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Economy and markets news from the Middle East. All the important stories, exclusive interviews, plus authoritative opinion and analysis

Turkey's treasury and finance minister Mehmet Şimşek and IsDB president Muhammad Al Jasser at the IsDB annual general meeting in Riyadh

Turkey secures $6bn from Islamic Development Bank

Turkey has secured $6.3 billion in funding over the next two years from the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group to support its economic development.  The facility will support sectors such as education, health, transport, finance, agriculture, industry, energy and infrastructure, state-run Anadolu Agency said, quoting Turkey’s treasury and finance minister Mehmet Şimşek. The total amount consists of $2 billion […]

Construction work at Egypt's new administrative capital. Real estate 'is a very strong inflation hedge', says Aldar's Faisal Falaknaz

Aldar’s Egyptian sales unhindered by war and economic risk

Real estate developer Aldar says geopolitical and economic volatility is not affecting its expansion in Egypt. The Abu Dhabi-listed company acquired its Egyptian subsidiary Sodic in December 2021. Since then, sales have risen by more than 50 percent on a dollar-basis, Faisal Falaknaz, Aldar’s chief finance and sustainability officer, told reporters on Monday.  “What has […]

GCC economic data

GCC economic data

The latest economic indicators for the Gulf Co-operation Council countries: the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain

Migrants attempting to reach Italy from Tunisia. About 270,000 so-called irregular migrants arrived in the EU via sea crossings last year

EU reveals total aid to North Africa to combat migration 

The European Union provided €673 million ($718 million) in funding to four North African countries from 2021-23 to help the quartet reduce what it calls irregular migration to the 27-member bloc, official data shows. Last year about 270,000 “irregular migrants” arrived in the EU via sea crossings, 64 percent more than in 2022. Crossings from […]

A square in Cairo

‘Worst is behind us’ in Egypt’s black market dollar war says BMI

The Egyptian government’s priority for 2024 should be to keep the gap between the official and parallel exchange rates for Egypt’s pound and the US dollar as narrow as possible, says BMI Research. In a webinar on Tuesday BMI, a Fitch Group firm specialised in country risk, said that “the worst is behind us” in […]

Saudi defence spending

Saudi Arabia world’s fifth biggest arms buyer in 2023

Saudi Arabia remains the world’s fifth largest arms buyer, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The think tank’s latest report said that Saudi Arabia spent $76 billion on arms in 2023, a 4 percent increase on the previous year, making it the biggest spender after the US, China, Russia and India. The kingdom’s […]

Officer, Person, Adult

Saudi fund agrees $67m deal to support Omani SMEs

The Saudi Fund for Development in Oman has signed an OR 25 million ($67 million) deal with the Oman Development Bank to finance startups and create more jobs for the sultanate’s youth. The agreement is part of a wider $150 million package of support provided by the Saudi government through the fund, which offers loans […]

BEIJING, CHINA - APRIL 08: U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks during a press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing on April 8, 2024 in Beijing, China. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen visits China from April 4 to 9. (Photo by Jiang Qiming/China News Service/VCG )No Use China.

US treasury holdings high in Saudi Arabia’s estimation

Saudi Arabia’s holdings of US treasuries stayed close to a two-year high in February at $130.5 billion as yields rose in recent months, according to new data. The Saudi central bank’s holdings fell $3.2 million month on month, or 0.3 percent, to $130.5 billion, maintaining Saudi Arabia’s place at number 17 in the list of […]

A customer paying with a credit card inside the Black Friday Market in Beirut. Lebanon wants more people to move away from cash

Lebanon launches plan to promote use of bank cards

Lebanese central bank Banque du Liban announced a new agreement on Thursday that it hopes will result in a rebound in the use of bank cards. As part of the agreement, Mastercard and Visa will lower card fees on transactions, particularly for people with bank accounts based outside Lebanon. In a press release, the bank […]

Saudi Arabia’s GDP in 2025 should rise 6 percent, the IMF has predicted

IMF cuts Saudi GDP growth prediction

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has cut its estimate for Saudi economic growth in 2024 to 2.6 percent in its most recent World Economic Outlook, but raised its expectation for 2025.  The IMF’s April report says it’s GDP estimate is down from the 2.7 percent in predicted in January. However, the it said that Saudi […]

reducing inflation Egypt Mohamed Maait finance minister

Reducing inflation is Egypt’s top priority, says minister

Reducing inflation in Egypt to align with the central bank’s target is the government’s main priority, the country’s finance minister, Mohamed Maait, has announced. Inflation in Egypt fell to 33 percent in March from 38 percent in September, passing the central bank’s target range of a 5 to 9 percentage point fall. Maait, speaking at […]

Egypt growth forecast Cairo street

World Bank lowers Egypt’s growth forecast again

The World Bank has downgraded Egypt’s growth forecast for the current fiscal year to 2.8 percent, the lowest for 11 years, despite recent investment in the country of nearly $60 billion. In its latest Middle East and North Africa economic update, the bank blamed “sluggish industrial sector performance” and the effects of war in the […]

Real GDP growth projection for the UAE was revised to 3.9 percent this year, up from 3.7 percent

World Bank raises UAE’s economic growth outlook

The World Bank has raised its UAE economic growth forecast for 2024 and 2025, citing robust non-oil sector growth and higher oil output. The real GDP growth projection for the Gulf state was revised to 3.9 percent this year, up from its previous forecast of 3.7 percent in January, the World Bank said in its […]

A container vessel passes through the Suez Canal. Global supply chain volatility is falling, according to the latest data

Transportation costs fall as Suez disruption eases

Global transportation costs fell last month to their lowest level since December as the diminishing impact of Suez Canal disruption led container rates to decline.  Latest data shows no discernible impact on supplies from either the Red Sea attacks or from reduced capacity on the Panama Canal, with businesses adjusting to longer delivery schedules. The […]

Passengers board a bus in Riyadh. Saudi transport costs fell 1.8 percent year on year

Inflation eases to 1.6% in Saudi Arabia

Inflation in Saudi Arabia fell to 1.6 percent in March, from 1.8 percent in February, driven mainly by housing rents. The trend of lower price rises over the past year continued.  The consumer price index hit a high of 2.8 percent year-on-year inflation in May 2023 but has been under 2 percent since September.  The […]

The UAE wants dialogue to address the ripple effects of geopolitical challenges on global trade

UAE to advance talks on debt sustainability at global event

The UAE’s finance ministry intends to advance discussions on global macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability at the 2024 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WBG). The spring meetings will be held in Washington, D.C., from April 15 to 20. The UAE will also promote a dialogue to address […]

A woman buys cooking oil at a market in downtown Cairo, Egypt

EU to provide ‘urgent’ $1bn short-term aid to Egypt

The European Union (EU) will provide €1 billion ($1.1 billion) in urgent short-term financial aid to support Egypt’s economy. The funding is part of the larger €5 billion macro-financial assistance package.  The remaining €4 billion will be released as longer-term assistance over 2024-2027 but is yet to be cleared by the 27-member bloc. The aid […]