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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
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 […]

MTS Bank

UAE revokes licence of Russia’s MTS Bank

The UAE central bank on Friday revoked the Abu Dhabi licence of Russia’s MTS Bank, five weeks after the United States and the UK placed the Moscow-based lender under sanctions. MTS must close its UAE operations, including shutting its Abu Dhabi branch, within six months, according to a statement issued by UAE state news agency […]

Israeli gas exports Egypt

Iraq wins court battle to halt Kurdistan oil flow

Iraqi Kurdistan’s control over its oil industry is in jeopardy following a landmark international court ruling in Iraq’s favour which has halted pipeline crude exports from the semi-autonomous region.  Iraq had sued Turkey, arguing that only the Baghdad administration had the legal right to export oil via a pipeline to the Turkish city Ceyhan, not […]


Pharma spurs rebound in Emirates cargo growth

Pent-up demand for pharmaceuticals and the Middle East’s ongoing e-commerce boom are among the biggest growth drivers for Emirates airline’s cargo business, while airfreight capacity to and from Asia’s major manufacturing hubs remains constrained.  Cargo is a key part of Emirates’ operations, generating revenue of AED 21.65 billion ($5.9 billion) in 2021-22, or 37 percent […]

How Emirates’ equine service delivers for the Dubai World Cup

Saturday’s $30.5 million Dubai World Cup, the world’s richest horse racing event, has again attracted a stellar field of thoroughbreds. More than 120 horses will compete across the nine-race programme at the Meydan racecourse – and most steeds will fly in via Emirates airline’s specialist equine aircraft. The event’s line-up features a huge contingent of […]

Adnoc group CEO

Adnoc lines up another unit for Abu Dhabi listing

Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (Adnoc) plans to launch an initial public offering of its maritime and logistics unit in June, Reuters reported, in what will be the government-owned conglomerate’s latest flotation of an ancillary business.  Adnoc’s part-privatisation drive began in 2017. It has sold minor stakes in subsidiaries Adnoc Drilling, Adnoc Gas, Adnoc Distribution, […]

Credit Suisse, which was taken over by UBS this week, is part owned by SNB

SNB shares rebound following UBS-Credit Suisse deal

Shares in SNB on Tuesday rose for a second session since the state-backed lender said its profits would be unaffected by the UBS takeover of rival Credit Suisse, the Swiss bank in which it owns a minority stake.  Saudi National Bank’s stock rose 3.4 percent to SR45.90 ($12.24), taking its gains to 10.6 percent from […]

terminal, boats, sea, cranes

PIF-backed Oman infrastructure fund raises $1 billion

Omani infrastructure investor Rakiza, which is backed by Saudi Arabia’s PIF, has closed its first fund, raising more than $1 billion from participants.  Rakiza has already spent a quarter of this money in buying three Omani assets – a 30 percent stake in a telecom tower portfolio, 31 percent of a Port Sohar container terminal […]

A worker at Nahr Bin Umar oil field, north of Basra. Iraq has about 8% of global oil reserves

145 billion barrels of oil, but patience is running dry in Iraq

Iraq has vast reserves of crude oil – 145 billion barrels as of 2022 and more than 8 percent of the global total – but economists and analysts have warned that Baghdad will struggle to meet its output targets unless it offers better operating terms to Western oil majors. The country remains hugely reliant on […]

Ades Holding is expected to raise about $1.22bn from selling more than 338.72 million existing and new shares

Saudi Arabia to introduce SPAC listings

Saudi Arabia plans to allow special-purpose acquisition companies, also known as SPACs, to list on the kingdom’s bourse, a top official told a conference this week. These entities raise money through an initial public offering (IPO) and then use the proceeds to acquire other companies. SPACs were seen as a simpler, quicker and more effective […]

Grass, Plant, Tree

Rolls-Royce sees Mena as ‘driver’ for green power growth

The Middle East and Africa’s rapid urbanisation and push to decarbonise power generation is a “great economic driver” for Rolls-Royce, the British engineering firm’s regional chief told AGBI. Rolls-Royce is one of the world’s top aero engine manufacturers, supplying civilian and military craft, although its power systems division provided 26.4 percent of its £12.69 billion […]

