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Matt Smith


Matt Smith is a former Reuters correspondent who has covered the Middle East and North Africa since 2006, specialising in various sectors including stock markets, telecoms, technology, banking and finance

Matt Smith
A man rides a bicycle past bank Emirates NBD head office in Dubai, UAE

UAE bank profits grow on greater lending and higher interest

The UAE’s top 10 banks expanded their combined net profits in the third quarter versus the previous three months thanks to growing demand for corporate and retail borrowing, improved lending margins and lower impairments. A report by consultants Alvarez & Marsal studied the country’s biggest homegrown lenders by assets including leading duo First Abu Dhabi […]

Woman chef arrsanging food at dnata

Dubai’s investment arm almost doubles profits

Transport and finance have helped the Dubai government’s investment body almost double profits for the first half of the year. Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) reported an 86 percent rise in first-half net profit on Thursday as earnings from its financial services and transportation divisions surged. ICD, which is the Dubai government’s main investment unit, […]

On top of the world: as Dubai's largest real-estate developer, Emaar is seen as a safe bet for investors

Investors favour Emaar for Dubai property returns

Dubai’s residential property sector rebound has reaped huge profits for the emirate’s developers and landlords. Yet for equity traders, there is really only one investible conglomerate: Emaar Properties and its subsidiary, Emaar Development. There has been upheaval among second-tier developers listed on Dubai’s bourse, while the other major players, such as Nakheel, Dubai Properties and […]

ADIB headquarters building ADIB’s earnings increased by almost half during the first nine months of 2023

ADIB expects profits to keep rising after stellar year

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank’s net profit margin will expand further, according to its group chief financial officer Mohamed Abdelbary. The sharia-compliant lender has enjoyed a bumper first nine months of 2023 in which its earnings increased by nearly half. “We’ve managed to capitalise on the increase in interest rates in the market because of the […]

Carbon credits are traded by companies to offset their emissions

Dubai startup to create Africa carbon offset projects

Dubai’s Blue Carbon will deliver environmental and societal benefits from its carbon offset projects in Africa, a senior executive has said, rejecting criticism from independent experts who question whether such schemes lead to real emissions reductions. In September Blue Carbon, whose chairman is Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook al Maktoum of Dubai’s ruling family, signed a memorandum […]

Woman in forest with sun shining

Adnoc says revised emissions target is ‘strong step’ forward

Adnoc, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, aims to be “net-zero operations” in terms of greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, five years earlier than originally planned. The government-owned energy company is investing billions of dollars to cut its in-house carbon emissions. Crucially, its targets exclude emissions created by customers consuming its oil and gas, although […]

Cabin crew member Anna Orszulik and pilot Wilfried Woelfel in a VistaJet Global 7500: the company offers 'an alternative to private jet ownership'

India and Gulf tipped as key markets for private jet hire

Private jet operator Vista Global Holding is expecting the Middle East and India to be its fastest-growing markets in the luxury aviation industry. The Dubai company’s “pay for hours flown” platform, VistaJet, has a fleet of about 360 aircraft available at 24 hours’ notice. “The most dynamic and fast-growing markets for us are the Middle […]

An Adnoc petrol station in Sharjah. The oil giant aims to raise production capacity to 5m barrels per day

Hydrocarbon has role in ‘fair’ energy transition, says Adnoc

Adnoc believes hydrocarbons will play a role in the energy transition despite their contribution to climate change, the Abu Dhabi state oil company has told AGBI. “All credible energy outlooks” show that “both renewable and conventional energy will continue to be needed to ensure a fair and responsible energy transition,” said a spokesperson. “We recognise […]

A 19-seater operated by VistaJet, one of the Gulf's private jet companies

Gulf’s thriving private jet industry uncowed by eco concerns

The Gulf’s private aviation industry is buoyant as executives, ruling family members and other wealthy individuals use its services to travel across the region and beyond. In the first half of 2023, there were 7,300 private flights to or from Mohammed bin Rashid Aerospace Hub, which is part of Dubai’s Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC). […]

aviation offset sustainable aviation fuel

Aviation in struggle to reach net zero targets

Gulf commercial airlines have committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 by switching to sustainable aviation fuels, adopting new technologies and buying carbon offsets, among other measures. But they face challenges in doing so. The aviation industry hopes measures such as these will enable it to realise two seemingly conflicting ambitions: doubling the volume […]

Etisalat HQ, Abu Dhabi

Royalty levy change is ‘non-event’ for UAE telcos  

Changes to the way royalties are levied on the UAE’s telecom operators will make little difference to their earnings, the companies affected say.   This week, Emirates Telecommunications Group Co, which rebranded as e& and is widely known as Etisalat, announced that for the three years starting January 1 2024 it will pay a royalty of […]

