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Arabian Gulf Business Insight


Comment & Analysis

Qatar World Cup

Person, Man, Adult

How Qatar is handling the world’s football fans

More than one million people are expected to visit Qatar during the World Cup and the authorities are hoping that is the start of a new tourism boom. The opportunity for a country to present itself to a global audience of billions does not come around often. As host of the tournament, Qatar certainly finds […]

The dream is over for Saudi's football fans after Mexico beat them 2-0 at the World Cup, but the countries remain strong trading partners

Saudi and Mexico get back to business after World Cup exit

The deepening relationship between Saudi Arabia and Mexico may have been tested for 90 minutes on Wednesday as the central American team prevailed 2-0 in their World Cup match in Qatar. Both teams went out of the tournament due to results elsewhere in their group, but, more importantly, the two countries are enjoying a bounce […]

Person, Man, Adult

Messi takes on Ronaldo in ‘cryptoverse’ World Cup 2022

The market for fan tokens, a volatile cocktail of crypto and sport, is heating up in the desert of Qatar. Interest in this niche breed of cryptocurrencies, typically linked to sports teams like Barcelona or Brazil, has been charged up by the soccer World Cup which began on November 20. Average daily trading volumes for […]

Urban, Night Life, City

Gulf states to capitalise on World Cup tourism ‘halo’ effect

Qatar’s Gulf neighbours have more than a passing interest in the World Cup. When the tournament ends Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Oman will be looking to capture the ripple effect resulting from the surge in tourists to the region.  For the GCC’s tourism sectors, the World Cup is viewed as a catalyst for a […]

Qatar 2022

Nine ways the World Cup will transform Qatar

Qatari strategists conceived the World Cup as a catalyser for long-term development ambitions. Across a range of economic sectors, the government has sought to embed the transitory impact of the tournament with longer-lasting side-benefits. None are more evident than in the tourism sector. As Berthold Trenkel, chief operating officer of Qatar Tourism, told AGBI: “The […]

Latest from the Middle East

The company aims to produce 5 million metric tons of green steel annually

Omani steel producer to build $3bn green steel facility

Oman-based steel producer Jindal Shadeed Group will invest $3 billion to establish a green steel manufacturing plant in the special economic zone at Duqm (Sezad), driven by renewable energy sources, the company said in a statement. “We have already obtained the necessary approvals to secure the land for our green hydrogen-ready steel project,” said Harssha Shetty, […]

Sohar Free Zone recorded an 11.2 percent year-on-year growth in exports

Sohar Port and Free Zone attracts $27bn in investments

Sohar Port and Free Zone have managed to attract investments worth $27 billion, state-owned Oman News Agency reported, citing a top government official. Sohar Free Zone recorded an 11.2 percent growth in exports and a 4.2 percent increase in land occupancy year-on-year. Omar Mahmoud Al Mahrezi, CEO of Sohar Free Zone and deputy CEO of […]

The centre will accelerate the Gulf state’s transition to renewable energy

UK’s Petrofac bags services contracts for Oman gas field

UK’s engineering and construction major Petrofac has been selected by Shell to undertake new engineering and procurement services (EPS) in Oman, the company said in a statement. The first is a five-year EPS contract for Shell’s Block-10 Mabrouk phase 2 project in the Al Wusta Governate, around 400 km from Muscat. The contract was awarded […]

Heavy industries replace tech in Middle East funding rounds

More traditional industries such as manufacturing and oil and gas services have replaced technology as the driving force behind capital flows between Europe and the Middle East, according to new research The switch comes as technology giants including Alphabet, Microsoft, Meta and Amazon reported disappointing third-quarter results and the tech-heavy Nasdaq stock market has lost […]

Flag, United Arab Emirates Flag

Jordan’s draft budget forecasts lower deficit

Jordan’s finance minister Mohamad Al Ississ said on Wednesday that their draft budget for 2023 forecasts 11.4 billion dinars ($16 billion) in state expenditure as the economy’s recovery gathers pace. Al Ississ said in a statement the budget deficit was expected to fall to 2.9 percent of GDP next year from 3.4 percent this year […]

