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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
Lucid vehicles

Shares in Saudi-backed EV maker Lucid tumble

Shares in electric car manufacturer Lucid Group tumbled in pre-market trading on Thursday after Saudi Arabia-backed, loss-making company said it would issue further stock to bolster its ailing finances. Saudi Arabia has bet big on Lucid as part of its economic diversification programme, with plans afoot to build a manufacturing plant in the kingdom. Yet […]

ICD profit

Dubai sovereign wealth fund sees profits rise five-fold

Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) reported a five-fold rise in annual net profit on Wednesday as the government-owned holding company benefited from soaring hydrocarbon and transportation-related revenues. Dubai’s sovereign wealth fund owns Emirates and FlyDubai airlines, travel agency dnata, Emirates National Oil Company and stock exchange operator Borse Dubai.  It also holds major stakes in […]

Aramco innovation

Aramco dividends outstrip rival blue-chips

Saudi Aramco’s payouts of dividends surpass those of other leading global companies, and the world’s top oil producer provides sizeable returns for its shareholders in monetary terms. Aramco listed on Riyadh’s bourse in December 2019 following a $29.4 billion initial public offering that sold around 1.7 percent of the government-owned company’s stock. Since then, it […]

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 to invest in Iraq gas field said Iraq’s oil minister Hayan Abdel-Ghani

Saudi Arabia to invest billions in Iraq, officials say

Saudi Arabia will develop an Iraq gas field and invest $3 billion across various industries in the country, Iraqi officials said on Thursday, in a further sign of improving ties between the neighbours. Riyadh has endured a fraught relationship with Baghdad over the past two decades as Iraq fell under the increasing influence of Saudi’s […]

Visitors at a Dubai souq. The tourism sector's 'robust recovery' should help government-related entities to repay debt, said S&P

Dubai’s debt burden set to tumble to 51% of GDP

Dubai’s government debt is forecast to fall to 51 percent of GDP this year, according to S&P Global Ratings, after the emirate repaid some of its outstanding bonds and loans. The figure is down 27 percentage points from a 2020 peak, the ratings agency wrote in a report published on Monday. Yet broader public sector […]

Qatar stock exchange

Qatar fund steps in to up trading on Doha bourse

Qatar Investment Authority will provide up to QAR1 billion ($274.7 million) to fund a programme for the country’s stock exchange that it says will boost share trading, improve pricing and help attract more foreign investors. Such market making programmes are pivotal to the functioning of many stock markets by guaranteeing they will always buy or […]

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 […]

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 […]

Qatar QIA

Qatar announces revamp of sovereign wealth fund

Qatar will reorganise its sovereign wealth fund in what will be its latest economic reform following the successful staging of last year’s Fifa World Cup. The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) is the world’s 10th largest sovereign wealth fund with $475 billion of assets under management according to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute. The country’s ruler […]

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 […]

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 […]

Zain Sudan

Zain Sudan faces revenue hit amid worsening civil unrest  

Zain Sudan, the country’s leading mobile operator, has suffered a hit to its revenue as a result of the spiralling conflict in Africa’s third-largest country, a spokesman told AGBI on Thursday. Internecine fighting between two factions of Sudan’s military began in mid-April. More than 500 people have been killed and nearly 440,000 people displaced, the […]

Sudan telco network still up despite escalating conflict

Despite electricity outages and fuel shortages in heavily contested parts of Sudan, the telecom network of the country’s top mobile operator remains functional in most areas, a spokesman for the company’s parent firm told AGBI. Zain Sudan, which is wholly owned by Kuwait’s Zain group, had 16.4 million subscribers and a 48 percent market share […]

UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan tours the 2023 Idex, where the UAE military awarded contracts worth $6.4bn to local companies

UAE and Saudi Arabia race to develop defence industries

Saudi Arabia and the UAE are spending big to develop homegrown defence industries. The two governments aim to reduce their reliance on foreign arms and equipment manufacturers by partnering with some of their own top suppliers to nurture local expertise and capabilities. Relative to the size of their economies, Middle Eastern countries are among the […]

EADS Eurofighter Typhoon jet

Middle East military spend shoots up after Saudi splurge

A surprise hike in Saudi Arabia’s defence budget combined with higher spending by Qatar and the UAE contributed to an increase in total military spending in the Middle East in 2022, after years of contraction. Two specialist think tanks that made this observation believe the trend is set to persist as steady oil prices support […]

People sit at the Muscat Stock Exchange in Oman

Oman hopes to emulate Gulf neighbours in IPO push

Oman has belatedly launched a renewed part-privatisation drive and plans to float stakes in dozens of state-owned companies, following the success of similar programmes in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The sales aim to boost Omani state coffers and diversify equity listings on the rebranded Muscat Stock Exchange (MSX) – until April 2021, the Muscat Securities […]

Qatar stock exchange

Domestic markets best for Mena investors, says expert

Gulf stock markets bucked a worldwide trend in 2022. While the MSCI Emerging Market index lost 20 per cent over the year and global stock and bond markets were engulfed by gloom, equity benchmarks in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi reached multi-year peaks in May and November, respectively. This year the mood has been more […]


No comment from Emirates NBD on bid for Indian bank

Emirates NBD, Dubai’s largest bank, declined to comment to AGBI on Thursday following reports that it is one of at least five potential bidders for a majority stake in India’s state-owned IDBI Bank.  Emirates NBD and its rival First Abu Dhabi are on the lookout for foreign acquisitions as the Gulf state’s domestic banking sector […]

Presight AI Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange bell ringing

Gulf IPO market could ride out global jitters with state offerings

A wave of initial public offerings in Abu Dhabi shows little sign of abating, despite global market jitters and rising interest rates as investors bet on the emirate’s part-privatisation drive. While Saudi Arabia and Dubai’s bourses have also offered a flurry of new listings over the past 18 months, it’s the UAE capital that is […]

Iraq oil

Iraq revives $10bn deal vital to increasing its oil output

Iraq has agreed terms on a long-stalled $10 billion deal with France’s TotalEnergies and QatarEnergy. The deal includes building a seawater treatment plant, which is vital to increasing oil output in Iraq, Opec’s second largest crude producer.  The Baghdad government wants to nearly double Iraq’s oil production to 8 million barrels per day (bpd) by […]