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A miner inside a tunnel of the Parrilla silver mine, Mexico. Mexico is the world's biggest producer of mined silver.

Silver is riding high but the market remains volatile

With a gain in its spot price of nearly one-third since the start of the year, silver is now 2024’s best-performing precious metal.  It is a major industrial material with an important role in the green energy transition. Yet, while these factors are combining to give silver a moment, analysts are quick to warn of […]

Rooftop dining at a luxury hotel in Doha. The city's construction costs rank second in the region, cheaper than Riyadh but higher than Dubai

Construction is ‘cheaper in Dubai than Riyadh or Doha’

Dubai is only the third most expensive construction market in the Middle East after Riyadh and Doha, research has found. A real estate boom led by the leisure, hospitality and sports sectors, combined with a “distinct shortage of skilled labour”, have driven up construction costs in the Saudi capital to an average of $2,593 per […]

wealthy migrants UAE

Wealthy migrants to UAE boost luxuries but stir inflation

The UAE is likely to attract a new surge of ultra-rich migrants, lured by low tax rates, high-privacy settings and a luxurious lifestyle, at a time of global geopolitical upheaval and heightened anti-money laundering measures in developed countries.  But, while the wave of wealth is likely to stimulate specialised sectors of the economy, the arrivals […]

The purchase of Careem by Uber is the most high-profile startup exit in the UAE, but the number of startups successfully exiting in the emirates is increasing

Rise in startup exits a sign of UAE’s ‘market maturity’

Startup exits – when a new company sells its ownership or stock, for profit or at a loss – are rising sharply in the Gulf, which observers say is proof of a maturing ecosystem. Across the Middle East and North Africa, 43 startup exits were recorded in 2023, up from 15 in 2015, according to […]

The Villaggio Mall in Doha. Qatar's prime malls are succeeding but others are experiencing growing vacancy rates

Premium Qatar malls thrive despite online competition

Large high-end malls in Qatar are winning the favour of consumers who still choose to shop in person amid intensifying competition from the internet. However, other shopping venues are suffering from reduced footfall and growing vacancy rates. The flagship Doha Festival City announced last month that it is fully leased after clinching its 500th retail […]

Mena construction

3D printing fails to live up to hype for Mena contractors

The Mena construction industry has been slow to adopt new technologies such as modular building, blockchain and 3D printing. The latter might be used more as a specialised tool with particular “sweet spots” than in a mass deployment, according to industry experts who spoke at the Construction Technology ConFex event in Dubai earlier this month. […]

Government officials have suggested that construction will continue on Egypt's state-led mega-projects, including the New Administrative Capital city, thought to cost more than $58 billion

Egypt shows signs of recovery after landmark IMF deal

Last Friday marked 100 days since Egypt, the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) second-biggest debtor after Argentina, agreed its latest loan. Eased by a $35 billion development deal with the UAE and increased international concern for Egypt’s economic stability following the outbreak of the war in Gaza, the deal drew a line under more than two […]

DXB airport

The future of DXB: airport could be turned into a city

The $35 billion plan to turn Al Maktoum International into the busiest airport in the world has everyone talking about the remaking of Dubai South. Perhaps a bigger challenge is the redevelopment of the city’s main airport – Dubai International, or DXB. DXB is near some of the city’s most densely populated neighbourhoods and the […]

A pilgrim prays on Mount Arafat, Mecca. Saudi Arabia has been enforcing a strict crackdown on performing Hajj without a permit

Hajj pilgrims feel the pinch as costs rise

The costs of Hajj are getting ever higher for pilgrims coming from around the world to perform the annual rites, which are a duty for every able-bodied Muslim to perform once in a lifetime.  Even pilgrims coming from within Saudi Arabia, for whom the costs are cheaper, are paying around SAR23,500 ($6,266) for up to […]

Private credit or non-bank lending has soared in popularity since the global financial crisis

Better terms and returns swell private credit demand

Private credit in the Gulf is attracting greater interest from borrowers and investors, fund managers say. For borrowers, high interest rates have depressed mid-sized, private company valuations and make selling equity to raise money less alluring. And for investors, private credit offers more regular returns than the likes of private equity. Private credit is non-bank […]

Egypt's new Shariah Index says it has received strong interest from a large number of local, regional, and international investors

Hopes high for Egypt’s shariah-compliant index

The Egyptian stock exchange has announced the launch of a long-awaited shariah-compliant index, a move observers say is likely to attract new investors and boost the North African country’s latent Islamic banking sector. Gulf investors are said to be particularly interested. The chairman of the Egyptian Exchange (EGX), Ahmed el Sheikh, announced that the new […]