Factory, Building, Architecture

Omani firm to invest over $4bn to produce green steel

Jindal Shadeed Iron & Steel, owner of a steel complex at Sohar Port, plans to invest over $4 billion in the production of green steel.  The initiatives aim to establish an integrated steel plant – one of the largest plants in the GCC – in the special economic zone in Duqm, complete with renewable and […]

US approves potential anti-drone system sale to Qatar for $1bn

The US State Department has approved the potential sale of an anti-drone system to Qatar in a deal valued at $1 billion, the Pentagon said on Tuesday. The principal contractors will be Raytheon Technologies Corp , SRC and Northrop Grumman Corp, the Pentagon said in a statement. It added that the Pentagon’s Defence Security Cooperation […]

Person, Human, Forge

Turkish trade deficit surges 422% in October 2022

Turkey’s foreign trade deficit surged 421.7 percent year-on-year to $7.87 billion in October, with imports climbing 31.4 percent, data from the Turkish Statistical Institute showed on Tuesday. Imports stood at $29.2 billion, while exports rose three percent to $21.33 billion, the data showed. Under an economic programme unveiled last year, Turkey aims to shift to […]


Saudi Arabia latest

Neom names Bechtel as project consultant for ski destination

US-based engineering consultancy Bechtel has been appointed as the project management consultant for Trojena, a year-round mountain destination in Saudi Arabia’s megaproject Neom. Bechtel will provide services, including technical, commercial and construction management, for the development of Trojena, the company said in a statement Trojena is 50 km from the Gulf of Aqaba coast in […]


Saudi targets superyacht owners with Neom’s Sindalah launch

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the development of Sindalah on Monday, the first luxury island destination in the $500 billion giga project Neom. A main gateway to the Red Sea offering bespoke nautical experiences, Sindalah is expected to start welcoming guests from early 2024.  It is anticipated that the development will create 3,500 […]

Entities must be Saudi stock exchange members, derivatives exchange members or their clients to be market makers

Saudi stock exchange launches market-making framework

Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange said on Sunday it was launching a market-making framework for its stock and derivatives markets to help ensure liquidity and raise price-determination efficiency. Entities must be exchange members, derivatives exchange members or their clients to be market makers. “Market makers have to ensure the availability of liquidity for a listed security […]

Riyadh fintech

Saudi non-oil business activity expands at fastest rate in 7 years

Saudi Arabia’s non-oil business activity expanded at the fastest rate in seven years in November, supported by a sharp rise in new orders and continued confidence in the growth outlook, a survey showed on Monday. The seasonally adjusted Riyad Bank Saudi Arabia Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 58.5 in November, from 57.2 in October, the […]

The PIF has stakes in 22 listed companies, including Saudi Aramco

Saudi Aramco’s Luberef expects to raise up to $1.32bn from IPO

Saudi oil giant Aramco’s base oil subsidiary Luberef expects to raise up to 4.95 billion riyals ($1.32 billion) from its initial public offering, it said, if it prices at the top of a range announced on Sunday. Luberef will sell nearly 30 percent of the company’s issued share capital, or 50.045 million shares, at between […]

UAE Latest


Abu Dhabi VC eyes booming Indian economy

Abu Dhabi-based Indian venture capital (VC) firm AUM Ventures has launched a $30 million fund to offer international investors access to tech, tech-enabled and consumer startups in India. The early and pre-growth stage VC firm, which has offices in Abu Dhabi, Bangalore and Mumbai, is licensed and regulated by Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM). The […]

People, Person, Man

Abu Dhabi’s Adnoc inks first unconventional oil resources deal

State-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) and Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) have signed a deal awarding the first concession in the Middle East for unconventional oil resources, the UAE state news agency WAM said. The six-year agreement is the first investment by a Malaysian company in an Abu Dhabi concession. Petronas will retain […]

Yulia Svyrydenko, Ukraine's economy minister

UAE to launch free trade talks with Ukraine

The UAE is launching negotiations for a free trade deal with Ukraine. Dr Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, the UAE’s minister of state for foreign trade, and Yulia Svyrydenko, Ukraine’s first deputy prime minister and economy minister, issued a statement signalling their plan to work towards a comprehensive economic partnership agreement. The CEPA (Comprehensive Economic […]

