US Restores Economic Sanctions on Iran…

The Trump administration moved to restore some US sanctions on Iran and reaffirmed plans to impose tougher penalties on the country’s oil sales in November.

US Restores Economic Sanctions on Iran…

Global Markets update:
The Trump administration moved to restore some US sanctions on Iran and reaffirmed plans to impose tougher penalties on the country’s oil sales in November. An executive order was signed by Trump on Monday restricting purchases of dollar banknotes by Iran. This prevents the government from trading gold and other precious metals and blocking the nation from selling or acquiring various industrial metals. US equity markets at the beginning of the week felt the contagion of the tech stocks correction, but after a lackluster midweek waiting for the Fed decision, Friday saw a rebound despite a disappointing payroll figure, leading to the fifth straight positive week (the longest streak since last Christmas). Regional markets were mixed with Qatar and Egypt scoring the best performances. In currency markets the yuan, despite a blip down in midweek, regained some ground on the USD, while on major crosses the dollar advanced in the wake of the Fed meeting. Oil prices steadied at a two-week low after a surprise build up in US crude inventories renewed supply concerns. Gold prices ended the week with another loss as its safe haven properties are deemed ineffective against the repercussions of a trade war.

MENA News:
Fitch affirms B- rating with a Stable Outlook to Iraq
, thanks to the nation’s GDP per capita, robust FX reserves, a low level of debt service obligations and international financial support.
Jordan reported a 35% MoM increase in investors’ interest in obtaining nationality or permanent residency, with a total of 105 investors having applied to the Jordan Investment Commission. Already, six investors have obtained nationality certificates with another 15 waiting for the process to be finalised after qualifying for citizenship.
Kuwait has granted women their full political and constitutional rights, making way for them to vote and also run for elections.
The Qatar Financial Centre reported a 69% increase in new firms registered at the centre in H1, bringing the total number of firms to 532.
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Finance has signed financing agreements for 17 health, education and hospitality projects with loans amounting to SAR 755.8mn (USD 201.4mn). Part of the local lending program offered by the government, these projects – with a total investment of SAR1.54bn (USD 410.6mn) – aim to encourage participation from the private sector.
Saudi Arabia’s technology start-ups incubated by the Badir programme successfully raised around SAR 11.66mn (USD 3.11mn) in Q2 2018, up 7.66% QoQ. The number of Badir incubated technical start-ups grew by 18% YoY to 228 as of end-June.
UAE accounts for 32% of startup deals and 59% of investments in the region, according to Magnitt’s H1 2018 Venture Investment report. Egypt and Saudi Arabia saw an increase of 12% and 9% in startup funding during this period. E-commerce still remains the most active industry with regards to investment in H1, accounting for 12% of all transactions and 16% of disclosed funding.

UAE News:
The Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA) reduced business setup costs by up to 65%, to increase its competitiveness and attract FDI. It reduced registration, license, and staff visa fees for new investors by 65%, 33%, and 20% while also reducing establishment card issuance fees by 17%.
Dubai attracted 8.1mn international overnight tourists in H1 this year, edging up by 0.5% YoY, and compares to the 10.6% pickup recorded in the same period a year ago. India remained Dubai’s top overseas market, with visitors up 3% to over 1mn in H1, while Chinese and Russian visitors were up 9% (to 453k) and 74% (to 405k) respectively.

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