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Monday, 25 December 2017

Emirates' economy set for brighter times in 2018 - The National

Emirates' economy set for brighter times in 2018 - The National:

"Tim Fox, the head of research and the chief economist of Emireates NBD, talks about the outlook for the UAE in the coming year. What are your forecasts for the UAE economy in 2018? How will that growth vary between Dubai and Abu Dhabi? The UAE’s economy likely grew 2 per cent in 2017, down from 3 recorded in 2016. The slower growth rate was entirely due to cuts to oil production, in line with Opec’s overall strategy to limit output and reduce excess supply in the global crude market – a strategy that supported the recovery in oil prices last year. The outlook for 2018 is constructive, and we expect growth to accelerate to 3.4 per cent. The oil sector is expected to contribute positively to overall GDP growth next year, as several GCC countries have indicated they will look to boost crude output gradually in the second half next year. Non-oil growth will likely be driven by public sector infrastructure investment rather than consumer demand. Our assumptions are for Dubai to grow by 4.2 per cent and for Abu Dhabi to grow by 2.9 per cent in 2018."



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Qatar bourse continues to be under bearish spell

Qatar bourse continues to be under bearish spell:

"Qatar Stock Exchange continued to be under bearish spell to trade under 8,600 levels as foreign funds largely kept away from the market in view of Christmas. Increased buying support from local retail investors notwithstanding, the 20-stock Qatar Index fell 0.36% for the second consecutive day to 8,569.58points. There was increased net selling by domestic institutions and lower buying support from non-Qatari individuals in the bourse, whose year-to-date losses were seen at 17.89%."



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VAT implementation in Oman postponed until 2019 | GulfNews.com

VAT implementation in Oman postponed until 2019 | GulfNews.com:

"The application of the selective tax on certain products will start by the middle of 2018, the ministry said. No further details have been given about the postponement by the Omani authoirites. In November, 2016, Oman announced that it will implement value-added tax (VAT) by the beginning of 2018 in a move to diversify its revenues amid the decline in oil prices. "



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mostly quiet as Abu Dhabi's Dana soars before court hearing

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mostly quiet as Abu Dhabi's Dana soars before court hearing:

"Gulf stock markets were mostly quiet in moderate trading volumes on Monday as Abu Dhabi-listed Dana Gas jumped ahead of a court hearing on its effort to avoid redeeming $700 million of Islamic bonds. Abu Dhabi’s index edged up 0.3 percent as Dana jumped 13.2 percent; it was the market’s most heavily traded stock by far. A court in the emirate of Sharjah was expected later on Monday to hear a case in which Dana is seeking to have its sukuk declared invalid under United Arab Emirates law."



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Saudi transformation in 2017 and the year ahead | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi transformation in 2017 and the year ahead | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"To say that 2017 was an eventful year for Saudi Arabia is an understatement. It was full of great achievements, formidable challenges, and some surprises. Regional and international events aside, domestically Saudi Arabia went through a real transformation in governance and economic policy. There were several milestones during the year, but I will address three: Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s elevation to crown prince in June, the unprecedented campaign against corruption in November, and the expansionary budget announced last week during one of the worst economic downturns in recent years. On June 21, on the recommendation of the Allegiance Council, King Salman chose Prince Mohammed to be his crown prince and next in line to the throne, in addition to being deputy prime minister and minister of defense. That move streamlined Saudi governance at the highest levels and was accompanied by major restructuring of several government institutions. The Office of Public Prosecutor, for example, was elevated to Cabinet level, reporting to the king directly. It was granted more independence in carrying out its quasi-judicial tasks, a move that was essential later in the year when it handled the anti-corruption campaign. On Nov. 4, Saudi Arabia launched its largest anti-corruption campaign in recent history. Authorities arrested hundreds of senior princes, officials and businessmen suspected of shady deals, and froze the bank accounts and other assets of many more. Over 200 individuals were detained during just the first week of the campaign, and 1,200 accounts frozen."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mostly quiet, Dana Gas leaps in Abu Dhabi | ZAWYA MENA Edition

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mostly quiet, Dana Gas leaps in Abu Dhabi | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Gulf stock markets were mostly quiet in thin, early trade on Monday although Abu Dhabi-listed Dana Gas jumped ahead of a court hearing on its effort to avoid redeeming $700 million of Islamic bonds. Abu Dhabi's index gained 0.5 percent as Dana jumped 11.8 percent; it was the market's most heavily traded stock. A court in the emirate of Sharjah was expected later on Monday to hear a case in which Dana is seeking to have its sukuk declared invalid under United Arab Emirates law. "



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GCC banking sector performance to be resilient in 2018 in slow growth environment | GulfNews.com

GCC banking sector performance to be resilient in 2018 in slow growth environment | GulfNews.com:

"The banking sector in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is expected to deliver a stable performance in 2018, reflecting strong financial fundamentals, particularly in the largest banking systems such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia, according to rating agency Moody’s. While slow economic growth, fiscal and geopolitical risks are expected to pose challenges to profitability and loan quality of the region’s banks, the raging agency expects strong capitalisation levels with high loan-loss reserves providing banks strong loss-absorption capacity. “Low oil prices and [the] resulting fiscal consolidation measures have dampened economic activity in the GCC. Non-oil economic growth will remain modest but will pick up slightly in 2018 to 2.6 per cent as Brent oil prices stabilise at the upper end of our $40 (Dh146) and $60 (Dh220)/barrel band, opening some room for more gradual fiscal consolidation. Having said that, expected VAT [value-added tax] introduction could initially dampen non-oil growth, while extension of Opec [Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries] production cuts throughout 2018 will weigh on real oil sector growth,” said Olivier Panis, a Vice-President and Senior Credit Officer at Moody’s. "



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Saudi finance ministry sells $1.27bln of domestic sukuk | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi finance ministry sells $1.27bln of domestic sukuk | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Saudi Arabia's finance ministry said on Sunday it had sold 4.775 billion riyals ($1.27 billion) of domestic sukuk in its monthly sale by re-opening the government's October issue for a second time. The ministry sold 2.400 billion riyals of five-year sukuk, 1.800 billion riyals of seven-year and 575 million riyals of 10-year. Applications for the offer totalled 10.325 billion riyals. Last month, the ministry sold 6.68 billion riyals of sukuk in the first re-opening of the issue, and in October it sold 10 billion riyals. "



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Qatar Shares to Kick Off 2018 Near Cheapest Level in 8 Years - Bloomberg

Qatar Shares to Kick Off 2018 Near Cheapest Level in 8 Years - Bloomberg:

"After being battered by political turmoil this year, Qatari shares are set to start the next one near their cheapest levels relative to emerging-market peers since early 2010. That’s a change for the nation’s stocks, which traded at a premium for most of the preceding three years. A selloff triggered by a political spat between Qatar and its neighbors sent valuations plummeting. While politics will remain in focus in 2018, analysts and investors say some shares in Doha are now trading at attractive levels."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf slips in thin trade, Egypt hits record high

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf slips in thin trade, Egypt hits record high:

"Gulf stock markets slipped on Sunday as trading volumes were mostly low because of the absence of many foreign investors for Christmas holidays. Egypt rose to a record high but volume was very low there too.

The Saudi index fell 0.4 percent as telecommunications firm Zain Saudi lost 2.0 percent and rival Mobily dropped 2.4 percent.

Arabian Cement fell 1.2 percent after saying its merger talks with Al Safwa Cement had ended without agreement. It did not elaborate."



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