MAF clinches $1.25bn sustainability-linked loan

UAE-based retail group Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) has secured its second sustainability-linked loan as part of its strategy to become ‘net carbon positive’ by 2040. The $1.25 billion-equivalent revolving credit facility with First Abu Dhabi Bank was agreed on Monday. MAF, which owns and operates 29 shopping malls across the Middle East and Africa as […]

ICD's investment portfolio includes some of Dubai’s biggest companies, including Emirates National Oil Company (Enoc), Emirates airlines and the Commercial Bank of Dubai

Dubai’s wealth fund hunts for opportunities after H1 profit

The Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) said it would remain “cautious and selective” when making new investments, having reported a tenfold annual increase in net profit to $4 billion for the first six months of 2022.  Described by ICD as “exceptional”, the results mark a return to pre-pandemic-level earnings by the Dubai sovereign wealth fund, […]

Around the world

Finger, Person, Hand

Australia central bank raises rates to 10-year high

Australia’s central bank on Tuesday raised interest rates to a 10-year high and stuck with its projection that more hikes are needed, a stance taken as slightly hawkish by markets that were looking for signs of a pause in the near term. Wrapping up its last policy meeting this year, the Reserve Bank of Australia […]

Philippines trims 2023 GDP growth target due to global risks

The Philippines on Monday lowered its economic growth target for 2023, taking into account an anticipated weakening in global activity, but retained its expansion goals for the succeeding five years. The Southeast Asian nation’s economy is now expected to grow 6-7 percent next year, a lower and narrower range compared with the previous official goal […]

Britain is facing a winter of industrial unrest as workers take strike action to demand better pay

Bank of England warns of deeper and longer recession

Bank of England rate-setter Swati Dhingra said in an interview published on Saturday that higher interest rates could lead to a deeper and longer recession, adding there were few signs that demands for higher wages risked a wage-price spiral. While most of her colleagues backed a 75 basis-point hike to three percent last month, Dhingra […]

Machine, Car, Vehicle

Exxon to exit Equatorial Guinea amid wider Africa crude phaseout

Exxon Mobil Corp will wind down oil production in Equatorial Guinea and leave the West African country after its license expires in 2026, two sources close to the matter told Reuters. The departure reflects a wider move by major oil producers to reduce crude production in West Africa and shift investments to lower-carbon natural gas […]

Factory, Building, Architecture

Mexico to hike minimum wage by 20% in 2023

Mexico will raise the minimum wage by 20 percent next year after employers, labour representatives and the government reached an agreement, officials said on Thursday, although some critics warned the move could fuel inflation. The standard minimum wage will rise to around 207 pesos ($10.82) a day from 172.87 pesos ($9.03) a day, labour minister […]

China's biggest commercial banks have also lined up at least $162 billion in fresh credit to property developers

China’s property woes fuel risks to financial system, says Moody’s

Risks to the stability of China’s financial system are rising on continued sluggishness in its property sector and an economic slowdown, making smaller banks more vulnerable, rating agency Moody’s said on Friday. China’s property sector has slowed sharply this year after Beijing’s efforts reined in excessive borrowing by developers. The clampdown has triggered falls in […]

Blackstone says the REIT relied on a long-term fixed rate debt structure, making it resilient

Blackstone curbs redemptions in $69bn unlisted REIT

Blackstone Inc limited withdrawals from its $69 billion unlisted real estate income trust (REIT) on Thursday after a surge in redemption requests, an unprecedented blow to a franchise that helped it turn into an asset management behemoth. The curbs came because redemptions hit pre-set limits, rather than Blackstone setting the limits on the day. Nonetheless, […]

Diaz-Canel says Cuba has landed deals to finance wind and solar energy projects

Cuba says Turkey and other allies pledge to end economic crisis

China, Russia, Algeria and Turkey have pledged to restructure Cuba’s debt, provide new trade and investment financing, and help ease an energy crisis, Cuban president Miguel Diaz-Canel told state-run media following a rare trip abroad last week. The Communist-run country has yet to recover from a precipitous drop in output during the coronavirus pandemic and […]

Turkey Latest

Oil tankers said to queue up off Turkey after Russia price cap

Oil tankers formed a traffic jam off the coast of Turkey on day one of the West’s price cap on Russian crude, with Ankara insisting on new proof of insurance for all vessels, the Financial Times reported on Monday. Around 19 crude oil tankers were waiting to cross Turkish waters on Monday, the report said, […]

