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Comment & Analysis

Latest from the Middle East

New York has held onto the top spot in the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI 33)

Gulf financial centres slip down global ranking list

Financial centres in the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain have fallen in the latest global index as their rivals in the US and Asia Pacific come out on top.  Dubai and Abu Dhabi continue to take first and second places in the Middle East region, but they have both dropped down the overall league table. Dubai […]

QatarEnergy acquires stakes from Exxon in Canadian offshore blocks

State-owned QatarEnergy has signed an agreement with US-based ExxonMobil to acquire stakes in two Canadian offshore exploration blocks. The farm-in agreement, signed on Wednesday, gives QatarEnergy a 28 percent interest in licence EL 1167, with ExxonMobil Canada holding 50 percent and Cenovus Energy 22 percent.  In addition, QatarEnergy will hold 40 percent of licence EL […]

Ford to roll out electric vehicles across GCC next year

US automaker Ford Motor Co. plans to launch its electric vehicles (EV) in the Middle East in 2024, according to a media report. The automaker will introduce EV models to the Gulf before moving into the wider region, Chris Noel, managing director of Ford Middle East and Africa, told Bloomberg. He stated that manufacturing limitations […]

Flare, Light, Factory

World Bank says global gas flaring hits lowest level since 2010

Gas flaring worldwide dropped five billion cubic metres (bcm) to 139 bcm in 2022, reaching its lowest level since 2010, the World Bank said in its global gas flaring reduction partnership (GGFR) study. “After a decade of stalled progress, global gas flaring volumes fell in 2022 by around three percent, which is a welcome drop, […]

'We won’t be reviewing this again. We need the investment,' said investment minister Lord Johnson

Tax boon for wealth funds shows their value to UK, says minister

The UK’s decision to scrap a planned tax on sovereign wealth funds highlights the importance the government places on Gulf investors, Britain’s investment minister has told AGBI. “I’m personally very pleased that we’ve decided to maintain the status quo,” said Dominic Johnson, a minister of state in the UK’s newly formed Department for Business & […]

Dacia Jogger Hybrid

Renault’s hybrid move will power up Morocco’s EV ambitions

Morocco’s status as a regional electric vehicle manufacturing hub has been boosted by French carmaker Renault Group’s announcement that it will move production of its hybrid model from Romania to Tangier in the second quarter of 2024. The new production line for the Dacia Jogger model is expected to produce up to 120,000 vehicles per […]

A at an oil pipe in Iraq's Kurdistan region. All flows have stopped since last week's ruling

Iraq wins court battle to halt Kurdistan oil flow

Iraqi Kurdistan’s control over its oil industry is in jeopardy following a landmark international court ruling in Iraq’s favour which has halted pipeline crude exports from the semi-autonomous region.  Iraq had sued Turkey, arguing that only the Baghdad administration had the legal right to export oil via a pipeline to the Turkish city Ceyhan, not […]

NewMed Energy

Shares soar at Israeli energy giant after BP and Adnoc offer

Shares in Israeli energy giant NewMed Energy soared on Tuesday after BP confirmed that, together with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), it has made a non-binding offer to buy a 50 percent stake in the company. The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange-listed natural gas operator saw its share price rise by more than 36 percent […]


Saudi Arabia latest

Plantlab CEO Eelco Ockers

Saudi Greenhouses goes Dutch to elevate sustainable farming

Dutch indoor agriculture outfit Plantlab has committed to invest up to €300 million ($325 million) in the Middle East and North Africa to help support the region’s sustainable farming ambitions. Plantlab aims to build a minimum of 10 indoor farms over the next three to five years in partnership with Saudi Greenhouses. The first location, […]

Cable, Nature, Outdoors

PIF-backed Saudi Electricity plans sale of dollar sukuk

Saudi Electricity Company is planning to issue a green or conventional sukuk (Islamic bonds) denominated in US dollars. The banks will hold meetings with fixed-income investors starting Friday (March 31), the company said in a statement to the Saudi bourse. The issuance amount will be determined later based on market conditions and requirements. The company […]

Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan,has many attractions but business is fast becoming a major one for the Gulf

Uzbekistan draws in billions of GCC energy investments

Uzbekistan’s energy sector is attracting billions of dollars from the Gulf as the former Soviet republic looks to generate 35 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.  The central Asian country has an average of 330 sunny days a year and the potential for solar energy is huge, prompting companies such as Saudi-based […]


