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Gulf beauty K-pop trend

K-beauty is not just a pretty face in Middle East

Thousands of UAE fans flocked to Expo 2022 Dubai when some of K-pop’s biggest musical acts took to the stage.  From Psy and his mega hit Gangnam Style to girlband (GI)-dle, Korean superstars proved to be some of the biggest crowd pleasers at the world fair. And it would appear that devotees do not only […]

Saudi petrochemicals

Saudi petrochemical giants braced for hike in gas costs  

Saudi Arabia’s petrochemicals companies, whose margins have tumbled this year, could be hit by higher prices for gas feedstocks if reforms to state subsidies materialise. The petrochemicals industry is the kingdom’s most important after oil and chemicals manufacturing is a key part of the Vision 2030 economic diversification plan. Yet some producers suffered losses in […]

Saudi spending includes giga-projects such as The Line

New wave of Saudi spending is no cause for concern

A spike in spending during the first quarter of 2023 is likely to lead to a “modest” full-year fiscal deficit for the Saudi government but room remains to make further outlays, experts say. The government recorded a deficit of nearly SAR3 billion ($800 million) in the period, driven by a 29 percent surge in spending, […]

Saudi Italy GCC

Italy woos Saudi and other Gulf nations in trade drive

Italy is courting Saudi Arabia to invest in a new fund, as the European country increasingly turns to the GCC to boost trade and investment volumes. Industry minister Adolfo Urso said Saudi was ready for further investments following a video call with the kingdom’s investment minister, Khalid Al Falih. Italy’s prime minister Giorgia Meloni plans […]

Adult, Male, Man

UAE and Malaysia seek to grow $4.6bn trade with Cepa talks

The UAE and Malaysia will embark on negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (Cepa) after non-oil trade between the two countries last year grew to $4.6 billion. The Emirates are Malaysia’s 17th biggest trade partner globally and the second in the Middle East, accounting for 32 percent of Malaysia’s trade with Arab countries.  Trade […]

UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan

Abu Dhabi tops agencies’ GCC sovereign ratings

UAE capital Abu Dhabi is the highest-rated sovereign in the GCC, while Bahrain and Oman are the only sub-investment grade credit ratings, according to the three major US agencies – Fitch, Moody’s and S&P Global. All three ratings agencies use similar systems, although there are differences in the way their ratings are conveyed. In the […]

Saudi petchems Sabic

Petchems sector shows signs of recovery after torrid Q1

Saudi Arabia’s petrochemicals industry is showing tentative signs of recovery, although product prices are likely to remain under pressure despite the re-opening of the major market of China, analysts say. The sector is the kingdom’s most important earner after oil. Saudi has become a global petrochemicals player thanks to an abundant supply of feedstock gas […]

Saudi PIF US firms

Saudi fund buys into US gaming and e-payments firms

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has bought shares in gaming, electronic payment and alternative energy companies, increasing the value of its US holdings by 14 percent in the first three months of this year. The total value of holdings held by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) in US listed companies was $35.52 billion as of […]

Adult, Female, Person, Gulf, Champagne

Champagne sales in the Gulf fizz by 91%

World Cup fans and wealthy expats led to Champagne imports to the Gulf almost doubling in 2022. After a strong marketing push by French producers helped luxury bubbly become more mainstream, the number of bottles of Champagne shipped to the region surged 91 percent last year. Comité Champagne, the industry body representing French producers, told […]

man, sheikh

Qatar’s QIA challenges UBS Credit Suisse takeover

The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) is said to be considering taking legal action against the Swiss financial authorities following the forced takeover of Credit Suisse by domestic rival UBS. The Qatari fund increased its stake in Credit Suisse in late 2022 as part of the ailing lender’s ultimately failed attempts to bolster its finances following […]

Dubai Pointe Palm Al Jumeirah

The Pointe is latest rebuild in Dubai’s property upswing

The Pointe is the latest in a string of retail and leisure destinations in Dubai that are being repurposed as landowners seek to capitalise on the emirate’s growing property market. State-owned Nakheel Properties confirmed this week that it plans to shut down and redevelop its 130,000 square metre The Pointe on Palm Jumeirah from next […]

