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Saudi e-commerce rakes in USD4.3bn Saudi e-commerce rakes in USD4.3bn(0)

Saudis spent USD 4.3 billion on online transactions last year, according to a report by the Arab Advisors Group. CONTINUE READING

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Private sector steps up role in Saudi healthcare Private sector steps up role in Saudi healthcare(0)

As the Saudi government steps up efforts to provide quality healthcare to its citizens, the move opens up a massive opportunity for the private sector. CONTINUE READING

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Riyadh has highest disposable income in GCC Riyadh has highest disposable income in GCC(0)

Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Riyadh are the Middle East’s three richest cities, according to a new survey. CONTINUE READING

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Access to education a challenge in Arab world Access to education a challenge in Arab world(0)

More than 8.5 million children in the Arab world remain out of school, presenting a huge socio-economic challenge for regional authorities. CONTINUE READING

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Saudi firms rake in USD27bn profits in 2013 Saudi firms rake in USD27bn profits in 2013(0)

Profits of Saudi companies exceeded SAR 100 billion (USD 27 billion) for the first time ever last year, according to National Commercial Bank data. CONTINUE READING

Saudi, Egypt, Iraq economies to lead MENA Saudi, Egypt, Iraq economies to lead MENA(0)

Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iraq will be among the world’s 30 largest economies by 2028, according to forecasts by a London-based economic consultancy. CONTINUE READING

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Non-oil to keep Saudi economy riding high in 2014 Non-oil to keep Saudi economy riding high in 2014(0)

Saudi Arabia may rein in massive public sector spending slightly in 2014, but it will still be enough to keep the non-oil sector humming along and ensure domestic demand continues to remain robust. CONTINUE READING

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Saudi spring cleaning labor market with crackdown Saudi spring cleaning labor market with crackdown(0)

Saudi Arabia’s labor problems will “cloud” the country’s short-term outlook, according to analysts. CONTINUE READING

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Investors look for robust returns in Saudi healthcare Investors look for robust returns in Saudi healthcare(0)

Saudi Arabia lags behind regional and global counterparts in healthcare infrastructure, which presents growth opportunities for the private sector, according to a new report. CONTINUE READING

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World Bank names MENA’s best places to do business World Bank names MENA’s best places to do business(0)

United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia emerged as the best countries in the Middle East and North Africa region to do business in. CONTINUE READING

 

Taper fears highlight Saudi’s safe-haven appeal Taper fears highlight Saudi’s safe-haven appeal(0)

Regional investors looking for a safe haven as the US Federal Reserve begins tapering, should look no further than Saudi Arabia. CONTINUE READING

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Saudi has high concentration of large companies Saudi has high concentration of large companies(0)

Saudi Arabia has one of the world’s highest concentrations of large companies, according to. CONTINUE READING

Home construction lifts Saudi property sector in Q2 Home construction lifts Saudi property sector in Q2(0)

Attention shifted to construction contracts in the real estate sector in the second quarter of this year after the Saudi authorities pushed ahead to meet their ambitious target of providing 500,000 affordable housing units to Saudis. CONTINUE READING

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Saudi petchem industry to reach USD11bn by 2014 Saudi petchem industry to reach USD11bn by 2014(0)

Saudi Arabia’s petrochemicals companies saw their half-yearly earnings collectively decline 3.5% this year, but analysts are expecting an improvement in profits in the second half. CONTINUE READING

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Saudi Arabian rig counts set to reach 200 by end-2014 Saudi Arabian rig counts set to reach 200 by end-2014(0)

As the global oil and gas industry turns on its head, Saudi Aramco – the world’s largest oil-producing company — is not sitting still, but tapping into its formidable unconventional natural gas reserves. CONTINUE READING

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Saudi inflation edged up 3.7% on housing costs Saudi inflation edged up 3.7% on housing costs(0)

Saudi inflation edged up in July as strong domestic factors pushed prices upwards. CONTINUE READING

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Saudi Arabia seeks answer to energy needs Saudi Arabia seeks answer to energy needs(0)

Saudi Arabia’s power needs have taken centre stage in recent years as the kingdom’s economy expands and the population rises at a fast clip. CONTINUE READING

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Saudi releases over USD87bn to boost petrochem sector Saudi releases over USD87bn to boost petrochem sector(0)

Under pressure from a resurgent American petrochemicals industry and natural gas shortages at home, major Saudi petrochemicals companies are fighting back with massive expansion plans of their own. CONTINUE READING

