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

People, Person, Accessories

Aramco raises $11.2bn from secondary share offering

Saudi Aramco closed its secondary share offering on Tuesday, securing SAR42.1 billion ($11.2 billion) for the government exchequer. The proceeds from the offering will rise to SAR46.31 billion if the over-allotment option is exercised in full. The offering was the largest secondary offering in Europe, Middle East and Africa since 2000 and the largest equity […]

Technicians work on a military vehicle at the Otokar factory in Arifiye. Industrial production fell sharply in April

Unemployment rate falls in Turkey but warnings persist

Turkish unemployment levels fell to their lowest rate in more than 11 years in April, helped by strong first-quarter growth.  However, troubling longer-term prospects could mean job queues lengthen again.  Turkey’s headline unemployment rate, covering those aged 15 and over, fell to 8.5 percent in April, the lowest since November 2012 and down from 10 […]

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, president of the UAE, in Abu Dhabi last September. Another EU delegation visited last week

EU woos Emirati investors while keeping UAE on ‘grey list’

The European Union is intensifying efforts to attract investment from the UAE despite keeping the Emirates on its “grey list”, a marker of heightened scrutiny and potential obstacles for investors. An EU delegation visited Abu Dhabi last week to promote the bloc’s Capital Markets Union (CMU) plan. A single market for capital, harmonising exchange regulations […]

private credit Omar Al Yawer Ruya Partners

Private credit fund looks for $250m from Gulf investors

Ruya Partners, which describes itself as the Gulf’s first partner-owned private credit provider, aims to raise $250 million from investors by mid to late 2024, senior executive Omar Al Yawer has revealed to AGBI.  The Abu Dhabi business says regional sovereign wealth funds have become more amenable to investing in the private credit sector. Private […]

Acwa Hofa wind Jordan

Acwa Power to raise $2bn in rights issue

Saudi Arabia’s green energy developer, Acwa Power, plans to raise SAR7 billion ($1.9 billion) in new capital through a rights issue to help treble its assets under management by 2030.  The company, which is owned by the government’s Public Investment Fund, said the new shares issued to current shareholders would allow Acwa to “anchor its […]

A vendor at a vegetable market in Cairo. The IMF is encouraging the Egyptian government to continue selling stakes in state assets

Egypt confronts sell-off of more state assets

More sales of Egyptian state assets from petrol stations to wind farms are likely to be announced in the financial year to June 2025, according to people familiar with the negotiations. A deal with the UAE worth $35 billion to develop a resort at Ras El Hekma on the Mediterranean has eased the pressure on […]

A woman buys cooking oil at a market in downtown Cairo. Falling food prices contributed to the drop in inflation in Egypt

Egypt inflation drops below 30% for first time in 15 months

Egypt’s inflation rate dropped below 30 percent in May for the first time in 15 months, slowing at a faster rate than most had predicted. Urban consumer price inflation was 28.1 percent year on year for May, a drop from 32.5 percent in April, the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics announced on Monday. […]

A cargo ship passes through the Suez Canal

Suez Canal revenues and traffic fell in May

Suez Canal revenues continued to decline in May because of instability in the Red Sea, according to Egyptian media. Revenues fell 64.3 percent year on year to $337.8 million. Last month 1,111 individual ships passed through the canal – down 54 percent on the May 2023 figure of 2,396.  Finance minister Mohamed Maait said last […]

Saudi Arabia's minister of economy and planning Faisal Alibrahim

Saudi Arabia GDP contracts but non-oil growth rises

Saudi Arabia’s economy contracted by 1.7 percent year on year in the first quarter of 2024 due to ongoing oil production cuts, but non-oil growth was up 3.4 percent in the same period, according to adjusted figures released this week.   Last week Opec+ agreed to extend its existing crude output cuts into 2025 in a […]

Oil refinery at PDO. Oman. Rising oil and gas revenues helped increase the sultanate's trade balance surplus

Oman trade balance surplus up 37% on higher oil exports

Oman’s trade balance surplus rose 37 percent year on year to OR2.6 billion ($6.8 billion) at the end of the first quarter of 2024, as rising oil and gas revenues benefited the sultanate’s balance of payments, official data showed. The total value of merchandise exports jumped 16.7 percent year on year to OR6.5 billion, state-run […]