People swim in Iceland's Blue Lagoon hot spring in front of a geothermal power plant. Reykjavik Geothermal is working with Taqa in Saudi Arabia

Saudi summons energy to unearth geothermal potential

A Saudi Arabian university has completed drilling a research well as the kingdom steps up efforts to harness its geothermal potential – which industry experts estimate could free up to 1 million barrels of oil a day for export. The 400m deep observation well was drilled by a team from King Abdullah University of Science […]

Hotel franchising is a well established model in the West and is becoming more popular in the Gulf Video length: 07:12

Hotel franchising model takes off in the Gulf

Global hospitality brands are aggressively expanding across the Gulf, stepping up competition and giving disgruntled owners unprecedented freedom to choose how and by whom their hotels should be run. Some hotel owners are opting for franchising agreements and third-party management arrangements. “Operators have become more flexible when offering their brands under a franchise than they […]

A vendor at a vegetable market in Cairo. The IMF is encouraging the Egyptian government to continue selling stakes in state assets

Egypt confronts sell-off of more state assets

More sales of Egyptian state assets from petrol stations to wind farms are likely to be announced in the financial year to June 2025, according to people familiar with the negotiations. A deal with the UAE worth $35 billion to develop a resort at Ras El Hekma on the Mediterranean has eased the pressure on […]

Analysts say consumers believe that wearable technology can help improve their health and quality of life

Wearable tech shoppers track price as well as health

Gulf consumers who are interested in wearable tech – smart watches, rings, glasses and implants – are opting for mid-range gadgets rather than premium devices, industry experts have told AGBI. Dubai retailer Jumbo Electronics reported 50 percent year-on-year growth in the AED600-1,000 (about $163-$272) price segment in the first four months of 2024. The AED1,000-1,500 […]

A worker at Veggitech, a start-up farm in Sharjah, UAE. Agtech startups are looking beyond VC entities for funding

Agriculture startups failing to cultivate VC interest

Agriculture technology founders in the Gulf are having to resort to alternative sources of funding, as interest from venture capital entities dries up. The region is following a global trend. Startups in so-called “agtech” cumulatively raised $1.2 billion across 161 deals in the first quarter of this year, down almost 26 percent and 20 percent […]

Tesla insurance crash

UAE car insurers boycott Teslas over high repair costs

Insurance companies are refusing to offer fully comprehensive insurance cover for Tesla electric vehicles in the UAE because of the huge cost of repairs, a lack of repair expertise and an increased number of accidents. “The repair invoice for Tesla is almost three times as much as an average car,” said Issam Mouslimani, goodwill ambassador […]

Gulf construction client builder

Gulf construction sector rethinks contract terms as costs rise

The Gulf’s construction industry is rethinking the developer-contractor relationship, and procurement and supply chain management, to stay ahead of rising prices of materials and transport bottlenecks as a result of geopolitical volatility. “We are in a part of the world that is very conducive to finding alternatives,” Imad Itani, head of innovation at the Dubai […]

A worker fills up a car at a petrol station in Qingzhou, Shandong province. Electric vehicles are a contributing factor to the fall in Chinese oil demand

Gulf oil producers anticipate peak in Chinese demand

In any discussion of the outlook for oil prices, Chinese demand always features largely. For the Gulf this is particularly crucial. China is the main off-taker of Saudi, Iraqi, Omani, UAE and Kuwaiti crudes.   At the weekend, Opec+ again committed to rolling over oil supply cuts to support crude prices but analysts say its efforts […]

Government initiatives to raise levels of Saudi home ownership have increased the number of mortgage approvals

Saudi new mortgage approvals rebound

A greater supply of affordable housing and a growing resignation among prospective house buyers that interest rates are unlikely to fall substantially is helping to propel a rebound in new residential mortgages in Saudi Arabia. Under Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia set a target to increase home ownership among the kingdom’s adult citizens to 60 percent […]

PM Narendra Modi greets supporters at BJP headquarters in New Delhi. He took office in 2014

642 million votes counted … now India can get back to business

Narendra Modi has claimed victory in India’s election – and many in the Gulf will be delighted at the prospect of a third Modi term. The prime minister’s pro-business credentials and economically liberalising tendencies remain credible, if battered, after 10 years in office.  His Bharatiya Janata Party did not perform as well as expected, however, […]