Saudis invest $70m in Danish bioprotein firm

Saudi Industrial Investment Group is investing $70 million in Unibio International, a bioprotein production technology firm in Denmark, to help increase food security in the kingdom. SIIG told shareholders that it has signed an agreement to buy 24 percent of the company. The investment will be in two phases: a 9.9 percent stake is to […]

Shop, Convention Center, Building

Saudi’s Al Rajhi Bank to raise $1bn via sustainable sukuk

Saudi Arabia’s Al Rajhi Bank is set to raise $1 billion with five-year sustainable Islamic bonds, according to a media report. The spread on the sukuk was set at 110 basis points (bps) over US Treasuries (UST), tightened from initial price guidance of around 150 bps over UST after demand topped $3.75 billion, Reuters reported, […]

UAE latest

Expo Dubai

Expo 2020 legacy to swell Dubai’s economic growth

Events organisations and business services are expected to benefit most from Dubai hosting the 2020 World Expo. A report issued on Friday from consultancy firm EY said the events sector – at AED75.5 billion ($20.6 billion) – is forecast to contribute the most gross value add (GVA) to the UAE’s economy. The calculation is based […]

MTS Bank

UAE revokes licence of Russia’s MTS Bank

The UAE central bank on Friday revoked the Abu Dhabi licence of Russia’s MTS Bank, five weeks after the United States and the UK placed the Moscow-based lender under sanctions. MTS must close its UAE operations, including shutting its Abu Dhabi branch, within six months, according to a statement issued by UAE state news agency […]

Etihad and China Southern Airlines will explore ways to work more closely together

Emirates strengthens ties with US while Etihad looks east

Dubai airline Emirates has strengthened its relations with the US as its Abu Dhabi counterpart Etihad Airways increased its presence in the east. Emirates and United Airlines have activated their codeshare partnership allowing customers of the Dubai carrier to fly to Chicago, Houston or San Francisco and connect to the network of domestic flights operated […]

Worst professionals

Professions named and shamed in UAE ‘worst reputation’ survey

Recruiters have topped a list of the worst professionals to deal with in the UAE for the third year in a row, while social media influencers offering financial advice were also targeted as “infuriating”. UAE residents were asked which industries delivered the most unreliable customer service in a survey for the fifth annual “Worst Reputation” […]

Mubadala targets European dialysis clinic chain for $2.5bn

Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company is considering acquiring British private investment company Bridgepoint Group’s European dialysis clinic chain Diaverum for $2.5 billion. The UAE sovereign wealth fund is among the final bidders competing to acquire Swedish Diaverum, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed sources. The names of the rival bidders were not given. Bridgepoint is seeking a […]

Turkey Latest

Turkey central bank says policy stance adequate to back recovery

The Turkish central bank said on Thursday the current monetary policy stance was adequate to support recovery following last month’s earthquake by maintaining price stability and financial stability. In the minutes of last week’s policy committee meeting, where the central bank left its key rate unchanged at 8.5 percent, it said the effect of quake-driven […]

Audience, Person, Crowd

Erdogan to cut power and natural gas prices and increase wages

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan has pledged to cut electricity and natural gas prices and increase the minimum wage. Electricity prices will be reduced by 15 percent, while gas prices for industrial users will be lowered by 20 percent in April, Daily Sabah newspaper reported the president as saying in the parliament on Wednesday. The presidential and […]

Fork, Cutlery, Coin

Turkey’s central bank approves 2022 dividend payout

Turkey’s central bank decided to pay dividends from its 2022 accounting period to shareholders, including the treasury, it announced on Tuesday at its annual general meeting. The central bank profit stood at 72.02 billion lira ($3.77 billion), according to the country’s official gazette. Economists expect the central bank to transfer some 40 billion lira to […]

A at an oil pipe in Iraq's Kurdistan region. All flows have stopped since last week's ruling

Iraq wins court battle to halt Kurdistan oil flow

Iraqi Kurdistan’s control over its oil industry is in jeopardy following a landmark international court ruling in Iraq’s favour which has halted pipeline crude exports from the semi-autonomous region.  Iraq had sued Turkey, arguing that only the Baghdad administration had the legal right to export oil via a pipeline to the Turkish city Ceyhan, not […]