Moody’s sees ‘very high’ foreign exchange risk for Turkish banks

Banks in countries such as Turkey and Ukraine face a “very high” risk from restrictions on capital flows, weak international reserves and a high level of foreign currency debt, Moody’s Investors Service said in a report on Monday. Belarus, El Salvador, Nigeria, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan complete the list of countries also exposed to high levels […]

Hat, Clothing, Person

Turkey’s inflation falls below 85% after a 17-month surge

Turkey’s official inflation rate eased to 84.4 percent in November, its first fall in 17 months, in a sign that the economic upheaval caused by President Tayyip Erdogan’s unorthodox policies could moderate in time for elections in six months. The annual rate was just below forecast at 84.39 percent, down from a 24-year high of […]

Sahap Kavcioglu said the central bank was prioritising steps aimed at removing structural causes of high inflation

Turkish central bank will continue to increase forex reserves

Turkey’s central bank will continue increasing its foreign currency reserves, its governor Sahap Kavcioglu said on Friday. Forex reserves have dropped sharply in recent years due to market interventions and in the wake of a currency crisis last December. The lira lost 44 percent of its value against the US dollar last year and another […]

Tayyip Erdogan's economic programme over the last 14 months prioritised growth and exports

Turkey’s economy up 3.9% on last year but growth is slowing

Turkey’s economy expanded 3.9 percent in the third quarter from a year ago, according to official data released on Wednesday, though growth slowed from the previous quarter as a global slowdown put a drag on exports, but the tourism sector remained strong. Gross domestic product (GDP) contracted 0.1 percent from the previous quarter on a […]

Egypt Latest

Egypt has been suffering a severe shortage of foreign currency despite a 14.5 percent devaluation on October 27

Egypt private sector shrinks in November after devaluation

Egypt’s non-oil private sector shrank in November at its sharpest rate since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, with a weaker currency weighing on the cost and the availability of foreign goods, a survey showed on Monday. The S&P Global Egypt Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) slid to 45.4 in November from 47.7 […]

Local media quoted finance minister Mohamed Maait as saying the issuance was expected to be at $500 million

Egypt aims to issue first Chinese yuan-denominated bonds

Egypt aims to issue its first “panda” bonds by the end of this fiscal year, deputy finance minister Ahmed Kouchock said on Sunday. “We are just waiting for the right moment,” Kouchouk told an event at the American University in Cairo. Panda bonds are bonds denominated in Chinese yuan but issued by foreign borrowers. Earlier, […]

The first shipment of Egyptian citrus is expected to be exported to the Philippines during the current season

Egypt to restart export of agri products to Philippines

Egypt will start exporting agricultural products to the Philippines after five years of negotiations, Reuters reported, citing the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture statement. The first shipment of Egyptian citrus is expected to be exported during the current season. Egyptian agriculture exports from January 1 to August 24, 2022, reached around 4.49 million tons, Egypt Today […]

Worker, Person, Hardhat
  • Analysis

Africa’s gas dilemma as Europe offers ‘get rich quick’ opportunity

Africa is facing a dilemma: provide gas for Europe now with short-term economic gain or focus funding on the development of renewable energy sources, with long-term energy security, economic growth and stability. Driven by the opportunity to take advantage of soaring prices, gas-exporting African countries are adjusting their energy development plans to meet demand, particularly […]

The anticipated growth is attributed to the resilience shown by the Egyptian economy due to the expansion in public investments

Egypt’s economy may grow 5% on high public investments

Egypt’s economy is expected to achieve overall growth of around five percent by the end of the current fiscal year, Ahram Online reported, citing minister of planning and economic development Hala El-Said. The anticipated growth is attributed to the resilience shown by the Egyptian economy due to the expansion in public investments, she said in […]


Fashion Gulf

Global luxury fashion brands look to the Gulf for growth in 2023

The Middle East and North America are expected to have the highest growth potential for the fashion industry in 2023, as executives deprioritise countries like China in the short term. The war in Ukraine, rising inflation and supply chain pressures are the biggest threats to the fashion industry in the run-up to a challenging year […]


Bahrain real estate trends: From drive-thrus to cheaper hotels

Economic recovery, an increase in tourism and a reputation as one of the safest places in the GCC for international trade has put Bahrain on the investment map. And property is one hot sector.  The total number of real estate transactions in Bahrain in the third quarter of this year was 5,482, according to an […]