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China’s slowing growth dampens appetite for Saudi oil China’s slowing growth dampens appetite for Saudi oil(0)

China’s economy is cooling off and that’s bad news for Saudi Arabia. CONTINUE READING

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OPEC allays fears over group’s dwindling influence OPEC allays fears over group’s dwindling influence(0)

Last month, the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) executive director Maria van der Hoeven, had some unsolicited advice for OPEC: When they meet next, think long-term strategy. CONTINUE READING

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Foreigner entry to fuel Saudi bourse growth Foreigner entry to fuel Saudi bourse growth(0)

News that Saudi Arabia would allow foreign investors to participate in the Tadawul market would give fresh impetus to the market and bring a number ofinternational money managers to the bourse. CONTINUE READING

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Saudi non-oil sector growth outweighs hydrocarbon Saudi non-oil sector growth outweighs hydrocarbon(0)

With the Saudi oil sector expected to generate less revenues this year, the non-oil sector will need to step up and carry the burden of generating growth for the economy. CONTINUE READING

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Weakening demand keeps oil below USD100 Weakening demand keeps oil below USD100(0)

An oil price collapse to USD 90 per barrel could see a 0.4% drop in Saudi GDP, according to estimates by HSBC. CONTINUE READING

Gulf banks’ M&A hunger pangs seen growing Gulf banks’ M&A hunger pangs seen growing(0)

Gulf banks are showing renewed confidence and are hungry for acquisitions, especially as Western banks retreat. CONTINUE READING

Gulf stocks end Q1 with USD751bn market cap Gulf stocks end Q1 with USD751bn market cap(0)

A 5.2% correction in the Dubai Financial Market in the month of March took the shine off an otherwise stellar quarter for the emirate and the wider Gulf markets. CONTINUE READING

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Saudi economy rallies despite oil output drop Saudi economy rallies despite oil output drop(0)

Despite cuts in its oil output, and the generally nervous economic sentiment globally, the Saudi economy continues to race ahead.CONTINUE READING

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SR400B RE Investment Shortfall SR400B RE Investment Shortfall(0)

Saudi Arabia is set to build 2.4 million housing units by 2020, but the Kingdom’s real estate investment is short by SR400 billion to meet anticipated housing demand.

Saudi Arabia housing stock will rise to just over seven million units by 2020, compared to 4.6 million by 2010, according to National Commercial Bank Capital research.

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Saudi-China nexus Saudi-China nexus(0)
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China recently replaced the UAE to become the Saudi Arabia’s largest exporting market. The Asian giant’s share of Saudi exports stood at 15.4%, according to National Commercial Bank report.
This is a significant development for both countries. CONTINUE READING

100 Million Tourists For MENA Countries 100 Million Tourists For MENA Countries(0)
betta design / Foter / CC BY-NC

The Middle East tourism industry’s progress was cut short by the Arab Spring crisis and it’s still reeling from the after shocks that reverberate in countries across the region. CONTINUE READING

US shale: A threat to Saudi dominance? US shale: A threat to Saudi dominance?(0)
dsearls / Foter / CC BY-SA

OPEC finally acknowledged the very clear and present danger of North American shale oil and gas production. CONTINUE READING

The New Saudi Order The New Saudi Order(0)

Saudi Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef’s appointment to the Kingdom’s powerful interior ministry job – replacing Prince Ahmad bin Abdel-Aziz Al Saud — is being seen by many as a precursor for higher office. CONTINUE READING

Project Slow Down In Gulf Project Slow Down In Gulf(0)
mugley / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

More than USD65-billion worth of projects have been awarded in the Middle East North Africa region, according to Citibank Group research. CONTINUE READING

Doing business in the Middle East Doing business in the Middle East(0)

 

JakeBrewer / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Middle East states fared poorly in a new edition of a survey that measures their business friendliness. The World Bank’s annual Doing Business 2013 report saw most countries in the region fall in global rankings. CONTINUE READING

Saudi Arabia: Refinery Hub Saudi Arabia: Refinery Hub(0)
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Saudi Aramco ‘s decision to proceed with the 400,000 barrels per day Jazan Refinery is part of a trend of turning the Middle East into a beehive of global refining activity. CONTINUE READING

KSA to be fastest growing G20 economy after China this year: BarCap KSA to be fastest growing G20 economy after China this year: BarCap(0)

Saudi Arabia will emerge as the second fastest growing G20 country after China this year, while Gulf economies will outpace global and emerging growth, according to Barclays Capital research. CONTINUE RE

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Saudi Economic Outlook 2013 Saudi Economic Outlook 2013(0)

 

Bakar_88 / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

After stellar growth in the past two years, a moderation in oil prices poses stiff challenges for Saudi Arabia in 2013 and beyond.

