Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

Arabian Gulf Business Insight

closing prices

OPINION & Analysis

Best of AGBI

Residents in Muscat. Oman's government is taking steps to increase the size of its debt market

Sukuk takes bigger slice of Oman’s shrinking debt market

Oman’s total debt capital market contracted by 7 percent to $44 billion last year as the government took advantage of its budget surplus from higher oil and gas prices to make early payments. The energy boon helped its budget surplus total $2.4 billion. Despite the shrinking debt market Fitch Ratings said sukuk issuance in Oman […]

The banking blame game stifling Lebanon’s IMF deal

Lebanon’s proposed International Monetary Fund deal, agreed two years ago and designed to put the country on the road to recovery, seems no closer to realisation. One of the key stumbling points is reform of the banking sector. The combined liabilities of the country’s banks amount to more than three times the size of Lebanon’s […]

The pros and pitfalls of pop-up shops

Pop-up shops are appearing in more shopping malls, hotels and even beach clubs. Whether they are for new brands looking to build a name or more established companies opting for a more experiential way to market and test their products, pop-ups are largely temporary affairs designed to create a buzz. They are also considered a […]

Lebanon needs more than US rate cuts to turn its economy around

Probable US interest rate cuts could help Jordan and Morocco attract additional foreign investments as well as easing their already manageable loan repayment commitments, experts predict, but Lebanon’s financial problems remain so acute that a reduced debt burden will make little difference. US 10-year treasury yields – the most important determinant of government borrowing conditions […]

Middle East renewable capacity doubles but the region is lagging

Renewable energy capacity in the Middle East has more than doubled in the past decade, with Iran and the UAE leading the way – but the region remains a bit-part player globally. New figures released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) show that regional capacity rose from just under 16 gigawatts to more than […]

UAE latest

Emirates' REIT's portfolio includes the Index Tower (centre). Its profit rose 55 percent year on year

Emirates REIT in profit after revaluation gain

Dubai’s Emirates REIT reported a 55 percent rise in annual profit after making a nine-figure revaluation gain on its property portfolio. A REIT – a real estate investment trust – is a company that owns income-producing assets related to real estate such as buildings, land and real estate securities.  Through REITs investors can have fractional […]

Telegram founder Pavel Durov believes the messaging app will have 1 billion users soon, and chose Dubai for his new base as it is 'neutral'

Telegram to hit 1bn users in a year, founder says

Telegram, the messaging platform based in Dubai, will have one billion active monthly users within the next year, its founder Pavel Durov said on Tuesday. The app has 900 million active users at the moment. It aims to remain a “neutral platform” and not a “player in geopolitics,” Durov said during a recent video interview […]

Dubai was hit by the heaviest rainfall in 75 years on Tuesday, leaving motorists stranded floods rain weather UAE Gulf

Gulf’s record floods highlight ‘balance between risk and investment’

Historic rainfall this week in the Gulf, particularly in the UAE, has raised serious questions about investment in infrastructure to prevent the widespread flooding that brought much of the region to a standstill. On Tuesday the UAE was hit by its heaviest rains in 75 years. The downpour turned main roads into waterways, particularly in […]

The Khazna facility will raise utility Ewec’s total installed solar PV capacity to 5.5 gigawatts

Developers sought for Abu Dhabi’s Khazna solar plant

Emirates Water and Electricity Company (Ewec) is seeking developers to build a 1,500 megawatt solar power facility in Abu Dhabi as the emirate ramps up its green energy drive. The utility has issued a request for proposals to qualified companies that have expressed interest in developing the Khazna Solar Photovoltaic project. A total of 27 […]

Prices for apartments in Dubai – with or without enviable views – have risen by as much as 30% year on year

Rising prices risk making Dubai homes ‘unattainable’

Escalating home prices in Dubai’s affordable communities are making it even more difficult for residents to get on the property ladder, real estate experts have warned. February data from property consultancy ValuStrat shows the highest annual growth in apartment values was recorded in the emirate’s more budget-friendly neighbourhoods.  Prices in Discovery Gardens and The Greens […]

Saudi Arabia latest

A solar plant in Uyayna, north of Riyadh. Solar power will contribute to Saudi Arabia's 2030 renewable goal

Renewables target for 2030 in sight for Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia will expand its renewable energy output sixfold by 2030 if it continues at its current pace, a survey found this week. But it will need to add 20GW of capacity annually if it is to reach an ambitious government target laid out last year. In December the government set a new target of […]