The United Nations’ REDD+ scheme gives developing countries money for preventing deforestation

What went wrong with nature-based carbon credits

Nature-based carbon credits were supposed to be a means whereby countries and companies, Middle Eastern entities among them, could offset their greenhouse gas emissions. Advocates of the credits have argued they help mitigate climate change and at the same time benefit rural communities.  Yet the reality has disappointed. After Cop26 in Glasgow in late 2021, […]

Sabic site in Jubail

Sabic slumps to loss as petrochem prices slide

Petrochemicals producer Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) swung to a net loss in the third quarter, hit by a slump in product prices, a loss from offloading a subsidiary and a hefty impairment on its European operations. Sabic, 70 percent owned by Saudi Aramco, made a net loss of SAR 2.88 billion in the three […]

US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. The Fed has maintained interest rates, with a knock-on impact on treasuries

Middle East varies tactics amid US treasury volatility 

As expected, the US Federal Reserve kept interest rates on hold at its meeting this week. Always keenly watched in the Middle East because of its hefty reliance on the dollar, US interest rates are also important due to their influence on US state debt, known as treasuries.  Yields on US medium-dated government debt have […]

A screen displaying stock market index is seen at the Saudi stock market in Riyadh

Middle East bonds drop despite issuance surge

Middle East bond indexes endured a tough October, extending the losses for 2023 despite a bumper year for regional debt issuance. The slump in the benchmarks mirrors a sustained surge in US treasury yields. Bond yields and prices are inversely correlated, while Gulf bonds are priced based on a spread over US treasury yields. As […]

A seller with packs of sugar at a market in Cairo. The Egyptian government recently announced it would lower the prices of seven essential commodities

Egypt needs more dollars before devaluation, warn experts

Egypt will devalue its currency further after December’s presidential election, as the country needs more time to increase its dollar reserves and give it a better chance of stabilising its ailing currency, analysts told AGBI. The Egyptian pound is linked to a basket of currencies in which the dollar is dominant. Policymakers have slashed the […]

Signage at Bank of America Tower in Manhattan. It topped the GlobalData list

US banks lead pack for M&A advice in Middle East

US banks have been the top advisers for mergers and acquisitions in the Middle East and Africa this year, research has found. Bank of America advised on deals with a combined value of $9.9 billion in the first nine months of 2023, followed by JP Morgan at $7.6 billion and Citi at $6.3 billion. “Bank […]

The first residents of Oxagon, a Neom project, are due to move in next year

Neom and Denmark’s DSV in $10bn logistics partnership

Saudi Arabia’s Neom and Danish freight forwarder DSV have entered into a $10 billion logistics joint venture (JV) that will serve the $500 billion giga-project in the kingdom’s northwest. The JV will provide supply chain management including delivering goods and materials to Neom, the companies said in a joint statement. Neom, owned by Saudi Arabia’s […]

A trader at the Egyptian stock exchange in Cairo. Qatar has already invested over $5.5bn in Egypt's financial, real estate and energy sectors

Egypt shines as Mena’s top performing bourse in 2023

Egypt’s benchmark stock index soared to another all-time high this week, extending a prolonged rally as investors bought equities to hedge against soaring inflation and a fragile Egyptian pound. The EGX30 Index is the Middle East and North Africa region’s top performer in 2023, rising 51.2 percent to October 17, although in dollar terms its […]

Hoping for a rebound: an investor keeps track of prices at the Kuwaiti bourse

Kuwaiti stocks toil but analysts foresee 2024 rebound

Overpriced valuations, high interest rates and oil production cuts have sapped investor confidence in Kuwait, and the country’s stock market is among the Mena region’s worst performers this year.  Despite this, analysts predict a sustained rebound in crude prices, steady corporate earnings and renewed government infrastructure spending. This could boost ebbing sentiment and spark a […]

A worker counts Turkish lira at a currency exchange in Ankara. S&P Global Ratings this month upgraded Turkey to 'stable' from 'negative'

Turkey and Egypt can trip up Gulf lenders says analyst

Gulf banks are in a resilient position as oil production cuts crimp economic growth, but lenders could face headwinds from macroeconomic volatility in Egypt and Turkey, an S&P Global analyst said this week.  In Turkey, Dubai’s Emirates NBD owns Denizbank and Qatar National Bank owns QNB Finansbank, the country’s eighth and ninth largest banks by […]

Riham ElGizy, CEO of Saudi carbon credit company RVCMC

Saudi carbon credit firm to invest in Middle East and Africa

Saudi Arabia’s Regional Voluntary Carbon Market Co plans to invest in carbon abatement projects in the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia, the CEO of the government-backed startup has told AGBI. Saudi’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Saudi Tadawul Group, owner of the kingdom’s stock market, last October launched RVCMC. PIF holds an 80 percent […]