Money, Person, Adult

Turkey’s banks hold internal stress tests ahead of May vote

Big Turkish banks have launched internal stress tests against possible market shocks due to the May elections, and they are preparing for lower profits later in the year as a flurry of previous regulations bite, four industry executives said. The executives said the tests, conducted independently of yearly required reviews, are meant to weigh the […]

Egypt Latest

Person, Man, Adult

Egypt raises interest rates by 200 bps to tame inflation

The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) raised its overnight interest rates by 200 basis points (bps) on Thursday following a meeting of its monetary policy committee (MPC), saying it aimed to bring high inflation into check. The bank set the lending rate at 19.25 percent and the deposit rate at 18.25 percent. The median forecast […]

Egypt to raise food subsidies by 20% in 2023-24 draft budget

Egypt expects to raise its allocation for food subsidies by 20 percent and for petroleum products by 24 percent in the 2023-24 fiscal year, according to a draft budget approved by the cabinet on Wednesday. The budget forecasts GDP growth of 4.1 percent and inflation at an average rate of 16 percent during the next […]

Couple at Pyramids in Egypt

Egypt’s five-year tourist visa meets an uncertain reaction

Egyptian tourism will get a boost from a five-year tourist visa available for $700, the country’s government hopes. The visa has been announced as part of a national strategy to more than double tourist numbers over the next five years.  Announcing the new visa at a press conference on Monday, Egyptian minister of tourism and […]

Adult, Male, Man

Egypt faces pressure to devalue currency further

The Egyptian pound lost ground on the black market again in recent days in a sign that halving its official value over the past year could still not be enough and the central bank may have to let it slide further. Despite its pledge in October to allow supply and demand determine exchange rates, the […]

Egypt central bank may hike interest rates to tame inflation

Egypt’s central bank (CBE) is forecast to hike its overnight interest rates by 200 basis points (bps) on Thursday as it struggles to bring soaring inflation under control, a Reuters poll showed on Monday. After that meeting, the state statistics agency announced that annual inflation in January had surged to 25.8 percent and in February to 31.9 percent, […]

Around the world

Tie, Accessories, Accessory

Details behind Britain’s move to join trans-Pacific trade pact

Britain on Friday agreed to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a trade pact based around the Pacific rim, as it seeks to build ties around the world after leaving the European Union. Here are some details of the agreement as Britain seeks post-Brexit trade wins in geographically distant but faster-growing […]

Alibaba considers yielding control of some businesses in overhaul

Alibaba Group said on Thursday it will look to monetise non-core assets and consider giving up control of some businesses, as the Chinese tech conglomerate reinvents itself after a regulatory crackdown that wiped 70 percent off its shares. Group CEO Daniel Zhang said the company’s breakup into separate businesses will allow its units to become more […]

Manchester United swings to profit ahead of potential sale

Manchester United swung to a second-quarter net profit on the back of higher commercial revenue and lower wages, the club said on Thursday. Net profit came in at £6.3 million ($7.78 million) in the three months to December 31, against a £1.4 million loss a year earlier. Revenue fell almost 10 percent to 167 million […]

Face, Head, Person

G20 watchdog to review lessons from recent bank rescues

The G20’s financial stability board (FSB) said on Tuesday its members would review the lessons from recent actions by authorities in Switzerland, the United States and elsewhere to rescue ailing banks. Markets have been roiled by the collapse of US technology lender Silicon Valley Bank followed by the failures of other US regional lenders and […]

Alibaba founder Jack Ma returns to China after overseas sojourn

Jack Ma, the Alibaba founder, has returned to China, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported on Monday, ending a more than year-long sojourn overseas that was viewed by industry as reflecting the sober mood of China’s private businesses. Ma, one of China’s best known entrepreneurs, left mainland China in late 2021 and has been […]

SNB Credit Suisse

Swiss regulator mulls disciplinary action against Credit Suisse

Swiss financial regulator Finma said it was considering whether to take disciplinary action against Credit Suisse managers after Switzerland’s second-largest bank had to be rescued last week by UBS. Finma president Marlene Amstad told Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag it was “still open” whether new proceedings would be started, but the regulator’s main focus was […]

Adult, Female, Person

IMF chief says risks to financial stability have increased

Risks to financial stability have increased, International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Kristalina Georgieva said in a speech delivered in Beijing on March 26, calling for continued vigilance despite moves by advanced economies to calm market stress. The IMF managing director reiterated her view that 2023 would be another challenging year, with global growth slowing to […]

