 in June (May: 55.3), was the lowest in 16 months: however, strong demand has seen new orders rise to the highest since March and export orders were the most since October 2023. Input cost inflation was near a 2-year high leading to firms raising selling costs for the second straight month (rate of inflation was the fastest in 6+ years). Dubai PMI slipped to 54.3 in June (May: 54.7), the lowest since Feb 2023. S&P reported firms citing “high market competition” as limiting “their ability to take advantage of strong demand conditions”.  

UAE and Japan signed multiple agreements to boost partnerships: ADNOC will use an AED 11bn (USD 3bn) green financing facility from Japan Bank for International Cooperation for its decarbonisation and energy transition programmes (in a bid to achieve net zero by 2045 and zero methane emissions by 2030). Another agreement signed related to strategic reserves between ADNOC and the Japanese agency for Natural Resources and Energy.

ADNOC’s Ruwais LNG project assigned a total 10% stake each to four firms Shell, TotalEnergies, BP and Mitsui, reported Reuters. The project is expected to be the region’s first LNG export facility to run on clean power.

UAE’s Central Bank is launching a “Zero Bureaucracy” drive, in cooperation with the PM’s office, to eliminate at least 2,000 bureaucratic procedures in a bid to improve efficiency and foster innovation in the financial sector.

Abu Dhabi airport reported a 40% jump in passengers to 22.4mn in 2023, with travellers from India, Western Europe and Asia topping the list (at 3.2mn, 1.9mn and 1.7mn respectively).

Dubai will create the world’s largest fruit and vegetable market as it looks to further develop the emirate’s economy. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced the development of the Logistics Hub for Foodstuffs, Fruit and Vegetable Trade, the largest such facility in the world, serving the world’s largest market for foodstuff, fruits and vegetables.

MENA News:

The IMF will begin the third review under Egypt’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement on the 10th July.

The CEO of the Sovereign Fund of Egypt disclosed that Egypt will likely resume the government IPO program in early 2025. The government has raised up to USD 3.1bn so far from the IPO program since its inception in March 2023 and USD 2.5bn from divestments of government assets in 2022.

Tourism revenues in Egypt rose to USD 6.6bn in H1 2023 (H1 2022: USD 6.3bn) as tourist arrivals touched 7.069mn (H1 2022: 7.062mn) and nights spent jumped to 70.2mn (from 65.7mn a year ago).

Oman’s lower house approved plans to introduce a personal income tax and it has been forwarded to the State Council (upper house). Both the UAE and Saudi Arabia have stated that there are no plans to introduce an income tax as a means of broadening revenue base.

According to Global SWFMiddle East state-owned investors(SOIs) were part of 8 out of the 10 largest investments in H1 2024. Investments in H1 2024 were led by the “Oil Five”, i.e., Saudi’s PIF, Abu Dhabi’s ADIA, Mubadala and ADQ, and Qatar’s QIA. Combined, these entities invested USD 38.2bn in 58 different dealsSaudi PIF was ranked among the top 10 globally by GSR scores (rose to 96% from 28% in 2020).

Middle East airlines recorded a 9.7% YoY increase in passenger demand in May, thanks to the Asia-Middle East travel route regaining 2019 levels and setting “new records to-date for the whole 2024”. Furthermore, total cargo capacity of Middle East carriers grew by 2.7% in May, handling 13.5% of the overall cargo globally.

Commercial business registrations surged by 78% YoY to more than 12k in Q2 2024, according to the Saudi Ministry of Commerce. By sector, e-commerce registrations stood at 40,697 (+17.47%) while AI registrations climbed 53% to 8,948. Furthermore, 45% of registrations were issued to females.

Saudi Arabia’s Ithraa Alkhair Company for Pilgrims Services, a licensed provider of Hajj services for non-Arab African pilgrims, is planning an IPO. The company plans to float a 11% stake on the Nomu parallel market and is in discussions for a dual listing overseas.

Inward tourism spending in Saudi Arabia increased by 23% YoY to SAR 45bn (USD 12bn) in Q1 2024, according to the Tourism Ministry. The balance of payments for travel recorded a surplus of SAR 24bn, up 46% YoY.

Seven oil and gas deposits were discovered in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province and Empty Quarter, according to the Energy Minister: two unconventional oil fields and one reservoir in the former and 2 natural gas fields and two reservoirs in the latter.

About 16,500 Saudi citizens joined the labour force for the first time in June, according to Gastat data, taking the total to 2.34mn citizens in the private sector. Expats in the private sector rose to about 9mn including 8.7mn men. Total private sector employment grew by 1.24% MoM to 4mn by end-June.

Fourteen Saudi football clubs are up for sale including four from the Pro League, revealed the Sports Ministry, in a bid to attract FDI.

Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea giga-project Amaala plans to open its first phase in 2025 with seven resorts and a yacht club. The project is expected to be home to 29 hotels by 2030.

Global News:

Equities markets were mostly up last week, with the S&P 500, Nasdaq and the MSCI global stocks index posting all-time highs on continued high earnings growth. Regional markets gained on hopes for a Fed rate cut; Bahrain’s equity market was dragged down by the financial and real estate sector stocks. In the currency markets, the GBP gained after the election and euro gained ahead of the voting in France. Brent oil price was little changed amid negotiations for a ceasefire deal in Gaza gaining traction. Gold prices grew by 2.7% from the previous week.

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