Saudi economic growth is expected to moderate in 2013 as the global economic slowdown continues to fester and erase some of the exuberance of emerging economies. CONTINUE READING

Saudi mortgage law effect Saudi mortgage law effect(0)

Saudi real estate and mortgage lending jumped 83.4% in the second quarter year-on-year in anticipation of the new mortgage law coming into effect, according to EFG-Hermes data. READ MORE HERE

Saudi Arabia’s record loan growth Saudi Arabia’s record loan growth(0)

The Saudi banking sector is marching forward, shrugging off global fiscal challenges facing the rest of the world.  CONTINUE READING

USD76Bn Of Gulf Debt Set To Mature By 2014 USD76Bn Of Gulf Debt Set To Mature By 2014(0)

More than USD76-billion of bond and sukuk debt is expected to mature by 2014, according to Kuwait Financial Centre ( Markaz ) research. CONTINUE READING

Saudi Banks: 13 Key Trends Saudi Banks: 13 Key Trends(0)

The Saudi banking sector put up a strong performance in the first half of the year, driven by higher trading fees, strong lending and non-interest income, especially in the second quarter. CONTINUE READING

Middle East’s top banks Middle East’s top banks(0)

The Middle East banking sector put up a strong showing in the list of the World’s Top 1,000 Banks. READ MORE HERE

New Saudi Mortgage Law: An Analysis New Saudi Mortgage Law: An Analysis(0)

While analysts are focused on the lack of short-term benefits of the new Saudi mortgage law, the Saudi government believes it is the start of a new financial sector. It is also a golden opportunity for average Saudis to create long-term wealth…. CONTINUE READING

Is Saudi Tadawul Ready For Foreign Funds? Is Saudi Tadawul Ready For Foreign Funds?(0)

Can Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul market withstand foreign investor scrutiny? More so than most other regional markets, says Al Rajhi Capital. CONTINUE READING

Saudi Arabia Among World’s Largest Arms Spenders Saudi Arabia Among World’s Largest Arms Spenders(0)

Middle East states are the biggest military spenders in the world as a percentage of their GDP, with Saudi Arabia emerging as the world’s eighth biggest spender on arms in dollar terms last year, according to SIPRI…. CONTINUE READING

ME’s Great Gas Slowdown: IEA ME’s Great Gas Slowdown: IEA(0)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Middle East’s natural gas production will be a victim of low prices and lack of focus over the next five years, leading to a slowdown in output, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency. CONTINUE READING

Saudi demographic challenge Saudi demographic challenge(0)

The Saudi population is expected to grow by nearly 50% over the next decade. This is both a challenge and an opportunity and key to the government’s long-term development plans, say Standard Chartered Bank analysts….  READ MORE HERE

9 key points from the GCC Summit 9 key points from the GCC Summit(0)

The timing could not have been more inconvenient.

In the week Gulf leaders met to discuss ways to create a more unified group, similar to an ‘EU model’, European Union leaders were struggling to keep their group united amid an unravelling economic and political crisis. READ MORE HERE

$17-Bn MENA Solar Power Projects to Fire Up Renewables Drive $17-Bn MENA Solar Power Projects to Fire Up Renewables Drive(0)

It’s such a waste: enough sunlight reaches the earth in 90 minutes to provide the entire planet’s need for one year, according to the International Energy Agency. READ  MORE HERE

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Facebook Fatwas: Saudi Clerics On Social Media Facebook Fatwas: Saudi Clerics On Social Media(0)

“Perhaps the modern technology, satellite TV and new media, are appropriate environment for the (marginalized),” tweeted Salman Al-Oudah on Tuesday.

That’s quite an ironic tweet, given that Mr. Al-Oudah is hardly a marginalized member of the social media community. Indeed, Forbes magazine ranked the Saudi cleric as the fourth most influential Arab Twitterati in the world, and in addition to his one million Twitter followers in two languages – English and Arabic – he has garnered no less than 63,000 Facebook ‘likes’ at last count. READ MORE HERE

Poster Boy NYC / Foter
Saudi Net Foreign Assets At $600-Billion: Jadwa Saudi Net Foreign Assets At $600-Billion: Jadwa(0)

A Jadwa Investment press statement notes that Saudi Arabia’s net foreign assets rose by a little more than $100-billion to reach $600-billion by the end of 2011, according to its estimate.  