Walmart to lay off hundreds of US workers in 5 distribution centres

Hundreds of workers at five US Walmart facilities that fulfill e-commerce orders are being asked to find jobs within 90 days at other company locations, a spokesperson confirmed to Reuters. About 200 workers at Pedricktown, New Jersey, and hundreds of others at Fort Worth, Texas; Chino, California; Davenport, Florida; and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania were let go […]


Face, Happy, Head

Melda Akin, founder of D14 and Sirius Labs

Based in Dubai, Melda Akin is founder of AI company D14.AI and recently launched Sirius Labs, a mentorship and training app aimed at women. What does your company do?  D14.AI is an AI company that aims to solve optimisation challenges for businesses. I also recently launched Sirius Labs, an AI-driven training and mentorship application. It aims […]

women, air hostesses

VistaJet continues to fly high from Qatar World Cup

Private jet operator VistaJet has seen enduring business benefits from the Qatar World Cup, staged at the end of 2022. It witnessed a 146 percent year-on-year increase in its Qatar flights in 2022, driven by a 561 percent rise in December compared to the same month in 2021. Demand at the Dubai-based company has continued […]

Jordan has traditionally been known for its tourism industry but opportunities are growing for tech startups

Startups get fired up in Jordan’s rapidly changing environment

A decade ago, Jordanian startups were the purview of risk-takers and dreamers. Sensible graduates with a head for business sought positions at banks and corporations, with a steady income and job security. That mentality is shifting as increased investment and public sector support fuel a vibrant entrepreneurial culture, encouraging more Jordanians to shelve the safe […]

How Emirates’ equine service delivers for the Dubai World Cup

Saturday’s $30.5 million Dubai World Cup, the world’s richest horse racing event, has again attracted a stellar field of thoroughbreds. More than 120 horses will compete across the nine-race programme at the Meydan racecourse – and most steeds will fly in via Emirates airline’s specialist equine aircraft. The event’s line-up features a huge contingent of […]

Alison Milton, Ambassador of Ireland to the UAE, would reverse Vladimir Putin's decision to invade Ukraine if she could

Alison Milton, Ambassador of Ireland to the UAE

Alison Milton has been the Ambassador of Ireland to the UAE, Qatar and Kuwait since August. Before then she worked as the British-Irish director, in Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs. What does your company do? I work for the Embassy of Ireland in Abu Dhabi covering the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar. I also have responsibility […]

People & Lifestyle

TikTok and Snapchat growing in popularity among UK children

The number of children using TikTok and Snapchat rose last year in Britain, according to research published by media regulator Ofcom. Around half of those aged between three and 17 use TikTok and Snapchat, figures collected as part of the watchdog’s annual survey of children’s and parents’ online attitudes showed. The study found a slight […]

Intel co-founder Gordon Moore dies at 94

Intel Corp co-founder Gordon Moore, a pioneer in the semiconductor industry whose “Moore’s Law” predicted a steady rise in computing power for decades, died Friday at the age of 94, the company announced. Intel and Moore’s family philanthropic foundation said he died surrounded by family at his home in Hawaii. Co-launching Intel in 1968, Moore […]

Asian art fair bullish on market prospects after Covid years

The organisers of Art Basel Hong Kong, one of Asia’s leading contemporary art fairs, said on Tuesday they are bullish on art market prospects in the region, with China and Hong Kong now having lifted all Covid lockdown restrictions. The annual fair, which also has iterations in Basel, Paris, and Miami Beach, runs from March […]

Razan Al Sous, founder of Yorkshire Dama Cheese, second from right, shows the Princess Royal her wares

Say cheese! Syrian refugee to take halloumi startup to Gulf

A Syrian refugee who moved to the UK and set up a halloumi cheese company is looking to the Gulf as one of her first markets for international expansion. “We are always looking for investment because we know that we’ve got high demand in the UK,” Razan Al Sous, founder of Yorkshire Dama Cheese, told […]

Bottle, Perfume, Cosmetics

Gulf fragrance market strikes the right note

Some of the Middle East’s biggest perfume makers, including Chalhoub Group and Ajmal Perfumes, are ramping up global growth plans as traditional Arabic scents gain in popularity abroad.  Luxury brands franchisee and distributor Chalhoub is close to striking deals to export its own fragrance brand, Ghawali, to countries including the UK and France. The first […]