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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 […]

GCC Western brands boycott

Boycott of western brands hurts GCC workers, Apparel chief warns

Boycotts of western brands by Gulf consumers in protest against the Gaza conflict only hurts local workers in the region, the founder of the fashion and lifestyle retail conglomerate Apparel Group has warned. The company, which is based in the UAE and handles more than 80 brands from the US, Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia […]

The impact on shipping through the Suez Canal has been less severe than feared, says the WTO

Middle East exports to rebound as Red Sea fears ease

Middle East goods export volumes, which include oil and gas, will expand 3.5 percent this year, the World Trade Organization predicts, adding that disruptions to Red Sea maritime trade are proving less severe than feared. The WTO’s Global Trade Outlook and Statistics report, published on Wednesday, says this expected increase contrasts with a 1.6 percent […]

Vitol expects global growth of 1.9 million bpd this year, driven by China, India and increased air travel boosting demand for jet fuel

Oil price to hit $100 if Opec+ cuts continue says Vitol chief

Crude prices are likely to reach $100 per barrel in 2024 if Opec+ maintains its output cuts, a global commodity trader has said. The supply-constrained market has already reached an average price of $83 per barrel this year, S&P Global Commodity Insights reported, quoting Vitol CEO Russell Hardy’s speech on Tuesday at a summit in […]

The free trade agreement was signed in May 2022 by the two countries' economy ministers: Orna Barbivai of Israel and the UAE's Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri

Israel’s trade with Arab countries up 16% in 2023

Trade between Israel and the seven Arab countries that have normalised relations with the Jewish state broke records in 2023, exceeding $4 billion, up 16 percent from 2022, according to a report. Bilateral trade among the nations decreased by only 4 percent following the outbreak of the war in Gaza in October, from $937 million […]

Lebanon's caretaker prime minister Najib Mikati has called for 'immediate assistance' from UN agencies

Lebanon PM to declare ‘agricultural disaster zone’ in south

Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister Najib Mikati is to declare the south of the country an “agricultural disaster zone” as the conflict in Gaza batters Lebanon’s beleaguered economy. Speaking at a cabinet meeting on Thursday, Mikati called for “immediate assistance” from UN agencies and Lebanon’s international partners to help the country overcome the impact of a […]

An employee inspects a well head in the Yarakta oil field in Siberia. Russia's oil output has been hit by Ukrainian drone attacks on facilities

Oil prices rise again ahead of Opec+ talks on Wednesday

Crude oil prices consolidated on Monday, following a run of increases in the first quarter, fuelled by signs of recovery in China, tighter supplies by the Opec+ producers and geopolitical tensions. Brent was trading slightly higher at $87.28 a barrel in the morning, while West Texas Intermediate rose to $83.45. Brent has gained about 15 […]

Nejmeh Square in Beirut. Visitor numbers to Lebanon for the first 10 months of 2023 were up 21% on the previous year

Lebanon reports visitor increase despite border conflict

Visitor numbers to Lebanon increased to their highest levels last year since the 2019 economic crisis, despite conflict on the southern border dampening tourism since October. Figures released by the Ministry for Tourism showed the number of visitors to Lebanon in 2023 reached 1.67 million, a 13.7 percent year-on-year increase. Lebanon registered 1.94 million inbound […]

A Starbucks cafe in Beirut, Lebanon. Jobs are being cut due to 'continually challenging trading conditions' in the Mena region

Kuwait’s Alshaya lays off Mena Starbucks staff

Kuwait’s Alshaya Group, one of the Gulf’s largest franchise owners, is cutting jobs at its Starbucks outlets.   The coffee brand has suffered from calls for a boycott since the start of the Gaza conflict. “As a result of the continually challenging trading conditions over the last six months, we have taken the sad and very […]

Osama Rabie, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, was speaking at the Marlog marine infrastructure conference in Alexandria

Egypt plans extension to make Suez Canal a ‘dual carriageway’

Egypt is to extend the “dual carriageway” segment of the Suez Canal, to allow northbound ships and southbound ships to travel the full length of the canal simultaneously. The canal’s first double-channel stretch opened in 2015. This extension will add 50km in the north and 30km in the south, the chairman of the Suez Canal […]

Asked about reports the IMF loan could rise to $12bn, managing director Kristalina Georgieva said: 'There is nothing wrong in thinking big'

IMF expects bigger loan deal for Egypt within weeks

The International Monetary Fund expects a financing package for Egypt to be finalised within weeks, its chief said on Tuesday – while also entertaining speculation that the loan could rise to $12 billion. Speaking on the sidelines of a G20 finance meeting in Brazil, IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva told Reuters that issues delaying the […]

red sea shipping crisis gcc

GCC companies safeguard stocks against Red Sea crisis

Businesses in the GCC are adding up to three months to their supply chains as disruption in the Red Sea persists. Despite the increased costs, a survey of executives from the region revealed companies are maintaining “substantial extra inventory” in the face of the current geopolitical uncertainties. The fourth annual Trade in Transition study by […]

An Ooredoo shop in Tunis. Tunisia is one of the countries where the company intends to improve connectivity

Ooredoo to spend $1bn upgrading overseas networks

Qatari telecoms group Ooredoo is to spend $1.1 billion upgrading its mobile coverage and quality of servies in a number of key overseas markets. Over the period 2024-26, the company will allocate substantial sums to improve connectivity in Algeria, Tunisia, Gaza and the West Bank, Iraq and the Maldives.  Ooredoo’s operations in Gaza have been […]

Visitors enjoy the Karnak Temples; the government hopes to entice 30 million tourists to Egypt a year by 2030 tourism egypt

Egypt tourism up 5% in early 2024 despite Gaza conflict

The number of tourists visiting Egypt increased by five percent year on year in the first 40 days of 2024, according to Egypt’s tourism minister, Ahmed Issa. The announcement came after reports in January that visitor numbers for the whole of 2023 reached a record high of 14.9 million, just shy of the 15 million […]

KFC, Pizza Hut and Hardee's at Americana Plaza Mall in Cairo. All three fast food brands experienced a regional drop-off in Q4 2023

UAE diners eat local as global fast food faces boycott

Homegrown restaurants in the UAE are reporting a lift in sales since the start of the Israel-Gaza conflict, as diners opt for local brands over international fast-food outlets. Steve Flawith, founder of UAE-based Yolk Brands that operates the Pickl and BonBird chains, said its sales have increased by 15 to 20 percent since the start […]

Stunted GDP growth 'is largely due to short-term cuts in oil production' said IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva

IMF chief says oil cuts weigh on Mena GDP growth  

Gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) is expected to reach 2.9 percent in 2024, which is higher than last year, but still below October 2023 projections, International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Kristalina Georgieva said. “This is largely due to short-term cuts in oil production, the Gaza-Israel conflict, […]

Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud. Saudi Aramco has been instructed to maintain output at 12m bpd

Business as usual at next Opec+ meeting say experts

Opec+ is unlikely to make any drastic policy changes when it holds its ministerial panel on Thursday, according to industry experts. It is thought the organisation, which consists of the Saudi-led Opec bloc and the Russian-led non-Opec group with 10 participants, will probably focus on verifying members’ compliance with agreed output levels and their commitment […]