For the first time, data on the total foreign assets and liabilities of all componentsof the Saudi economy (government, companies and individuals) has been published. It showsthat their combined foreign assets grew rapidly in recent years to stand at $707 billion at the end of 2010. With Saudi entities and individuals owing $213 billion to foreigners,total net foreign assets stood at $494 billion at the end of 2010. We estimate that theKingdom’s net foreign assets rose to almost $600 billion at the end of 2011. This is very high and represents a core source of strength for the economy.
Read More

Can Gulf stock markets maintain momentum? Can Gulf stock markets maintain momentum?(0)

With Gulf economies poised for growth on the back of strong macroeconomic policies, regional stock markets are also set for growth. READ MORE HERE

Where To Invest In The Middle East: Bank of America Merrill Lynch Where To Invest In The Middle East: Bank of America Merrill Lynch(0)

With Gulf economies poised for growth on the back of strong macroeconomic policies, regional stock markets are also set for growth.

The two most liquid GCC markets – Dubai and Saudi Arabia – are both up well over 20% since the start of the year, with the Egyptian market also rising an astonishing 33%.  READ MORE HERE

Gulf Emerges As Global Sweet Spot Gulf Emerges As Global Sweet Spot(0)

Nobody even considered looking at MENA states last year, as news of Arab Spring-related crisis, instability and the Iran conflict dominated the headlines.
But buried amid the negative headlines was the regional governments’ resolve to continue pumping funds into their respective economies. READ MORE HERE

Is Saudi Arabia’s Growth Jobless? Is Saudi Arabia’s Growth Jobless?(0)

It will be no mean feat to outpace Qatar’s amazing GDP growth, but that’s exactly what Saudi Arabia is estimated to accomplish in 2012.
The tiny gas giant has been posting double-digit growths for the past six years, but Saudi Arabia, the region’s largest economy may eclipse the country this year, if current trends continue.  READ MORE HERE

Gulf’s USD29 Billion Electricity Bill Gulf’s USD29 Billion Electricity Bill(0)

Gulf states are expected to spend USD29-billion over the next two years on their electricity infrastructure, according to ratings agency Moody’s Investors Services. READ MORE HERE

Can Saudi Tadawul Index’s Blistering Growth Last? Can Saudi Tadawul Index’s Blistering Growth Last?(0)

There is limited upside to the Saudi rally, according to Jadwa Investment, but EFG-Hermes expects a further 15% growth before the end of the year, with a second phase of the rally led by large caps. READ MORE HERE

Top Ten Middle East Stocks In February Top Ten Middle East Stocks In February(0)

Middle East markets had a phenomenal February. Find out which stocks performed outstandingly well, and which failed to get investors enthused. READ MORE HERE

 

What If Oil Prices Drop Suddenly?: The GCC Dilemma, As Imagined By Citibank What If Oil Prices Drop Suddenly?: The GCC Dilemma, As Imagined By Citibank(0)

Barclays Capital expects GCC economies to rise 5.4% this year, but Citibank worries that a sudden drop in oil prices could leave the states with a dilemma: whether to curtail spending or keep pumping funds into the economy. READ MORE HERE

Forbes Billionaires’ List: Middle East’s Richest Lost Big Last Year Forbes Billionaires’ List: Middle East’s Richest Lost Big Last Year(0)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Middle East’s 30 richest people collectively lost USD5-billion, according to Forbes data. In all, sixteen billionaires lost part of their fortunes last year. Find out who lost and gained the most. READ MORE HERE

Saudis Hope To Find 100 Billion New Barrels Of Oil Saudis Hope To Find 100 Billion New Barrels Of Oil(0)

Saudi Arabia is exploring for 100 billions of new barrels to retain its influence in world oil markets.

Saudi Arabia is exploring for nearly 100 billion barrels of new oil in existing fields and offshore in the Red Sea, according to an Associated Press report. READ MORE HERE

OPEC Shia-Sunni Split? OPEC Shia-Sunni Split?(0)

Chatham House says OPEC may be heading for a Shia-Sunni split, but it appears to have discounted the group’s enduring powers and its resilience despite wars and severe disputes between member states. READ MORE HERE

Which Country Will Suffer Most If Strait Of Hormuz Is Blocked? Which Country Will Suffer Most If Strait Of Hormuz Is Blocked?(0)

Which regional companies and countries stand to lose in the event that Iran closes the Strait of Hormuz? Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s takes a look. READ MORE HERE

 

S&P: Which Middle East Companies & Countries Will Suffer If Strait of Hormuz Is Blocked? S&P: Which Middle East Companies & Countries Will Suffer If Strait of Hormuz Is Blocked?(0)

It’s a crisis that won’t go away. While the region is no stranger to Israelis and Iranians trading insults and threats, Tel Aviv’s latest hue and cry over Iran’s nuclear ambition refuses to die down.

Recent bombing attacks on Israeli embassies in New Dehli, Tbilisi (Georgia) and Bangkok was blamed on Iran – claims denied by Tehran – have frayed nerves and the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did nothing to soothe them by attending an event that highlighted Iran’s “nuclear achievements” on Wednesday.

READ MORE HERE

Saudi Arabia’s SR270B Project Pipeline Saudi Arabia’s SR270B Project Pipeline(0)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 17, 2012

Saudi Arabia launched projects worth SAR270-billion last year. No wonder there is a shortage of cement. Expect more shortages as the construction boom kicks off in earnest.

The Saudi Ministry’ decision to ban cement exports to ensure there is plenty of supply available for the local market is a sign of hectic construction activity in the Kingdom. READ MORE HERE

 

Most Trusted Middle East Banks Most Trusted Middle East Banks(0)

Thirty-three Middle East banks are among 500 of the world’s most trusted banks, according to a new study. READ MORE HERE

Saudi Banking Sector Q4 Results Are A Mixed Bag Saudi Banking Sector Q4 Results Are A Mixed Bag(0)

Unlike the global financial services industry, the Saudi banking sector remains in great shape and it is only expected to go from strength to strength as the government continues to support the economy.

While the Kingdom’s financial services industry weathered the global financial crisis in 2008 with great wherewithal, it was the two high-profile bankruptcies in 2009 that had a more pronounced impact on the system, since these led banks to examine their portfolios more closely, and where necessary to help clients to restructure their debt profiles. READ MORE HERE

500 New Hotels Under Construction In The Middle East 500 New Hotels Under Construction In The Middle East(0)

Love My Tours /Foter

Close to 500 new hotels – or 496 to be exact – are being built in the Middle East Africa region, according to STR Global, the hospitality consultancy.

These hotels will feature 133,438 rooms, according to the consultancy, with Dubai leading the way with 13,349 rooms under construction. READ MORE HERE

Riyadh And Jeddah Are Second And Third Fastest Growing Cities In World Riyadh And Jeddah Are Second And Third Fastest Growing Cities In World(0)

Riyadh and Jeddah had a stellar 2010-2011, clocking the second and third highest growth rates in the world according to The Brookings Institution’s 2011 Global MetroMonitor.

Their performance was only bettered by the Chinese economic engine Shanghai, which saw its income rise nearly 10% during the 2010-11 period. READ MORE HERE

Saudi Arabia’s Balancing Act Saudi Arabia’s Balancing Act(0)

While publicly Saudi Arabia may not like Iran’s warning that the Kingdom should not make up for lost Tehran oil production, privately the Kingdom won’t mind as that keeps oil prices well above their budget target of USD90.

For now Saudi Arabia is pumping oil at historically high levels, as Iranian exports drop. U.K.‐based Oil Movements forecasts that sailings from the Middle East may rise 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) above Decemb`er levels. READ MORE HERE

_Skender_ /Foter
100 Largest Economies By 2050: HSBC 100 Largest Economies By 2050: HSBC(1)

January 15, 2012

A year after HSBC released its 2050 report which estimated that Egypt would surpass Saudi Arabia as the largest economy in the Middle East, the bank has dug deeper in its crystal ball-gazing research.

The first report limited its forecast to the world’s 30 largest economies by 2050 – but has now expanded it to 100 nations and includes more Middle East nations.
And like the first edition of the report, there are a few surprises. READ MORE HERE

Saudi Spending To Exceed 2012 Budget, But Surplus Likely: Fitch Saudi Spending To Exceed 2012 Budget, But Surplus Likely: Fitch(0)

January 8, 2012

By Fitch Ratings

Spending by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2012 will likely be higher than budgeted, but the country will still run a fiscal surplus of 4% of GDP, says Fitch Ratings.

Spending growth will moderate in 2012 compared with last year. In 2011, spending growth reached 24%, the highest in a decade. The government raised public sector wages, created government jobs, injected capital into state-owned lenders and pledged more resources for housing. Capital spending – mainly on infrastructure – exceeded 12% of GDP.
Read More

OPEC Outlook: Oil’s Not Well OPEC Outlook: Oil’s Not Well(0)

Opec countries will rake in $900-billion this year. But these outstanding figures mask great turmoil facing group members in the next few
years.

With Brent crude comfortably over $100 a barrel, oil  exports of OPEC countries this year will amount to nearly $900 billion, a 38%
increase over 2010, according to the Centre for Global Energy Studies. READ MORE HERE

MENA 2012 Outlook: Oil Exporting Countries MENA 2012 Outlook: Oil Exporting Countries(0)

In the first part of the 2012 regional economic prospects, a look at oil-rich countries’ efforts to manage their citizens’ expectations, economic slowdown and regional and domestic political upheavals in the New Year.

The year 2011 was probably the most unexpected for the Middle East in decades with  not just the magnitude of changes unravelling in the region, but also the sheer number of those cataclysmic changes. READ MORE HERE

MENA Projects: Saudi Arabia Still the Driving Force; UAE Slowdown Continues MENA Projects: Saudi Arabia Still the Driving Force; UAE Slowdown Continues(0)

Excerpt from Citibank report:

In October this year, $16.9bn of projects were awarded across MENA. On a cumulative basis, just over $82bn of projects have been awarded across the region in the year to end October. This compares favourably with FY10 when almost $80bn of projects were awarded. Saudi Arabia is the main driving force accounting for a third of the 2011 total. Iraq accounts for 20%.The UAE has awarded almost $14bn in the year to end October, almost $20bn below FY10.
Read More

Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE are among the world’s 25 Rapid Growth Markets: Ernst & Young Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE are among the world’s 25 Rapid Growth Markets: Ernst & Young(0)

• 25 Rapid Growth Markets (RGMs) to grow by an average of 6.2% this year and by 5.9% in 2012, compared with 1.6% growth for the Eurozone this year falling to 0.6% next year.

• Qatar had the highest nominal GDP (US$) per capita at PPP in 2010 among the 25 RGMs and has also been the fastest growing economy over the last decade, with an average growth of 13%.

The dynamics of the global economy have changed with a new set of fast-growing markets challenging the position of the established advanced economies. The rapid growth markets (RGMs) are expected to grow collectively by 6.2% this year, almost four times more than the anemic growth expected in the Eurozone according to Ernst & Young’s new quarterly Rapid Growth Markets Forecast (RGMF).
Read More

Will 2011 Be The Best Year For Gulf Banks? Will 2011 Be The Best Year For Gulf Banks?(0)

While their global counterparts slash and burn, Gulf banks are collectively set for their best year – ever — according to KAMCO.

While major blue-chip banks across the world are cutting back, shedding staff, deleveraging and recoiling at the thought of major sovereign defaults in Euroland, Gulf banks have quietly bulked up. Their prudence has allowed them to escape much of the crisis facing the global financial services industry, and they have benefited from great government support that has ensured they lived through the soul-crushing global financial crisis of 2008. READ MORE HERE
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Top Gulf Stock Picks By United Securities Top Gulf Stock Picks By United Securities(0)
whsaito /Foter

Muscat-based United Securities has turned cautiously optimistic on the recent developments by global markets to contain the debt crises and on the back of better than expectation Q3 results in some market sectors.
Read More

$25Bn Gulf Debt Maturities In 2012 Pose Risk: S&P $25Bn Gulf Debt Maturities In 2012 Pose Risk: S&P(0)

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said today that issuers in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries face rising refinancing risks over the next three years because the amount of debt maturing in the region will increase significantly between 2012-2014.

Industry experts estimate bonds and sukuk of about $25 billion will mature in 2012, rising to about $35 billion in 2014. Standard & Poor’s believes the region is therefore entering a challenging loan and bond refinancing cycle, especially given the ongoing volatility in capital markets and fears that slowing global economic growth is already curbing corporate debt issuance and heightening refinancing risk in the region.
Read More

Ten OPEC Forecasts Ten OPEC Forecasts(0)
rickz /Foter

Read the ten major forecasts from Opec’s latest World Oil Outlook, ranging from the challenges and prospects for oil developers to the intense competition they will face over the next 25 years.  READ MORE HERE

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The World’s Most Powerful Arabs: A Forbes List The World’s Most Powerful Arabs: A Forbes List(0)

Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz is the sixth most powerful Arab in the world, according to Forbes list of 70 Most Powerful People. Who else from the MidEast World made the list? And who else should have been. READ MORE HERE

9 Challenges Facing The New Crown Prince Of Saudi Arabia 9 Challenges Facing The New Crown Prince Of Saudi Arabia(0)

The Saudi Press Agency announced the widely-expected news that King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has chosen Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud as Crown Prince and appointed him as Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior.
Read More

RT Video: Allegations Against Iran – ‘Murder Plot Bizarre Comedy Show’ RT Video: Allegations Against Iran – ‘Murder Plot Bizarre Comedy Show’(0)

The allegations against two Iranians soliciting a Mexican drug cartel to assasinate the Saudi Ambassador to the United States has been received with widespread skepticism:
Read More

Iran-Saudi Tensions Escalate After Alleged Assasination Attempt Iran-Saudi Tensions Escalate After Alleged Assasination Attempt(1)

The alleged involvement of Iranians in a plot to kill the Saudi ambassador in the United States adds another layer of uncertainty in the region and escalation of tension between Riyadh and Tehran.

It doesn’t take long for sunny Middle East to turn dark.
Read More

SPECIAL COMMENT: Is A Recession Priced In? SPECIAL COMMENT: Is A Recession Priced In?(0)

 By Khurram Javed, CFA, an Associate at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, Saudi Arabia

“As per the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI), the U.S. economy has already entered a
new recession and it is going to get a lot worse.”
Read More

No Saudi Real Estate Boom, Only A Slow Burn No Saudi Real Estate Boom, Only A Slow Burn(0)

The Saudi real estate sector has not exactly gone gangbusters. When the Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud announced in March a number of measures to stimulate the sector and make housing more affordable, it was expected to be the cue for explosive growth in the real estate market.

Instead, it is a slow burn. Investment bank Rasmala expects the Saudi real estate story seems to be on a positive trajectory. “However, we expect mid single digit increases in house prices over the next two years.” READ MORE HERE

Is The Saudi Government (Unwittingly) Undermining Nitaqat? Is The Saudi Government (Unwittingly) Undermining Nitaqat?(1)

While the new Saudi nationalisation programme has great merits, the  state’s coddling of public sector employees means the private sector is  finding it hard to attract the local workforce. READ MORE HERE

China’s Hard Landing Will Hurt Middle East Economic Prospects China’s Hard Landing Will Hurt Middle East Economic Prospects(0)

The EU and the US economies are not the only headaches for Middle East economies. China’s faltering economy could also hurt the region’s growth prospects.

As the advanced economies were contracting and falling behind earlier in the year, the Gulf and the wider MENA states were hoping Chinese and wider Asian demand to ensure their oil production finding eager buyers. READ MORE HERE
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$525-Billion Energy Capital Investments In MENA By 2016: Apicorp $525-Billion Energy Capital Investments In MENA By 2016: Apicorp(0)

The Arab Petroleum Investment Corporation (Apicorp) expects MENA energy capital investment to reach $525-billion over the next five years.

But the Dammam-based lender estimates that the figure is at least $90-billion short of the ‘investment potential’. The company examined nearly 200 energy projects planned and announced in the public and private sectors. READ MORE HERE

The Middle East’s 10 Most Expensive Retail Locations The Middle East’s 10 Most Expensive Retail Locations(0)

Middle East retail rents staganted in the 2010/11 period which ended in June, according to research consultants Cushman & Wakefield (C&W).

This downward trend was in sharp contrast to the growth seen in other emerging markets. Not surprisngly, some of the countries most affected by the Arab revolt saw the most severe declines. Bahrain’s retail rents fell 26.7% during the period, while Syria saw a 16.7% decline.
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Outlook For UAE Darkens; Gulf Not Immune Either: Deutsche Bank Outlook For UAE Darkens; Gulf Not Immune Either: Deutsche Bank(0)

The UAE which is more aligned than other regional states to global economic  cycles, saw its PMI fall from 57.5 in April to 51.0 in July, suggesting that that any further deterioration in global economies will be felt more in the UAE compared to other Gulf states, says Deutsche Bank. READ MORE HERE

What Do Young People in the Gulf Think?: BAH Study What Do Young People in the Gulf Think?: BAH Study(0)

A Booz Allen Hamilton report surveys 415 young nationals aged 15 to 24 in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar to get a sample of what the youth of these countries think of their future and their countries’ key challenges:

Here are the results in a snapshot.

Surprisngly, more young people think high cost of living is a bigger concern than finding a job. Nationals,, especially in Qatar and UAE enjoy subsidies and benefits from governments but they still appear to think that the cost of living is their biggest concern.
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A victory for Saudi women thanks to Arab Spring A victory for Saudi women thanks to Arab Spring(0)

King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, widely known as a reformer in Saudi Arabia, took another bold step in Saudi Arabia by allowing women to compete and vote it in the municipal elections – although they will have to wait for another four years. In the glacial pace of Saudi reforms, this has come at the speed of light, especially as Saudi Arabia comes under increasing international pressure to improve its treatment of women and its own domestic worries of public dissent.
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SPECIAL COMMENT: Turkey, SIBOS and  Islamic Finance SPECIAL COMMENT: Turkey, SIBOS and Islamic Finance(0)

By Rushdi Siddiqui, Global Head of Islamic Finance, Thomson Reuters

EXCLUSIVE TO ALIFARABIA.COM

I was at two recent conferences, OIC Member States’ Stock Exchange Forum 5th Meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, and SWIFT’s SIBOS massive event in Toronto, and, folks, we have a lot of work ahead of us in Islamic finance/Muslim countries on build out of the capital markets, linkages, etc.

Furthermore, I was speaking to a panellist colleague at the SIBOS event, and we were discussing some of the personalities who have come and gone in Islamic finance in last 15 years, yet provided nothing more than motivational speaking and financial dawah/Khutbaah to fellow Muslims and got compensated handsomely while collecting ‘Best This’ award.
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IMF Comment: Will Inflation In Saudi Return to 2008 Levels? IMF Comment: Will Inflation In Saudi Return to 2008 Levels?(0)

With the ongoing rebound in economic activity, a question that emerges is whether inflation will increase again as it did in 2007–08 when the annual increase in consumer prices peaked at 11.1 percent in July 2008. Many of the drivers of inflation then are also present now, including higher food prices, depreciation of the nominal effective exchange rate, expansion of credit, and rising government spending.
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MENA Needs 3.5 Million New ‘Affordable’ Homes, says Jones Lang LaSalle MENA Needs 3.5 Million New ‘Affordable’ Homes, says Jones Lang LaSalle(0)

The MENA region has a shortage of 3.5 million affordable dwellings, with Egypt, Iraq, Morocco and Saudi Arabia suffering from the biggest shortfalls.

For all the boom (and subsequent busts) in the regional real estate markets, there remains a shortage of a little more than 3.5 million units of affordable housing in the MENA region, according to Jones Lang LaSalle, the real estate consultants.

The largest shortfalls are in the markets of Egypt (1,500,000), Iraq (1,000,000), Morocco (600,000) and Saudi Arabia (400,000), but other Gulf markets also face shortages, brought upon by a host of factors. READ MORE HERE

Predicting Black Swans Predicting Black Swans(0)

Could the Arab Spring have been predicted? More significant, could we have predicted that Saudi Arabia will remain stable throughout the turmoil? Or even where Bin Laden was hiding? New data mining techniques suggest we can. READ MORE HERE

Gulf Banks Safe As Houses Compared To Vulnerable EU Banks Gulf Banks Safe As Houses Compared To Vulnerable EU Banks(0)

Robust and timely support from the Gulf central banks have made the region’s key financial institutions secure and safe powerhouses.

Their strength is in sharp contrast to the banks of the OECD, especially the European banks which are facing a calamitous future especially if the sovereign debt from Greece and other EU states blows up in their faces. READ MORE HERE

Arab Spring Costs Gulf $150 Billion Arab Spring Costs Gulf $150 Billion(1)

Gulf states have pledged $150-billion in response to the regional unrest, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch estimates. But it may not be enough. READ MORE HERE

The world’s best and worst central bankers The world’s best and worst central bankers(0)

Lebanon’s Riad Salameh is ranked as one of the world’s best central bankers. But which Mideast bank governor fares worse than Ben Bernanke and Jean-Claude Trichet? Surprising answer! READ MORE HERE

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