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Latest from the Middle East

Middle East breathes in smoking hot tobacco sales

The Middle East tobacco industry has seen strong growth in recent months, helped by duty free sales as the travel sector reopens following the pandemic. British tobacco firm Imperial Brands, which manages brands such as Davidoff, JPS and West cigarettes, reported this week that while its global revenue was down 1.3 percent to £15.362 billion […]

Abu Dhabi, Bahrain stock markets in talks for ‘strategic partnership’

Officials from Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) and Bahrain Bourse (BHB) this week held meetings to discuss developing a strategic partnership to enhance greater cross-border cooperation between the two stock market exchanges. The discussions build on a cooperation agreement signed in November 2021, which aims to achieve synergies, enhance market liquidity and promote innovative products […]

Iran has up to 20 oil tankers anchored near Singapore

Cheap Russian oil gives Iran a China crisis

Iran’s crude exports to China have fallen sharply since the start of the Ukraine war as Beijing favoured heavily discounted Russian barrels, leaving almost 40 million barrels of Iranian oil stored on tankers at sea in Asia and seeking buyers. US and European sanctions imposed over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 have pushed […]

fields agriculture

Middle East to benefit from World Bank’s $30bn food security fund

The World Bank said on Wednesday it will make $30 billion available to help stem a food security crisis threatened by Russia’s war in Ukraine, which has cut off most grain exports from the two countries. The total will include $12 billion in new projects and over $18 billion funds from existing food and nutrition-related […]

Tie, Accessories, Accessory

Qatar to invest $5bn in Spanish projects, Emir says

Qatar’s $300 billion sovereign wealth fund plans to invest $5 billion in Spanish projects, the Gulf state’s ruler said late on Tuesday at a dinner held in his honour in Madrid. Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Tuesday that Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani told an audience at a dinner held in King […]

New-builds rebound as Dubai eyes 1m homes by 2030

Residential real estate project launches in Dubai increased significantly in early 2022, underpinned by renewed positive market sentiment following years of slowdown. After the impact of Covid-19 and dampened market conditions, recent quarters have seen a sharp up-tick in new project launches with Q1 2022 volumes surpassing pre-pandemic levels, according to new data. Prathyusha Gurrapu, […]

Sitting, Person, Human

Iran nuclear deal remains in the balance

There is little doubt a solution would bring rapid economic gains for Tehran while some other Gulf countries would also benefit from an easing of trade restrictions, but political calculations could yet scupper a deal The diplomatic traffic through Tehran has continued at a steady pace in recent weeks, as intermediaries doggedly try to revive […]

Foreign ship in Gulf waters detained for ‘smuggling fuel’

Iranian authorities seized a foreign ship attempting to smuggle fuel out of the country and detained its crew, state news agency IRNA said today. Iran, which has some of the world’s cheapest fuel prices due to heavy subsidies and the plunge in value of its national currency, has been fighting rampant fuel smuggling by land […]

Saudi Arabia in focus

Qiddiya is an entertainment megaproject to be established in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia: A kingdom in transformation

Four giga-projects symbolise Saudi’s transformation and economic diversification from oil to technology and tourism – but global problems could delay progress In December last year the neighbourhood of Al-Balad in Jeddah played host to the first edition of the Red Sea International Film Festival. Held only three years after Saudi Arabia allowed cinemas to reopen […]

The cliff-edge stadium

Qiddiya: A sports and arts revolution

Marketed as the kingdom’s capital of entertainment, sports and the arts, Qiddiya is beginning to take shape 45 minutes’ drive south-west of Riyadh. First announced in 2017 as part of Vision 2030, Qiddiya has a dual economic and social purpose – to contribute to the advancement of Saudi Arabia’s economic diversification and to open up […]

Inside NEOM: Saudi’s $500bn smart megacity

Arguably the most ambitious project taking shape in the kingdom is NEOM, a vast region in the northwest of the country that is slowly being transformed into a vision of the future. At the heart of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s drive to diversify the country’s economy, it is being built at an estimated cost […]

The Red Sea Project will will host 50 resorts providing up to 8,000 hotel rooms and beach villas

The Red Sea Project: Showcasing natural abundance

One of the most ambitious and environmentally responsible tourism developments in the world is beginning to take shape on the north-west coast of Saudi Arabia. Spread across 28,000 square kilometres and including an archipelago of more than 90 islands, The Red Sea Project will be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy and is committed to […]

The project's scope has expanded from its inception, adding a further $30 billion to the originally estimated $20 billion cost