Emirates NBD

UAE’s biggest banks mull overseas acquisitions

As domestic loan growth wanes, the UAE’s top two banks are eyeing foreign acquisitions to bolster their income.  First Abu Dhabi (FAB) and Dubai’s Emirates NBD are majority owned by their respective emirates’ governments or ruling families and are ranked second and sixth in the Middle East and Africa in terms of bank assets, according […]

Morocco vegetable exports

Morocco can weather storm of fruit and vegetable shortage

Recent adverse growing conditions in Morocco have caused shortages of some fruit and vegetable produce in European supermarkets, particularly in the UK, but the impact will not dent economic growth in the North African country this year, the World Bank said. British supermarkets last month introduced rationing of some popular produce as a result of […]

People, Person, Woman, Man

GCC firms compete for talent as they expand workforce

Gulf employers, especially in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, expect to expand their workforces further this year, boosting salaries as organisations vie to hire the region’s best talent. Top recruitment agency Hays surveyed about 4,500 working professionals in the GCC in the final three months of 2022. It found that last year 67 percent of […]

doctor, stethoscope, phone

Mandatory health coverage boosts Middle East insurance sector

Mandatory health insurance requirements swelled Gulf insurers’ income last year, although growth will slow in 2023 and profitability remains a challenge despite the coverage boom. Those are some of the findings in a report by S&P Global Ratings which predicts easing inflationary and supply chain pressures should lower costs arising from property, motor and casualty […]

Tupan's drone has a range of 1,000km

Brazilian cargo drone maker expands operations to Dubai

Tupan, a Brazilian cargo and military drone manufacturer, is setting up operations in Dubai, in a bid to help speed up e-commerce deliveries and boost cross-border trade, the company’s CEO told AGBI. The UAE’s civil aviation authority in December published what it said were the world’s first regulations for vertiports to govern the use of […]

The Central Bank of Morocco in Rabat

Rising interest rates will help struggling Mena banks

Rising interest rates are likely to help major banks in Egypt, Morocco and Jordan to remain profitable in 2023 despite loan defaults increasing and a darkening global economic outlook, S&P Global Ratings forecasts.  But banks in the three countries remain vulnerable because of higher funding costs, commodity prices and inflation and lower tourism revenue.  The […]

People, Person, Sport

Qatar sees 341% surge in VC sports and fitness funding

Venture capital funding into Qatari sports and fitness startups nearly quadrupled last year as the country’s multibillion dollar hosting of the 2022 World Cup helped swell interest in related industries.  In 2022, sports and fitness startups received 15 million riyals ($4.12 million) in funding – up from around 4.4 million riyals a year earlier – […]

Mohamed Saif Al Suwaidi, director general of the Abu Dhabi fund, visits an agricultural business in KIZAD

Abu Dhabi and World Bank unit to invest $1.5bn in emerging markets

Abu Dhabi and a World Bank subsidiary have agreed to invest up to $1.5 billion in sustainable private sector-led projects in emerging markets. Under the memorandum of co-operation, which was signed at the World Government Summit in Dubai on Tuesday, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development and the World Bank’s IFC (International Finance Corporation) will […]

PIF buys stakes in construction firms as Saudi boom continues

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has spent $1.3 billion buying “significant” minority stakes in four local construction companies, the sovereign wealth fund said in a statement on Tuesday. The kingdom is enjoying a building boom, with projects valued at more than $1.1 trillion underway and a further $64 billion of construction contracts forecast to […]

The parlous state of the Lebanese economy has led to protests over the past 12 months

Lebanese businesses learning to live with dollarisation

Lebanon’s pound, which has fallen 98 percent against the dollar on the black market, will depreciate further unless policymakers enact meaningful reforms and restructure the country’s moribund financial industry.  Such actions seem unlikely, with Lebanon’s caretaker government seemingly unable to resolve an economic crisis the World Bank describes as among the worst since the 1850s. […]