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


People, Person, Adult

China and US vie for FDI supremacy in Gulf’s biggest economies

China and the United States invested more than $23 billion in projects in the Gulf’s two biggest economies last year. The US more than doubled its “greenfield” foreign direct investment in the UAE to nearly $4 billion, while China’s commitment to Saudi Arabia rose 10-fold to almost $17 billion. Greenfield FDI involves a foreign entity […]

Gulf dollar exports Saudi Arabia

Weakening dollar should strengthen Gulf exports

The US dollar will fall against the euro and Chinese yuan, economists are forecasting, reducing the purchasing power of Gulf currencies but making the bloc’s exports more competitive. A weaker dollar will raise the relative cost of imports from China and much of the European Union, but other factors are more likely to affect inflation […]

Flower, Flower Arrangement, Plant

Modi’s UAE visit ‘adds to execution of deals’

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi deftly blended politics and commerce last week as he opened the Middle East’s largest Hindu temple on a visit to the UAE, a Muslim state that is home to 3.5 million Indian expatriates and a major trading ally.  The temple’s inauguration was widely covered in Indian media, while tens of […]

The DIFC's Gate building. The centre's law came into force on March 8

DIFC’s law tipped to help digital assets go mainstream

The Dubai International Financial Centre has introduced a law to define and regulate digital assets – a move that should herald their integration into more parts of the economy, lawyers have told AGBI.   The DIFC legislation came into effect on March 8 and classifies the assets as property. Digitally tracked items such as cryptocurrencies, non-fungible […]

Latest Trade News

Mineral products contributed the highest value at OMR839 million among Oman's non-oil commodity exports, a 143 percent surge year on year

Oman’s trade surplus rises 21% on higher crude exports

Oman’s trade surplus rose 21 percent year on year to OMR1.7 billion ($4.4 billion) by the end of February 2024, according to government data. The total value of merchandise exports reached OMR4.4 billion during the period, a 20 percent increase, compared to OMR3.7 billion a year ago, state-run Oman News Agency reported, citing statistics from the […]

UAE Spain Marbella

Marbella beckons for Abu Dhabi real estate developers

A joint venture with a high-end Spanish residential developer has been launched by two Abu Dhabi real estate companies to build ten hectares of luxury homes in the Golden Mile, a premier area in Marbella. The deal with Mabel Real Estate to co-build Mabel Marbella Residences is the first luxury project in Europe for Bloom […]

Investment talks. Dubai reported 1,650 FDI projects in 2023

Dubai tops ‘greenfield’ FDI ranking for third year

Dubai is the world’s top location for “greenfield” foreign direct investment for the third consecutive year, according to fDi Markets. A total of 1,070 greenfield FDI projects, where a company sets up in a foreign country, building its facilities from the ground up, were reported in Dubai in 2023. This was more than double the […]

Europe provides a large source of Dubai's tourists

GCC-EU trade drops by $8bn as talks pause

Trade between the GCC and the European Union fell by 4 percent last year to $180 billion, as the two trading blocs struggled to agree terms for a free trade agreement. Figures shared exclusively with AGBI by Eurostat, the EU’s statistics authority, show Saudi Arabia was the bloc’s biggest trade partner from the GCC, with […]

King Leung of InvestHK says Middle East investors are 'scooping up high quality, positive cash flow generating assets at very, very attractive valuations'

Hong Kong plans fund on Saudi stock exchange

Officials in Hong Kong are planning to set up an exchange-traded fund with Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange, as Middle East investors increasingly go “bargain hunting” in the Asian city state to take advantage of lower valuations. An exchange-traded fund (ETF) is an investment fund traded on regulated stock exchanges, much like individual stocks are bought and […]

Workers at a textile factory in Istanbul. Turkish exporters are hoping for an increase in shipments to the Middle East

Turkish exporters cautiously optimistic for rest of year

Turkish exporters are predicting a strong second half of the year, with expectations of increased shipments to traditional markets and growth into the Middle East.  There are lingering concerns that global risk factors will blow a chill wind over sales, however.  Turkey’s exports accelerated 3.6 percent in the January to March quarter, with sales worth […]

Saudi US China Amit Medha

Saudi Arabia willing to drop China for US tech alliance

Saudi Arabia will sever technology ties with China if the United States compels it to, the chief executive officer of Alat, an investment company backed by $100 billion in capital from the Public Investment Fund, has revealed. According to Bloomberg US officials have told their Saudi Arabian counterparts that they will have to decide between […]