Cleverly and Al Nahyan UK GCC

UK debates merits of GCC bloc trade versus separate deals

The UK’s International Trade Committee has voiced doubts about the country’s ability to strike a free trade deal with the GCC. As negotiations approach a fourth round, a new report from the cross-party committee that scrutinises spending policies of the Department for International Trade raised a number of issues. These include differing net-zero targets, agri-food […]

Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum hailed the group's "solid partnerships across the aviation and travel ecosystem"

Emirates’ record dividend lifts total paid to Dubai past $6.5bn

The record AED4.5 billion ($1.2 billion) dividend paid by Emirates Group for 2022-23 has pushed the Dubai government’s total earnings from its flagship airline past $6.5 billion. The group’s annual report released last week showed that over the past 34 years, it has paid 28 dividends to its owner – the Investment Corporation of Dubai, […]

Lebanon business

Lebanon’s export orders rise for first time in two years

In spite of an overall decline in business activity, Lebanon recorded an increase in its export orders during April owing to improved currency stability. “Lebanon’s currency started to stabilise, particularly around mid-April,” Wael Menhem, a partner in the Beirut office of Lundy Investors, said. “It’s the first time in a long time that the currency […]

The Mavericks and the Timberwolves go head-to-head in Dallas on February 13. In October the NBA teams will play in Abu Dhabi

US sports the latest goal for Mena investors

The $500 billion American sports market could be the next target for Middle East investors, analysts have said, as two more NBA teams unveil plans to play pre-season games in the UAE. The Dallas Mavericks will face the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi in October this year. They follow in the […]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan holds an election rally in Ankara

Gulf awaits vital Turkish election results

The Turkish presidential and parliamentary elections on Sunday will be keenly watched by Gulf investors who have bet billions of dollars on the world’s 19th-largest economy. Should incumbent president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling AK Party again prevail in the votes, Turkey will maintain its unorthodox monetary policies. The central bank has slashed interest […]

UAE South Africa energy trade talks

UAE in position to plug South Africa’s energy crisis

Energy is likely to drive a new era in trade relations between the UAE and South Africa as the latter’s power supply crisis will dominate debate at next year’s general election. Experts say UAE energy powerhouses Masdar and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) could be attracted to South Africa in light of the crippling […]

An Investor looks at the screen at the Dubai Financial Market in Dubai DFM

Tadawul and DFM are overvalued, data shows

The companies that operate Dubai and Saudi Arabia’s bourses are providing investors with scant returns because of high valuations and low dividend yields following a prolonged Gulf stock trading slump. Dubai Financial Market (DFM) was the first Gulf bourse to go public, in 2007, while Boursa Kuwait and Saudi Tadawul Group followed suit in 2020 […]

Workers on a construction site in Riyadh GCC

GCC construction dilemma as Saudi ‘sucking up’ skilled talent

Saudi Arabia’s huge construction projects are luring workers out of neighbouring countries in the GCC and resulting in skills shortages, say experts and builders. Construction executives in the UAE and Oman in particular have voiced concerns about the overall resource demands of the region as Saudi Arabia’s market continued to show strong growth during the […]

A lake and popular camping spot near Adapazari. Turkish tourism officials expect a 20% rise in arrivals from the Mena region

Turkey pins hopes on return of Gulf tourists

Turkey is anticipating an increase in visitors from the Gulf countries in the coming months, following devastating earthquakes and Ramadan. Foreign tourist arrivals in the first quarter rose over 26.7 percent year-on-year to 6.2 million, reported the Daily Sabah newspaper, citing data from the Culture and Tourism Ministry. Industry officials expect an average 20 percent […]

Saudi reports budget deficit as revenue hits $75bn in Q1

Saudi Arabia reported revenue of SAR280.94 billion ($74.89 billion) in the first quarter of 2023, the finance ministry said in a budget report. Expenditure reached SAR283.86 billion, falling 21.9 percent from SAR 363.7 billion in Q4 2022. The kingdom’s non-oil revenue rose nine percent to SAR102.34 billion in Q1 2023, up from SAR94.26 billion a […]