Our 60-Second Financial Markets summary…

Our 60-Second Financial Markets summary…

Global Markets update:
The Dow Jones, S&P 500 and NASDAQ indices all dropped for the first time since March 2016, as weaker than expected economic data from China and Europe sparked fears of a global economic slowdown. So far this month, the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq are down a respective 5.6%, 5.8% and 5.7%. The week for global equity markets had started with a relief rally spurred by hopes of a truce in the trade war, but then by the end of the week the broadly negative data from China poured iced water on optimism and the main indices both in developed and emerging markets closed the week almost unchanged. The price of Brent oil was little changed: after rising in midweek, it retreated to around $60/barrel due to US crude inventories falling by only -1.2 mn barrels vs predictions of -3.2 mn and worries over China’s weakness. Despite the nervousness among investors gold prices dropped to $1,239/Oz.

MENA News:
Jordan announced a USD 161mn healthcare development plan, including the construction of new hospitals, in line with the government priorities for 2019-2020.
Kuwait’s new passenger terminal, with a capacity to accommodate 25mn passengers annually, is expected to open in 2023. The project will provide 12k jobs for engineers and other trained/ qualified workers, and is also expected to generate additional annual revenues for the state up to USD 300mn annually.
Lebanon’s new government will be formed by end of this year (7 months after the general elections), disclosed the PM-designate at a London event last week, stating that the negotiations were in “the last 100 metres”.
Retail sales across four Gulf nations– Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE – is expected to increase to more than USD 24bn in the next five years, according to Euromonitor International.
UAE leads the region in the adoption of AI solutions, at an annual growth rate of 33.5%. according to a report by the Dubai Technology Entrepreneurship Campus, prepared in collaboration with ArabNet and startAD. UAE is followed by Saudi Arabia with an expected 31.3% annual growth rate in the adoption of AI, the rest of the GCC region at 28.8%, and Egypt at 25.5%.


UAE News:
The UAE and Saudi Arabia have started developing fintech for cross-border settlements, including a digital currency project, according to the former’s Central Bank Governor.
The Dubai Economy Tracker grew in November, rising to 55.3 from October’s 31-month low of 52.5 and the highest since Jun. Construction was the strongest-performing sector (with a reading of 57.5), followed by wholesale & retail (55.4) and travel & tourism (52.8).
Dubai reported a total 11.58mn visitors into the emirate during the nine months to September (holding steady compared to last year), with India, Saudi Arabia and the UK the top source markets.
The number of passengers travelling through the Dubai International Airport increased by 2.1% YoY to 7.01mn passengers in Oct. This brings the total to 74.5mn passengers that used the airport during Jan-Oct this year. India remained Dubai’s top destination country by customer volume, with total traffic reaching 999,771 during September, followed by the UK (502,890) and Saudi Arabia (444,803).
UAE-based UAE Exchangeand US startup Ripple plan to launch cross-border remittances to Asia via blockchain by Q1 2019.
Phase 2 of the VAT refund scheme for tourists will be rolled out from today (December 16): this would cover 12 air, land and sea ports across the UAE. The scheme is already estimated to be processing 3,800 transactions every day in its first phase.
The UAE parliament will increase women’s representation to 50% in the coming parliamentary term; currently, the 40-member Federal National Council is currently chaired by a woman.

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SOURCES:
Nasser Saidi & Associates

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