Diriyah Gate: The kingdom’s cultural heart

Roughly 20 minutes’ drive north-west of Riyadh’s city centre lies the historic town of Diriyah. The original home of the House of Saud and the capital of the First Saudi State, it is here that the country’s new cultural capital is beginning to take shape. Overseeing its transformation is the Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA), […]

Saudi Arabia latest

City, Town, Urban

‘We’re serious about net zero’ says Saudi’s PIF chief

PIF establishing new hydrogen company Fund plans to develop 70 percent of renewable energy targets Kingdom to phase out almost all liquids Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) is committed to achieving its goal of developing 70 percent of the kingdom’s renewable energy by the end of the decade, PIF’s governor confirmed today. Despite it […]

Saudi teams with Indian travel portal to boost tourism

The Saudi Tourism Authority has signed an agreement with EaseMyTrip, India’s second-largest online travel platform for air ticket bookings, as part of its goal to exceed 70 million visitors to the kingdom by the end of 2022. As part of the deal, EaseMyTrip will raise awareness about Saudi Arabia as a tourist destination in India […]

Face, Person, Human

Biden in talks to meet Saudi Crown Prince for first time

US President Joe Biden and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman could meet for the first time as soon as next month, CNN reported on Thursday, citing multiple sources. Biden administration officials are in talks with the Saudis about arranging a potential in-person meeting while Biden is overseas next month, the report added. The […]

Almost all stock prices were down

Price corrections in Gulf markets, with Saudi Tadawul down 2.3%

Most stock markets in the Gulf ended lower on Thursday, tracking global shares as investors shunned riskier assets on worries about global inflation, China’s zero-Covid policy and the Ukraine war. The S&P 500 had lost 4 percent on Wednesday while the Nasdaq had fallen almost 5 percent as stark warnings from some of the world’s […]

Lucid’s electric vehicle hub to create 4,500 jobs in Saudi

US-based Lucid Group on Wednesday revealed more details about its plans to build an electric vehicle (EV) production hub in Saudi Arabia, with 4,500 jobs to be created.  With an annual capacity to build 155,000 EVs, agreements in place are estimated to provide financing and incentives to Lucid of up to $3.4 billion over the […]

UAE Latest

  • Analysis

Stars and strife: rebuilding UAE-US relations

The passing of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa has prompted an outpouring of condolences and support from around the globe, with heads of state being hurriedly dispatched to Abu Dhabi.  Particularly notable among these was the high-profile delegation sent by the US; headed by Vice-President Kamala Harris, it included nearly all of the administration’s top national […]

Alpha Dhabi puts $2.51bn into ‘disruptive tech’

Alpha Dhabi Holding, the fourth most valuable listed company in Abu Dhabi, has made a AED9.2 billion ($2.51 billion) commitment to invest in UAE asset management company Chimera Capital and Chimera’s Alpha Wave Ventures II fund. The move is part of its strategy to target fast-growing technology companies. The total commitment comprises a capital contribution […]

BR Shetty, founder of NMC Healthcare, denies wrongdoing and sues colleagues as the collapse of his company

NMC scandal is watershed moment for UAE businesses

Revelations about the scale of hidden debts spark debate in the UAE about the need for more rigorous bank loan checks and company auditing The ongoing legal battles surrounding the NMC Healthcare, the largest private healthcare provider in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has been a big learning curve for how businesses manage their financial […]

Abu Dhabi’s $2bn green energy splash will deepen India ties

Abu Dhabi-based International Holding Company PJSC’s (IHC) AED 7.3 billion ($2 billion) investment in Indian multinational conglomerate Adani Group takes the UAE-India partnership to “a different level” with more deals on the horizon, market observers said.  IHC provided capital to Adani Green Energy, Adani Transmission, and Adani Enterprises, which are all listed on the Bombay […]

Around the world

US private equity group buys UK power plant giant for £1.75bn

ContourGlobal, the UK power plant owner, has agreed to be taken over by KKR, the New York-based private equity giant, for £1.75 billion after an underwhelming four-and-a-half-year stint on the public markets. The FTSE 250 company said its board intended to recommend the “fair and reasonable” all-cash acquisition at 263.6p a share, a 36 percent […]

Person, Human, Hat

Mexico suspends duties on food staples to tackle inflation

Mexico will waive import duties for one year on a range of household staples, most of them foodstuffs, in a bid to curb inflation, the government said in its official gazette today. The products on the government list included corn oil, rice, tuna, pork, chicken, beef, onions, jalapeño peppers, beans, corn flour, wheat flour, eggs, […]