Person, Worker, Clothing

Opec+ output cuts weigh on Kuwait’s economic growth

Kuwait’s real GDP is expected to shrink by 2.3 percent in 2024 as a result of Opec+ production cuts, S&P said in a report. Economic growth is predicted to be 2.4 percent per year from 2025 to 2027 as oil production restrictions ease slightly and the pace of huge government investment projects accelerates. Brent oil […]

Turkey's decision to increase tariffs on Chinese vehicles such as EV maker BYD considers the current account deficit targets and encourages domestic investment and production

Turkey hikes customs duty on Chinese vehicles by 40% 

Turkey will start imposing an additional 40 percent customs duty on vehicles imported from China next month, in an attempt to lower its current account deficit and protect domestic car manufacturers. The extra tariff will be set at a minimum of $7,000 per vehicle or 40 percent of the import value, whichever is higher, according to […]

A worker at Veggitech, a start-up farm in Sharjah, UAE. Agtech startups are looking beyond VC entities for funding

Agriculture startups failing to cultivate VC interest

Agriculture technology founders in the Gulf are having to resort to alternative sources of funding, as interest from venture capital entities dries up. The region is following a global trend. Startups in so-called “agtech” cumulatively raised $1.2 billion across 161 deals in the first quarter of this year, down almost 26 percent and 20 percent […]

Aramco retail investors to get a minimum of 10 shares

The retail tranche of Saudi Aramco’s secondary share offering has been fully subscribed. The retail offering received a total of 1.33 million subscribers at the final offer price of SAR27.25 ($7.27). A minimum of 10 shares will be allocated to each subscriber, with the remaining shares to be allocated on a pro-rata basis with an average […]

Citrus fruits were Egypt's largest agricultural export, and its orange exports are predicted to reach 2 million tonnes

Citrus produce helps Egypt agricultural exports rise

The value of Egypt’s agricultural exports in the first five months of 2024 rose 24 percent year on year, following greater land allocation for produce such as oranges and potatoes. The minister of agriculture and land reclamation, Mohamed Al Sayed Al Quseir, told reporters on Thursday that more than 4.5 million tonnes of agricultural produce, […]

Kuwait business orders. Companies in Kuwait have largely avoided passing increased costs on to their customers

Kuwaiti businesses struggling to meet demand as orders surge

Businesses in Kuwait have accumulated huge backlogs of work and will need to increase capacity and staff levels to meet customer demand, according to ratings agency S&P Global. The monthly purchasing managers’ index (PMI) report for Kuwait revealed companies strengthened employment levels in a bid to satisfy “sharp and accelerated increases in new business” throughout […]

Tesla insurance crash

UAE car insurers boycott Teslas over high repair costs

Insurance companies are refusing to offer fully comprehensive insurance cover for Tesla electric vehicles in the UAE because of the huge cost of repairs, a lack of repair expertise and an increased number of accidents. “The repair invoice for Tesla is almost three times as much as an average car,” said Issam Mouslimani, goodwill ambassador […]

Shares in construction company Drake & Scull resumed trading in Dubai at the end of May after a six-year suspension

Drake & Scull wins $10m appeal in Dubai court

Drake & Scull International (DSI) has won an appeal to receive compensation worth AED36.7 million ($9.99 million) from a major company in Dubai.   The compensation includes bank guarantees, the Dubai Financial Market-listed construction company said on Thursday. In addition, it will receive fees, interest and expenses in the case as per the judgement by Dubai […]

The unified economic license is an initiative by Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development and Abu Dhabi Free Zones Council

Abu Dhabi launches unified economic licences

Abu Dhabi has unified procedures for registering economic licences across the emirate and its free zones, in a bid to make it simpler to set up a business and increase non-oil trade. The unified economic license is an initiative by Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (Added) and Abu Dhabi Free Zones Council. The new […]

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has sacked the governor of the central bank five times in as many years

Turkish court rules president cannot sack central bank chief

A ruling by Turkey’s highest court striking down the president’s authority to dismiss the head of the central bank is being downplayed by Turkish officials. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has sacked the governor of the central bank five times in the past five years. Turkey’s justice minister has insisted the Constitutional Court’s decision did not invalidate […]