Global Markets Update:
Global stock markets advanced again with the Dow Jones Industrial setting a record high for 10 consecutive days, the longest sequence since President Reagan took office. The S&P 500 closed up 0.72% at a record 2,367.34. Incidentally, the index is up 6% year to date and 10% since the US Elections. All other markets displayed positive performances with the exception of Europe, where political dark clouds over the horizon are dissuading investors from taking risks. An example is with the French Election, which takes place on 23rd April. Marine Le Pen has promised that France will leave the Euro in the event of her becoming President. The drive to safe haven environments pushed Gold up to $1,257.19/Oz. This attitude is most perceptible in bond markets where French yields scored a 1-month low and spreads between German bunds and peripheral countries remain high. In currency markets, the dollar lost ground against most crosses.
According to Iraq’s PM, the country needs oil prices to reach USD $60 per barrel to plug its public deficit gap.
Iraq’s oil minister disclosed that as a result of appraisals and exploration in 7 oil fields, oil reserves have increased to 153bn barrels, from a previous estimate of 143bn barrels.
Dubai’s inflation was up 0.8% MoM and 3.7% YoY in Jan, thanks to a 6.4% YoY hike in transport costs; housing and utility prices were up by 2.5% while food costs rose 0.9%.
UAE’s telecom operator du announced that it will pay 15% of its annual revenues and 30% of its profit to the Federal Government as a new royalty payment from 2017 until 2021. Etisalat will also pay the same royalty fees, though revenues from its international operations will be exempted from royalty fees.
Dubai real estate made a strong start this year: according to the Dubai Land Department, transactions worth AED30bn were registered in the month of January.
Average room rates at UAE hotels fell 8% YoY to AED 712 in Jan, thanks to strong supply growth; revenues per available room declined by 7.5% to AED 577.
If women’s participation in the workforce increased in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region alone, it would add $180 billion, or seven percent, to the economy in 2025, forming the backbone of a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem across the wider MENA region, according to The power of gender parity by McKinsey & Co.
Facebook is launching #SheMeansBusiness to train women entrepreneurs on how to leverage their online presence for their businesses; a global programme that Facebook is launching in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to train and inspire women entrepreneurs on using Facebook and Instagram as platforms for their businesses. It aims to celebrate the achievements and contributions of female-owned businesses in the region and highlight how Instagram and Facebook empower women to connect, share and grow.
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