Accessories, Formal Wear, Tie

EU looks for alternatives as trade talks with GCC stall

The European Union is actively seeking alternative “avenues” for economic cooperation with the GCC following a deadlock in free trade agreement talks, said Johannes Hahn, the EU commissioner for budget and administration. “We would be interested, of course, to get an agreement [with the GCC], but we have not made a lot of progress,” Hahn […]

A declaration of intent to begin Cepa talks was signed by UAE minister of state for foreign trade Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi and New Zealand trade minister Todd McClay

UAE and NZ in talks to build on non-oil trade

The UAE has agreed to start negotiations on a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (Cepa) with New Zealand as part of plans to boost the Gulf state’s foreign trade to AED4 trillion ($1.1 trillion) by 2031.  A joint declaration of intent confirming the agreement has been signed by Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi and Todd […]

Shoppers in the Philippines' capital, Manila. UAE trade with the country was worth $2 billion in 2023

Philippines is next stage of UAE’s Asean trade push

Negotiations on a free trade agreement between the UAE and the Philippines began this week as the Gulf state turns its focus to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations bloc (Asean). Manila is hoping to seal a deal before the end of this year, said Allan Gepty, undersecretary for international trade at the Department of […]

Maersk CEO Vincent Clerc. The company said its vessels are now using 40 percent more fuel per journey

Red Sea disruption to hit capacity by 20% says Maersk

Danish shipping major Maersk expects Red Sea disruption to lead to a 15 to 20 percent industry-wide capacity loss on the Asia to North Europe and Mediterranean routes in the second quarter of 2024. The complexity of the situation in the Red Sea has intensified over the last few months, the company said in an […]

Freight trains on the Oman-UAE rail network will reach 120 km per hour, while passenger trains will reach 200 km per hour

Work to start on $3bn Oman-UAE rail network

Work will soon start on the $3 billion Hafeet Rail, a railway network between Oman and the UAE, local media has reported. The railway line will include two 2.5 km long tunnels and 36 bridges, Oman Daily Observer reported, citing Abdul Al Hatmi, CEO of Asyad Group. Oman Rail, part of Asyad Group, and the UAE’s Etihad […]

Saudi Arabia’s industry and mineral resources minister Bandar Al-Khorayef. The country is struggling to meet an FDI target of $100bn a year by 2030

Saudi industry minister tempts investors with funding incentives

Saudi Arabia’s ministry of investments and mineral resources is prepared to finance up to 75 percent of industrial projects in the country, as the kingdom tries to boost its low foreign direct investment (FDI) numbers.  Bandar Al-Khorayef, the minister of industry and mineral resourcespointed to well-developed infrastructure across 36 industrial cities, prefabricated factories ready to […]

DMCC CEO Ahmed Bin Sulayem says there is 'there is plenty of untapped potential' for UAE trade with Japan

Dubai free zone to build on UAE-Japan trade

A Dubai free zone has concluded a trade roadshow in Japan as the UAE looks to increase non-oil bilateral trade, which was worth nearly $7.5 billion in the first half of 2023. Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre (DMCC) said its first Made for Trade Live roadshow in Japan focused on web3, gaming and artificial intelligence. DMCC contributes […]

Mehrdad Bazrpash, the Iranian minister of roads and urban development, will be in Abu Dhabi for the meeting this week

UAE and Iran to meet in Abu Dhabi after 10 years

The UAE-Iran Joint Economic Cooperation Commission will convene in Abu Dhabi this week, marking its first meeting in a decade and the continued improvement of diplomatic relations between the countries. The commission will host Mehrdad Bazrpash, Iranian minister of roads and urban development, alongside Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, the Emirati minister of economy, this […]

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi meets with Tiit Riisalo, Estonia’s Minister of Economic Affairs and Information Technology

UAE-Estonia trade grows around tech collaboration

The digital economy is expected to be at the forefront of trade between the UAE and Estonia as the former Soviet state positions itself to become a European centre for deep tech projects. Officials from both countries met on Saturday in Abu Dhabi, with artificial intelligence and health tech highlighted as areas for greater collaboration. […]

UAE Ukraine cepa Yulia Svyrydenko, Ukraine’s minister of economic development and trade, and Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, the UAE’s minister of state for foreign trade, sign the deal between the two countries

UAE prepares for ‘new era’ in Ukraine with trade deal

The UAE has finalised the terms of a trade deal with Ukraine, as the Gulf state looks to become a key player in rebuilding the country once its war with Russia is over. The comprehensive economic partnership agreement (Cepa) aims to build on the $386 million bilateral non-oil trade between the two countries last year. […]