Saudi Arabia’s GDP in 2025 should rise 6 percent, the IMF has predicted

IMF cuts Saudi GDP growth prediction

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has cut its estimate for Saudi economic growth in 2024 to 2.6 percent in its most recent World Economic Outlook, but raised its expectation for 2025.  The IMF’s April report says it’s GDP estimate is down from the 2.7 percent in predicted in January. However, the it said that Saudi […]

The Saudi government is trying to raise home ownership among nationals to 70 percent of the population by 2030, which is helping to drive up residential property prices

Residential price rise counters slip in Saudi commercial property

Residential property was the driving force behind a rise in Saudi Arabian real estate prices in the first quarter of 2024 as prices of commercial real estate fell, government statistics released this week showed.  The overall real estate price index rose by 0.6 percent compared with the same quarter in 2023. But while there was […]

Robots on the production line of an EV factory in Guangzhou, China. Saudi Arabia has yet to open its first EV manufacturing facility

EV imports rise in Saudi Arabia, but only to 779 cars

Saudi imports of electric vehicles rose sharply in 2023 – but to a total of just 779 EVs, despite government hopes that it can become a green economy leader through the manufacture and use of electric cars. The kingdom imported only 210 EVs in 2022, showing the mountain it has to climb to realise ambitions […]

Sedra will be developed in eight phases, adding more than 30,000 residential units to Riyadh’s housing stock

Roshn awards $57m contract for Riyadh villa community

The Saudi giga-project Roshn has signed a deal worth more than SAR215 million ($57 million) with Dar Al Arkan, a local developer, for a villa community in Riyadh. The two companies signed an agreement allowing Dar Al Arkan to acquire and develop residential villas in the first phase of Sedra. The 35 million sq m […]

Around the Middle East

An agricultural engineer checks green peppers on a farm in Jordan. Vegetables and fertilisers are among its main exports

Jordan’s exports rise 15% in Q1 despite regional unrest

Jordan’s exports increased by more than 15 percent in the first quarter of the year despite the conflict between Israel and Hamas and the disruptions to maritime trade in the Red Sea. The country recorded “remarkable” growth in export value from January to March, according to the Amman Chamber of Industry.  Export value rose to […]

The number of international passengers at DXB reached nearly 87 million in 2023, rising 32% from the previous year

DXB remains world’s busiest international airport

Dubai International (DXB) has maintained its status as the world’s busiest international airport, beating London and Amsterdam, the Airports Council International (ACI), an association of world airports, said in a new report. DXB has secured the top place for the 10th consecutive year, with the number of international passengers reaching nearly 87 million in 2023, […]

A container vessel passes through the Suez Canal. Global supply chain volatility is falling, according to the latest data

Transportation costs fall as Suez disruption eases

Global transportation costs fell last month to their lowest level since December as the diminishing impact of Suez Canal disruption led container rates to decline.  Latest data shows no discernible impact on supplies from either the Red Sea attacks or from reduced capacity on the Panama Canal, with businesses adjusting to longer delivery schedules. The […]

Residents in Muscat. Oman's government is taking steps to increase the size of its debt market

Sukuk takes bigger slice of Oman’s shrinking debt market

Oman’s total debt capital market contracted by 7 percent to $44 billion last year as the government took advantage of its budget surplus from higher oil and gas prices to make early payments. The energy boon helped its budget surplus total $2.4 billion. Despite the shrinking debt market Fitch Ratings said sukuk issuance in Oman […]

Marcel Ciolacu, Romania's PM, speaks to reporters in Rome. He is now in Qatar for trade talks

Romania touts $16bn of opportunities as PM visits Qatar

Romania is looking to secure €15 billion ($16 billion) of investment from Qatar during a visit by its prime minister, Marcel Ciolacu. He is set to hold talks with Qatar’s prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani. Ciolacu is also due to have discussions with representatives of Qatar […]

Oman showed an 18 percent year-on-year rise in hotel guest numbers by the end of February

Revenue of Oman’s luxury hotels rise 18% to $136m

The revenue of Oman’s three star to five star hotels rose 18 percent to OR52 million ($136 million) by the end of February 2024, compared to OR44 million a year ago. The revenue increase was driven by an 18 percent year on year rise in hotel guest numbers to 433,856 by the end of February, […]

Turkey's unemployment rate for women was 11.3% in February, down from 11.6% in January

Jobless rate in Turkey edges back towards 10-year low

Turkey’s unemployment rate fell 0.3 percentage points month on month in February, to 8.7 percent, according to official data released on Monday. The seasonally adjusted figure is edging back down towards the 8.6 percent recorded in October last year, the lowest for a decade.  The unemployment rate for women was 11.3 percent in February, down […]

Topics:

Turkey Latest

Turkey textiles

Hit by rising costs, Turkey’s textile producers move overseas

Textile manufacturers in Turkey, struggling with pricing pressures and labour costs, are moving their operations overseas, although at least some in the sector see a turnaround by the year’s end. The Istanbul Chamber of Industry sectoral purchasing managers’ index for March showed sentiment among textile manufacturers was the lowest among the 10 sectors covered by […]

Mubadala-backed Getir weighs asset sales

Turkey’s grocery delivery startup Getir is considering asset sales as part of its ongoing restructuring talks, according to a media report. The company, operating in five markets, including the UK, aims to sell off assets such as US online grocer FreshDirect, acquired last year, and BiTaksi, a ride-hailing app in Turkey, Sky News reported, citing unnamed […]

Turkey's unemployment rate for women was 11.3% in February, down from 11.6% in January

Jobless rate in Turkey edges back towards 10-year low

Turkey’s unemployment rate fell 0.3 percentage points month on month in February, to 8.7 percent, according to official data released on Monday. The seasonally adjusted figure is edging back down towards the 8.6 percent recorded in October last year, the lowest for a decade.  The unemployment rate for women was 11.3 percent in February, down […]

Nature, Undersea cables account for as much as 90 percent of Europe-Asia telecommunications, Water

Iraq and Kuwait team up for European telecom corridor

Iraq’s Informatics and Telecommunication Public Company, a division of the Ministry of Communications, has signed an agreement with Kuwait’s Zajil Telecom to create a telecommunications corridor from the Gulf region to Europe, transiting through Iraq and Turkey. The new route will pass through Iraqi sea and land ports. Iraq’s minister of communications Hayam Al-Yasiri said […]

Turkish crude steel output rose 25% year on year to 3.2 million tonnes in January

Turkish steel in the black but EU rules rankle

Turkey’s steel industry has rebounded strongly from a weak 2023, despite facing new emissions standards and competition for important markets.  Crude steel output rose 25 percent year on year to 3.2 million tonnes in January, with domestic consumption of finished steel reaching 3.5 million tonnes, a 20 percent increase.  Exports were also up, increasing 23 […]

Egypt Latest

reducing inflation Egypt Mohamed Maait finance minister

Reducing inflation is Egypt’s top priority, says minister

Reducing inflation in Egypt to align with the central bank’s target is the government’s main priority, the country’s finance minister, Mohamed Maait, has announced. Inflation in Egypt fell to 33 percent in March from 38 percent in September, passing the central bank’s target range of a 5 to 9 percentage point fall. Maait, speaking at […]

Egypt growth forecast Cairo street

World Bank lowers Egypt’s growth forecast again

The World Bank has downgraded Egypt’s growth forecast for the current fiscal year to 2.8 percent, the lowest for 11 years, despite recent investment in the country of nearly $60 billion. In its latest Middle East and North Africa economic update, the bank blamed “sluggish industrial sector performance” and the effects of war in the […]

A container vessel passes through the Suez Canal. Global supply chain volatility is falling, according to the latest data

Transportation costs fall as Suez disruption eases

Global transportation costs fell last month to their lowest level since December as the diminishing impact of Suez Canal disruption led container rates to decline.  Latest data shows no discernible impact on supplies from either the Red Sea attacks or from reduced capacity on the Panama Canal, with businesses adjusting to longer delivery schedules. The […]

A woman buys cooking oil at a market in downtown Cairo, Egypt

EU to provide ‘urgent’ $1bn short-term aid to Egypt

The European Union (EU) will provide €1 billion ($1.1 billion) in urgent short-term financial aid to support Egypt’s economy. The funding is part of the larger €5 billion macro-financial assistance package.  The remaining €4 billion will be released as longer-term assistance over 2024-2027 but is yet to be cleared by the 27-member bloc. The aid […]

Egypt's logistics corridors will link its Red Sea ports with those on the Mediterranean coast

Egypt building seven logistics corridors says minister

Egypt is building seven integrated logistics corridors as part of its plan to become a regional centre. The logistics corridors are under construction and will connect production facilities with ports, Egypt Today newspaper reported, quoting transport minister Kamel El Wazir. The corridors are located in Sokhna/Alexandria, Arish/Taba, Cairo/Alexandria, Tanta/Mansoura/Dameitta, Gargoub/Salloum, Cairo/Aswan/Abu Simbel, and Safaga/Qena/Tartour, the […]

Features

What Dubai’s united nations of property buyers want

When purchasing a property in Dubai amenities are important to Brits, while Indian buyers are all about the return on investment, according to real estate experts. Last year Dubai recorded 1.6 million real estate transactions, a record 17 percent year-on-year increase, according to data from the Dubai Land Department. The demand comes from a largely […]

Reasons to be cheerful for UAE banks with Egyptian subsidiaries

Despite the plunge in the value of the Egyptian pound, UAE banks’ subsidiaries in the country remain a strong long-term asset, analysts have told AGBI. Three Emirati banks – Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, First Abu Dhabi Bank and Dubai’s Emirates NBD – have acquired Egyptian lenders. The pound-to-dollar exchange rate stood at about EGP31 at […]

Lithium’s highs and lows – and what they mean for the Gulf

For one of the world’s most critical minerals, the past two years have been the best of times and the worst of times. First, lithium prices shot skywards, hitting around $80,000 per metric tonne in 2022 amid fears that global supply would not meet demand. Then, in just a year, the soft, silvery-white metal lost […]

Abu Dhabi’s futuristic vision of an Egyptian metropolis

By 2052, Egypt’s Ras El Hekma will be “competing with the most important cities of the world,” according to the new project’s promotional video. Published on February 23, the day the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund ADQ bought development rights to this stretch of coastline as part of a $35 billion deal, the video shows […]

People & Lifestyle

Riyadh women's tennis Iga Swiatek

Riyadh secures three years of women’s world tennis finals

Riyadh is to host the Women’s Tennis Association finals for the next three years, with record prize money for participants. The top eight singles players and doubles teams in the annual Race to the WTA Finals will play for a prize pot of $15 million, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) said in a statement. The […]

MBC Shahid Ashghal Shaqa

Streaming platform Shahid to drive growth, says MBC TV

The Arabic TV network MBC says its new Shahid streaming platform will lead its growth after subscriptions grew 40 percent in 2023 to nearly four million.  The Saudi-owned group recently completed an IPO on the Saudi stock exchange, requiring it to open its books to the public for the first time.  It reported net profit […]

Foreign labourers work at the construction site of a building in Riyadh Foreign workers on a building site in Riyadh; thousands of migrants who have the right to work in Saudi Arabia could have their work permit fees covered for four years from the date of recognition

Saudi Arabia will pay costs of normalising migrants’ status

Saudi Arabia said this week it will take on the costs of normalising the status of displaced individuals from neighbouring countries in what could amount to amnesty for thousands of illegal migrants and refugees.  “The state assumes the costs on behalf of individuals permitted to stay and rectify their status among the displaced from neighbouring […]

Strong demand for Inditex brands such as Zara increased international earnings to SAR1.1 billion

Saudi retailer Cenomi reveals major brand sale

Saudi-based franchiser Cenomi Retail has announced the sale of 16 brands in the first quarter of 2024 as part of a turnaround strategy to stem mounting losses. Cenomi transferred 226 stores in Saudi Arabia to Abdullah Al Othaim Fashion Company. This follows the retailer’s exit from some international markets and the net closure of an […]

Visitors shop in the souq in Manama, Bahrain. The government wants to encourage more youth into work

Bahrain launches minimum wage fund to bolster youth

Lawmakers in Bahrain are to spend over BD200 million ($500 million) to lift the minimum wage of the kingdom’s citizens.  The government hopes it will encourage more youth into the working world and stimulate the country’s economy. The initiative, run by Bahrain’s Labour Fund, which is also known as Tamkeen, received unanimous approval from the […]

Around the world

Marcel Ciolacu, Romania's PM, speaks to reporters in Rome. He is now in Qatar for trade talks

Romania touts $16bn of opportunities as PM visits Qatar

Romania is looking to secure €15 billion ($16 billion) of investment from Qatar during a visit by its prime minister, Marcel Ciolacu. He is set to hold talks with Qatar’s prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani. Ciolacu is also due to have discussions with representatives of Qatar […]

Debt-for-nature swaps may give $100bn boost to climate fight

Debt-for-nature swaps, where poorer countries have debt written off in return for protecting ecosystems such as barrier reefs or rainforests, could provide $100 billion for the fight against climate change, a new report has calculated. The UK-based, non-profit International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) based the estimate on the possibility of debt swaps in […]

An artist's impression of the new Casablanca cruise terminal to be operated by a consortium led by the UK's GPH

UK’s Global Ports to operate Casablanca cruise terminal

A consortium led by British cruise operator Global Ports Holding (GPH) has secured preferred bidder status for operating a new cruise terminal in Casablanca. The consortium was awarded a 15-year concession agreement with Morocco’s state-owned Agence Nationale des Ports (ANP). The consortium and ANP are working towards finalising the concession terms, the London stock exchange-listed […]