The Moskvich, an icon of Russian car manufacturing, will be making a comeback after 20 years

Renault sells Russian carmaker Avtovaz for one rouble

Renault is to sell its majority stake in carmaker Avtovaz to a Russian science institute for just one rouble with a six-year option to buy it back, leaving the door open for the French carmaker’s return. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said to preserve thousands of jobs Renault’s plant in the city would be used to […]

Optibus develop software to prepare transit systems for smart cities

Mobility tech firm Optibus valued at $1.3bn after raising $100m

US-Israeli mobility technology company Optibus has raised $100 million in a private funding round that values the company at $1.3 billion. The funding came from new and existing investors including Insight Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, Verizon Ventures, Pitango First & Pitango Growth, Tencent, SOMV Momentum, and others, said Optibus, which has raised $260 million to […]

Person, Human, Face

Timeline: Elon Musk hits pause on Twitter deal

Elon Musk on Friday put his $44-billion Twitter offer on temporary hold, sending the shares of the social media company into a tailspin. And on Saturday, Musk tweeted that the Twitter legal team told him he violated a nondisclosure agreement by revealing that the sample size for the social media platform’s checks on automated users […]

Logo, Trademark, Symbol

Musk incurs regulators’ wrath with late Twitter stake disclosure

US regulators are investigating Elon Musk’s delayed disclosure of his stake in Twitter Inc last month, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, citing people familiar with the matter. Musk disclosed a 9.2 percent stake in Twitter to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on April 4, a delay of at least 10 days since […]

Japan’s Nikkei hits two-month low after Wall Street slides

Japan’s Nikkei fell to its lowest in almost two months today as technology heavyweights tracked a sharp decline on Wall Street overnight. The Nikkei share average fell 1.77 percent to 25,748.72, the lowest since March 15. The broader Topix fell 1.19 percent to 1,829.18. “It was hard to bet on Japanese stocks after the Nasdaq’s […]

Reichstag building, Germany during daytime

Germany boosts Gulf travel budget with Russia savings

The German National Tourist Board (GNTB) increased its marketing budget this year in the Gulf by 10 percent, after making savings by shutting down several of its international offices, including Russia. “We actually got a 10 percent budget increase because, as you can see, we unfortunately had to close our Russian office,” Yamina Sofo, director […]

Turkey

Tie, Accessories, Accessory

Turkey’s planned inflation-linked bonds could sap deposits

Some banks are concerned that Turkey’s deposit base could decline as investors, eager to protect savings from price rises, snap up the government’s expected inflation-protected bond issuance, officials and bankers say. Given that inflation has soared to 70 percent, the bonds could pull considerable savings from lira and hard currency deposits and even sap the […]

Qatar, Turkey won’t replace cancelled Russian Grand Prix

Formula One’s 2022 season will be reduced to 22 races after the sport said on Wednesday it would not be replacing the cancelled Russian Grand Prix on Sept. 25 despite interest from other countries. Formula One had scheduled a record 23 rounds this year but the race in Sochi was called off in February and […]

Magdalena Andersson, prime minister of Sweden, said her government did not want permanent NATO military bases on its territory

Sweden seeks to overcome Turkish objections to NATO bid

Sweden is formally applying for NATO membership, prime minister Magdalena Andersson said on Monday. “The government has decided to inform NATO that Sweden wants to be accepted as a member of NATO,” Andersson told reporters, adding that the application could be handed in on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. It will be synchronised with Finland’s request […]

Gulf’s top airlines take different paths to soar post-Covid

The air travel industry was among the worst hit globally by the coronavirus pandemic and its ensuing lockdowns and border closures — and the Middle East’s industry was no exception.  According to a report by McKinsey & Company, the pandemic caused global aviation revenues to drop by 60 percent in 2020, and airlines lost a […]

Egypt

Flare, Light, Plant

Egypt can still buy Indian wheat despite export ban

Any agreements by Egypt’s government to purchase Indian wheat will not be affected by an export ban announced by New Delhi, Egypt’s supply minister said yesterday. “For India, we are talking with them on the basis of a government agreement. The ban exempts governments including the government of Egypt,” minister Ali Moselhy said. Egypt, the world’s largest wheat […]

Egypt’s net foreign assets retreat further into the red

Egypt’s net foreign assets (NFAs) dropped by 169.7 billion Egyptian pounds ($9.17 billion) in March, the sharpest decline since the coronavirus crisis broke out in February 2020, central bank data showed on Sunday. NFAs fell to a negative 221.3 billion pounds at the end of March from a negative 51.69 billion pounds a month earlier. […]

Features

Elie Habib's Anghami generates close to one billion streams a month with a catalogue of more than 72 million Arabic and international tracks

Make some noise for Anghami’s Elie Habib

The Lebanese music streaming mogul talks to AGBI about the meteoric rise of his Nasdaq-listed company, its battles with music pirates, relocation to Abu Dhabi and his ambition to launch Arab music stars Elie Habib fell in love with coding early. He started selling software at the age of 17 and launched several companies in […]

Person, Human, Female

How I got to the top: Mona Jaber, founder of Maison Tini and Jayleen Finds

What does your company do? Jayleen Finds is the first company dedicated to sustainable kids furniture in the UAE. I also recently launched Maison Tini, which is an experiential kids concept store in Al Quoz, Dubai, housing 50 local small businesses, offering furniture, décor, clothing, shoes, books, toys, artwork and more.  At Maison Tini, kids […]

A worker displays grains of wheat at a mill in Lebanon, where the cost of a loaf of bread rose 70 percent in March

Ukraine war drives Gulf to double down on food security

As the war in Ukraine has pushed up food prices and disrupted supply chains, hard-hit MENA countries explore ways to protect themselves In Abu Dhabi clusters of fresh tomatoes are growing inside rows of climate-controlled greenhouses in the middle of the desert – just one example of the lengths the arid region must go to […]

3 smiling children

‘Zakat can save the world’ … and this is how

International charities hit hard by the pandemic are turning to Zakat, which requires Muslims to donate a percentage of their wealth to help the needy As countries rich and poor reeled from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and 2021, the work of charities was more important than ever. Yet many of these […]

Lifestyle & People

Person, Human, Icing

Greek graviera cheese could soon be off the menu

In a small factory on the Greek island of Naxos, workers are busy churning out its famous graviera cheese. At least, they are for now. A crisis unfolding on the island’s farms is sparking fears that the locally-produced pale yellow wheels may soon start to disappear from the cheese counter. Standing among his cows in […]

Juan Carlos and Felipe of Spain

Juan Carlos to visit Spain after two years in UAE exile

The former king of Spain, Juan Carlos, will travel to his country this weekend for the first time since he left under a cloud of scandal in August 2020, making his home in the United Arab Emirates. Juan Carlos, 84, is visiting the northern region of Galicia for a boating event, according to the mayor […]

Person, Human, Sunglasses

Chiara Ferragni reveals investor interest in fashion brand

Chiara Ferragni has received various expressions of interest from potential investors in her brand, the Italian Instagram star said in an interview with Milano Finanza. Ferragni, 35, is Italy’s top fashion influencer with 27 million followers on Instagram. In January she mandated BNP Paribas to find an investor to help expand her fashion brand internationally. […]

UK-Gulf deal will be ‘tough nut to crack,’ says top Johnson ally

The co-chairman of the UAE-UK Business Council and former chief strategic adviser to Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the upcoming UK-Gulf trade agreements could be delayed but bilateral opportunities remain immense Lord Udny-Lister, co-chairman of the UAE-UK Business Council and one of Boris Johnson’s closest political allies, cuts a distinguished figure amid the sumptuous surroundings […]

Clothing, Apparel, Suit

Hollywood actress Jolie visits Lviv, trip interrupted by sirens

Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie visited the Ukrainian city of Lviv on Saturday, going to the station to meet people displaced by the war with Russia before later leaving after air-raid sirens sounded. Jolie, 46, is a special envoy for the United Nations refugee agency, which says more than 12.7 million people have fled their homes […]

Netflix drops Meghan Markle’s animated series

Streaming platform Netflix Inc said on Sunday it had decided to stop work on Meghan Markle’s family series “Pearl” as it reviewed animated content. Dropping several projects, including Markle’s, was part of strategic decisions on production of animated series, the company said in a statement, without providing further details on its decision. Archewell Productions, the […]

How I got to the top: Kamal Al Samarrai, co-founder, Verity

What does your company do? Verity is a UAE-based fintech startup on a mission to teach kids and teens how to earn, save, give and spend responsibly, while offering parents the ability to guide their money management. By integrating our family banking and financial literacy app with a personalised pre-paid debit card, we’re making learning […]