Global Markets update:
At the start of last week, the US-China trade truce reached in Buenos Aires sparked optimism throughout global equities. By midweek investors realized that the optimism was hardly justified as Trump in a tweet described himself as Tariff Man. Then came the shocker, i.e. the arrest in Canada of Huawei CFO (and daughter of the founder) and the optimism collapsed together with the equities prices worldwide. The carnage spread from Wall Street (which suffered some of the deepest daily plunges of the year) to developed and emerging markets (but regional markets were among the least affected and held up well, except Egypt and Dubai). To exacerbate the sell off in risky asset came the fear that global economic growth might have peaked, as the non-farm payroll data in the US came below expectations and the US yield curve inverted for the first time in a decade. The GBP was once again victim of the Brexit uncertainty after May was defeated in Parliament, (the cost to hedge against sterling volatility in short-run skyrocketed). The Brent oil price was heavily influenced by the expectations and news on the OPEC-Russia deal. On Thursday, it dropped more than 4% to below USD 59/barrel as Saudi Arabia said they were working on a deal to cut output that could fall short of market expectations. The gold price after weeks of quiescence vaulted to USD 1,250 per ounce thanks to the classic safe haven effect.
Jordan’s real estate trading volume fell by 14% YoY to JOD 4.815bn by end-November 2018. Iraqis were the top non-Jordanian investors (JOD 105.3mn or 42% of non-Jordanian transactions), followed by Saudis (16%) and Syrians (7%).
Visitors to Jordan’s Petra increased by 49% YoY to 100,210 visitors in November, bringing the year-to-date total to 757,038 persons.
Qatar announced an exit from OPEC after being part of it for 57 years, with an aim to refocus on “expanding its natural gas exports”. Of the 15 OPEC members Qatar ranks eleventh and makes up less than 2% of the cartel’s production.
PMI in Saudi Arabia grew at the fastest rate in 11 months, rising to 55.2 in November (October: 53.8), supported by a jump in output (59.3 vs. 56.1) and growth in new orders (59.2 vs. 56.7) while employment growth eased to 50.7.
Saudi Arabia reported a record-high number of female investors in the Saudi stock market, amounting to 1.003mn at end of Q3 this year. The total number of investors in the stock market was 4.72mn by the end of Q3.
UAE PMI edged up to 55.8 in November from October’s 55 reading, thanks to an acceleration in output growth (60.1 from 58.6) while growth in new orders rose to 61 vs. 60.2.
S&P upgraded Ras Al Khaimah’s outlook to stable from negative, thanks to an improved fiscal position, and affirmed the ratings at “A/A-1”.
UAE’s ranking has improved to 19 in the latest edition of the Global Knowledge Index from 25 previously. Switzerland topped again this year, followed by Sweden, Finland, US and Luxembourg.
Dubai residential property prices dropped by 7.4% YoY in Q3 this year, from a 5.8% dip in the previous quarter, according to the UAE central bank.
Abu Dhabi has ordered the distribution of housing loans and residential lands worth more than AED 18.3bn (USD 4.98bn) to 12,475 beneficiaries in the emirate.
UAE’s Ras Al Khaimah launched its RAK SmartPay integrated e-payment system, designed to eliminate revenue collection leakage. RAK SmartPay is to increase the government revenues by 15-30%; in the first phase, 18 out of 48 government entities are covered.
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority announced it has waived new connection charges for connections of up to 150kW for commercial and industrial customers, for the next two years.
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Global Markets update: