If it Feels like a Correction, then it is a Correction...

If it Feels like a Correction, then it is a Correction...

Global Markets Update:
So what happened last week? After a sustained period of unusually high returns and low volatility, the US Stock market had a significant adjustment brought about by fears on rising interest rates and inflation. The major movement happened last Monday, briefly sending the Dow Jones Index down nearly 1,600 points. Despite calls for calm, the tremors were felt globally with the Stoxx Europe 600 and FTSE 100 shedding around 5% for the week, while US stocks are set to record losses of around 7%. The drivers being concerns that we are entering the start of a new era characterised by higher inflation, rising rates and more volatile asset prices. Oil prices posted their biggest tumble in 2 months, as crude production from the US touched a record high, the rig count in the US increased substantially and hedge funds reduced their long positions. Gold prices did not benefit much from the flight to safety effect, but at least they suffered limited losses.

MENA News:
Saudi Arabia plans to spend SAR 120bn (USD32bn) to create a mortgage market: this plan includes an SAR 18bn loan-guarantee program to boost access to funding, and SAR 12.5bn to support home down-payments, according to the country’s housing minister. Supported by the private sector, the government wants to expand the market by more than 70% to SAR 502bn by 2020. The housing program aims to boost ownership to 60 percent by 2020.
Saudi Arabia plans to take ownership of 60% in the MBC Group – the Middle East’s largest private media company while leaving the remainder with the founder and chairman of the company (who had been held during the anti-corruption probe). A Saudi official denied that the government would take any stake in the company.
The VAT, introduced in Saudi Arabia and UAE this year, is “extremely low” by global standards and could be hiked to 10% after 5 years depending on future revenue needs, according to an official from the IMF.

UAE News:
Increased usage of digital payments could yield a net benefit of up to USD 2.2bn (AED 8.08bn) annually to consumers, businesses, and government in Dubai, according to an independent study commissioned by Visa.
UAE announced a plan to create 15,000 private sector job opportunities for its citizens by end of this year. In 2016, the total number of Emiratis hired in the private sector was 5608, with the number rising to 6862 by Dec 2017.
A start-ups accelerator, focused on travel and tourism, has been launched by a few Abu Dhabi government departments and institutions along with WAMDA (an entrepreneurship platform). The programme, named Fikra Labs, will award four winning innovators (before Ramadan this year) a total USD 400k in equity financing.
Dubai welcomed a record 79mn tourists last year, vis-a-vis 14.9mn overnight visitors in 2016. Dubai is the 4th most visited city globally, and aims to receive 20mn visitors per year by 2020. India retained the top spot with 2.1mn visitors, followed by Saudi Arabia’s 1.53mn tourists and UK’s 1.27mn.
Dubai International remains the world’s top-most airport for international passengers for the fourth consecutive year in 2017, receiving 88.2mn passengers (+5.5% yoy). India remained the single largest destination country for Dubai with 12.06mn passengers (+5.4%), followed by UK’s 6.47mn (+6.7%) and Saudi Arabia’s 6.36mn (+4.6%).
Demand for gold jewelry in the UAE fell by 2% to a 20-year low of 42.8 tonnes in 2017, revealed World Gold Council data. 

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SOURCES:
Nasser Saidi & Associates

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