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OPINION & Analysis

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2BYN5A4 Mall of the Emirates is a shopping mall in the Al Barsha district of Dubai.. Image shot 04/2014. Exact date unknown.

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 […]

Dubai developers tempt off-plan buyers with 1% payment

Dubai developers are offering 1 percent payment plans in an attempt to maintain interest in an increasingly crowded off-plan sales market and to delay an anticipated slowdown after years of record growth. Yet experts warn that this tactic carries significant risks, drawing parallels to the precedents set before the 2008 housing crash. Ziad Hinnawi, sales […]

China and US vie for FDI supremacy in Gulf’s biggest economies

China and the United States invested more than $23 billion in projects in the Gulf’s two biggest economies last year. The US more than doubled its “greenfield” foreign direct investment in the UAE to nearly $4 billion, while China’s commitment to Saudi Arabia rose 10-fold to almost $17 billion. Greenfield FDI involves a foreign entity […]

UAE latest

Adnoc sought advice from investment banks on buying a significant stake in BP, a media report said

UAE’s Adnoc explored acquiring BP

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) explored the possibility of acquiring British oil major BP but abandoned the plan as it did not fit into its strategic growth objectives, a media report said.  The talks did not advance beyond the initial stages, Reuters reported, citing informed sources.  The UAE state oil company also sought advice […]

Dubai's property market 'will have a severe oversupply problem' if all projects are delivered without delay

Delays keep property oversupply at bay in Dubai

Dubai’s off-plan market is treading a delicate line between the risk of having too many properties and the threat of project delays, industry insiders have said. “There’s plenty of supply coming in,” Haider Tuaima, director of real estate research at consultancy Valustrat, told AGBI. “If everything is handed over on time, then we will have […]

US company Albemarle controls 20% of the world's lithium market but Gulf companies have their sights set on production too

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 […]

Khalifa Port in Abu Dhabi. Imeec aims to integrate railway routes and link ports along a route spanning from India to Europe

UAE and India to discuss first phase of trade corridor

Senior officials from the UAE and India will meet next month to start work on the first phase of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (Imeec), according to a media report. The officials are slated to meet on May 15 after UAE president Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi signed […]

Saudi Arabia latest

An artist's impression of part of the Diriyah Square development

Diriyah Square planned for historic Riyadh district

A public space featuring 400 retail outlets and 100 restaurants and cafes is planned for the historic Riyadh district of Diriyah. Diriyah Square will be announced next week at the World Retail Congress in Paris and aims to attract a combination of international retail brands and local artisans.  Diriyah Gate Development Authority group CEO Jerry […]

Passengers at Beijing Capital International Airport. Air China will fly from the airport to Riyadh three times a week.

Third Chinese airline to launch flights to Saudi Arabia

Air China is set to begin flights to Riyadh in May, becoming the third Chinese airline to establish a route to Saudi Arabia. It joins China Southern and Eastern Airlines in connecting China with the kingdom.  Air China’s Airbus A330-300 will serve the Beijing-Riyadh route three times a week. The expansion in capacity between the […]

US company Albemarle controls 20% of the world's lithium market but Gulf companies have their sights set on production too

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 […]

Saudi ports Jeddah

Volumes up at Saudi ports in spite of Red Sea attacks

Container volumes at Saudi Arabia’s ports were up last month compared to March 2023 despite continuing attacks on shipping in the Red Sea, data from the kingdom’s ports authority shows. The Saudi Ports Authority, known as Mawani, oversees 10 ports. These include facilities in Jeddah, Yanbu and Jazan on the country’s Red Sea coast, and […]

Around the Middle East

The impact on shipping through the Suez Canal has been less severe than feared, says the WTO

Middle East exports to rebound as Red Sea fears ease

Middle East goods export volumes, which include oil and gas, will expand 3.5 percent this year, the World Trade Organization predicts, adding that disruptions to Red Sea maritime trade are proving less severe than feared. The WTO’s Global Trade Outlook and Statistics report, published on Wednesday, says this expected increase contrasts with a 1.6 percent […]

The Saudi Contractors Authority put the total value of ongoing projects in the kingdom at $1.5 trillion by the end of October 2023

Mena steel demand to rise over next two years

Steel demand in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region is expected to accelerate in 2024 and 2025 after a significant slowdown in the past two years, the World Steel Association (WSA) said in a report. Demand is forecast to rise by just over 4 percent and 2.6 percent year on year to 57 […]

Morocco gas

British companies strike deal on Moroccan offshore gas licences

Two British energy companies have completed a deal over stakes in two offshore Moroccan gas licences.  The transaction between Chariot Energy and Energean, announced Wednesday, involves the Lixus and Rissana offshore licences. The Lixus Offshore licence covers an area of sea north of Rabat of approximately 1,800 sq km, with water depths ranging from the […]

The Omani government has plans for development in Muscat, as does the Al Fayha United Development

Oman real estate ‘in good health despite drop in deals’

Higher interest rates are hitting Oman’s real estate industry, but economists are confident that a drop in transactions in January does not signal the start of a downturn in the sector. The value of real estate deals in the sultanate fell by more than 20 percent to OR208 million ($540 million) in January, compared to […]

space greenhouse gas Satellite

Spacecraft that spots Gulf gases wins extra funding

A Bahraini-British project to develop a spacecraft that will monitor Gulf greenhouse gas emissions from space has been awarded a further £1.4 million ($1.8 million) grant by the UK Space Agency. The partnership between the Bahrain National Space Science Agency, YBA Kanoo Group in Manama, and the University of Leicester and Geospatial Insight of Birmingham […]

The number of customers playing digital games in Jordan expanded to just under 6 million in 2023

Jordan’s digital game spend at $82m in 2023

The total amount spent on digital games in Jordan reached $82.5 million in 2023, official data has revealed. Nearly $17 million was allocated to paid games while $7.3 million was spent on live in-game purchases, state-run Jordan News Agency said, quoting the Information and Communications Technology Association of Jordan (Intaj). Mobile games commanded the largest […]

Vitol expects global growth of 1.9 million bpd this year, driven by China, India and increased air travel boosting demand for jet fuel

Oil price to hit $100 if Opec+ cuts continue says Vitol chief

Crude prices are likely to reach $100 per barrel in 2024 if Opec+ maintains its output cuts, a global commodity trader has said. The supply-constrained market has already reached an average price of $83 per barrel this year, S&P Global Commodity Insights reported, quoting Vitol CEO Russell Hardy’s speech on Tuesday at a summit in […]

Oman Airports expects a delayed recovery compared to other GCC countries due to Oman Air’s ongoing transformation

Oman Airports profit up 45% in 2023 on higher revenue

The combined net profit of Oman Airports surged 45 percent to OR18.5 million ($48 million) in 2023, compared to almost OR13 million in 2022. Consolidated revenue increased by 39 percent year on year to OR150 million last year, as subsidiaries reported higher income. Oman Airports Management Company generated over OR124 million, Oman Ground Handling contributed […]

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Turkey Latest

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 […]

Turkey auto

Auto industry buoyant despite Turkey’s woes  

Production in Turkey’s auto industry is continuing to rebound after four years of falls, despite soaring interest rates dampening domestic demand and the country’s volatile currency making it tough for automakers to plan their activities. Turkey is the world’s 12th biggest automaker, the country’s government says. It made 242,000 vehicles in the first two months […]

The international transport network of Ekol Logistics had a revenue of €470m in 2023

DFDS acquires transport network of Turkey’s Ekol

The Danish shipping and logistics company DFDS is to acquire the international transport network of Turkey’s Ekol Logistics for 1.9 billion crowns ($277 million). The acquisition will add road transport to its Mediterranean ferry network, DFDS said. DFDS’s chief executive, Torben Carlsen, said his company believed Turkey’s role as a manufacturing hub for Europe “will become […]

In 2023 the Turkish government provided $22m in financial support to companies operating in the health services export sector

Turkey’s health tourism sector worth $2bn in 2023

Turkey’s health tourism sector generated revenue of $2.3 billion in 2023, data released by the Ministry of Trade reveals. Health service exports surged from $1.9 billion in 2022 to $2.3 billion in 2023, driven by an influx of 1.4 million health tourists, placing Turkey seventh in the global health tourism rankings. The country has 40 […]

Egypt Latest

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 […]

President Sisi, a former field marshal, inspects a military academy. Egypt's armed forces are significant players in several economic sectors

Military’s role in economy muddies Egypt’s debt plan

The military’s role in the Egyptian economy makes it unlikely the country will meet International Monetary Fund targets to increase tax revenue as a proportion of GDP, which could spell trouble for the hugely indebted nation. Egypt’s public external debt – money borrowed in foreign currencies – was $165 billion in September 2023, having more […]

Ras El-Hekma international airport will support Egypt's new metropolis, located 350 km northwest of Cairo

Egypt allocates land for airport at ADQ’s metropolis

The Egyptian government has allocated two plots of land for the development of Ras El-Hekma international airport by UAE sovereign wealth fund ADQ. The land plots in Matrouh, a governorate in the north-west of Egypt, were handed over to the country’s civil aviation ministry, Ahram Online newspaper reported. The airport development is part of the […]

Egypt’s inflation eases to 33.3% in March

Egypt’s annual urban consumer price inflation rate slowed to a lower-than-expected 33.3 percent in March from 35.7 percent in February, data from the country’s statistics agency Capmas showed on Monday. Month-on-month, prices rose by one percent in March, down from 11.4 percent in February. A poll of 12 analysts had expected annual inflation to climb to a […]

The global refurbished and used mobile phone market is forecast to grow from $50bn in 2022 to $172bn by 2033

Egypt plans €100m smartphone recycling centre

A €100 million smartphone refurbishment and recycling plant is being planned for the Suez Canal Economic Zone.  The man leading the project is named by Daily News Egypt as Samuel Mathias, an expatriate Egyptian who is said to be a Paris-based electronics engineer and business owner.  The newspaper said that Soha Gendi, Egypt’s minister of […]

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

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 […]

Ryanair Morocco

Morocco denies subsidising Ryanair domestic flights

Morocco’s Ministry of Tourism has denied claims that it is subsidising the Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair’s expansion across the country. Ryanair will open domestic flights throughout Morocco from the summer as part of its $1.4 billion investment in the North African country. It had been reported that the Moroccan National Tourism Office would be providing […]

ADIA joins $600m fundraise by Indian power company 

Indian power company, JSW Energy Limited, has raised 50 billion rupees ($600 million) by selling shares to institutional investors, which includes UAE sovereign fund Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA). The qualified institutions placement was 3.2 times oversubscribed, including global asset managers such as GQG, Blackrock, Nomura, Wellington, and UBS the Indian company said in a […]

Alexandria train station. Egypt's Green Line will connect the city to the Mediterranean coast, the Gulf of Suez and the Red Sea

Egypt chooses British Steel for Green Line rail track

British Steel, the UK steel products producer, has secured a multi-million-pound deal to supply parts for a new rail route stretching across Egypt. In total 9,500 tonnes of track will be delivered for Egypt’s Green Line, its first fully electrified mainline and freight network from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean. The exact value of […]