Iridium uses AI to cut through jargon and multiple data points to offer actionable insights

Dubai firm using AI to plot corporate sentiment in the Gulf

A UAE management consultancy firm is using artificial intelligence to help companies understand corporate sentiment across sectors and regions. Iridium Advisors in Dubai uses AI analysis to scan and draw insights from 6.7 million words in 1,300 historic earnings calls from companies across the GCC, quantifying what management teams, investors and analysts are telling the […]

food waste turned into compost

Coffee Planet using its waste to help turn desert into fertile soil

A partnership between Dubai-based coffee shop company Coffee Planet and sustainability startup The Waste Lab is helping to turn parts of the desert into arable soil. Desert soil is not completely unusable, but it lacks the organic matter needed to grow crops or vegetation. Coffee shops, meanwhile, have an abundance of organic matter, in the […]

MassiveMusic worked with Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority to capture authentic sounds of the city

MassiveMusic is making some noise with Middle East move

“Sonic branding” is not a term many people outside the marketing industry are familiar with, especially in the Gulf region. But they may become more so, as companies increasingly adopt music strategies to reach their customers.     “We know the effect that successful music can have on communication, and it is fast becoming a point of […]

Lifestyle & People

Shares in Twitter plunged after Musk pulled out of the deal to buy the social network

Twitter CEO Elon Musk says user signups at all-time high

Twitter Inc chief executive Elon Musk says new user signups to the social media platform are at an “all-time high”, as he struggles with a mass exodus of advertisers and users fleeing to other platforms over concerns about verification and hate speech. Signups were averaging over two million per day in the last seven days […]

Manchester United owners mull selling Premier League icon

Manchester United’s US owners have begun looking at options for the 20-times English soccer champions, including a potential sale or new investment in stadium and infrastructure redevelopment. “As we seek to continue building on the club’s history of success, the board has authorised a thorough evaluation of strategic alternatives,” said Avram and Joel Glazer in […]

Cost Coffee Saudi

Branded coffee shops expand across the Middle East

The Middle East and North Africa’s (Mena) branded coffee shops market has grown 10.5 percent to 8,874 outlets in the past year. Saudi Arabia, which named 2022 the year of Saudi coffee, is the largest market in the region, growing 18.5 percent to reach 3,556 outlets and accounting for 40 percent of all stores in […]

Book, Publication, Hotel

Wizarding World of Harry Potter to be built at UAE’s Yas Island

Abu Dhabi-based Miral and Warner Bros. Discovery are to build a Harry Potter-themed land within the Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi on Yas Island, the companies said in a joint statement. “The original Harry Potter stories and the blockbuster film series continue to captivate and inspire hundreds of millions of fans around the world,” Pam Lifford, president, […]

Black Panther stars say film changed perceptions of Africa

Cameras flashed as stars of the highly-anticipated sequel to Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ walked the red carpet at the ‘Wakanda Forever’ premiere in London. Set in the fictional African land of Wakanda, ‘Black Panther’ became a global hit and was hailed as a milestone for racial diversity in Hollywood when it came out in 2018. Released […]

The legacy of falconry lives on in the Arab world

Falcons and the sport of falconry remain not only a thriving niche business but also a proud legacy representing the Gulf’s culture.  The third Saudi Falcons Club auction, which concludes on November 15, has already sold six falcons for SR 645,000 ($172,000). The auction in Malham, north of Riyadh, is run in conjunction with the […]

Renowned artist paints boots and balls for Qatar’s World Cup

Lili Cantero, a 29-year-old Paraguayan artist famed for painting intricate and personal soccer boots for stars including Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho, is preparing a new colourful show of her work to take to the World Cup in Qatar. The Asuncion-born artist is painting some two dozen sets of boots, balls and canvases, many inspired by […]

Giant new mural celebrates ‘warrior’ Maradona in Argentina

An Argentine artist has painted a giant mural of late soccer legend Diego Maradona in Buenos Aires to commemorate what would have been the World Cup winner’s 62nd birthday at the end of October. Muralist Martín Ron filled the 1,600-square-metre wall in the heart of the city with a depiction of Maradona, based on a […]