Economics Editor, Europe, Middle East and Africa
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Mar 30, 2015

UAE drafting law for 100 pct foreign ownership of firms -minister

DUBAI, March 30 (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates is at
an advanced stage of drafting a foreign investment law that
would allow 100 percent foreign ownership of businesses in some
sectors, the economy minister said on Monday.

Sultan bin Saeed al-Mansouri, speaking at an international
investment conference in Dubai, did not specify the sectors or
say when the law might be passed. The process of drafting and
enacting major laws in the UAE often takes years.

Mar 26, 2015

Saudi drawing down FX reserves to cover deficit, data suggests

DUBAI, March 26 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia has begun drawing
down its foreign currency reserves for the first time since 2009
to cover a record state budget deficit caused by the plunge in
oil prices, data from the Saudi central bank indicated on
Thursday.

Tens of billions of dollars of Saudi money may be withdrawn
from Western, mainly U.S., banks and financial markets this year
as the world’s biggest oil exporter copes with a sharp reduction
in its revenues.

Mar 8, 2015

Rebounding Mobily lifts Saudi; Egypt climbs after GDP data

DUBAI, March 8 (Reuters) – A continued rebound by
telecommunications firm Mobily after its shock earnings
restatements buoyed Saudi Arabia’s bourse on Sunday, while Egypt
rose after strong economic data. Most Gulf markets moved little
because of uncertainty about oil prices.

Cheap oil has dampened trade in most Gulf markets for the
last several months, and the latest oil price move was negative:
Brent crude fell 1.2 percent to below $60 a barrel on
Friday, posting its biggest weekly loss since January.

Feb 20, 2015

Yemen FX reserves stabilize but borrowing balloons in political crisis

DUBAI (Reuters) – Yemen’s foreign exchange reserves have stabilized after a steep fall due to its political turmoil, but ballooning government debt issuance indicates the country may be moving closer to a fiscal crunch, central bank data showed on Friday.

Shi’ite Muslim Houthi rebels completed a takeover of the capital Sanaa last month while in the south, forces loyal to former president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi still appear in charge. Tribal conflicts and al Qaeda insurgency are also disrupting Yemen’s oil and gas exports and other parts of the economy.

Feb 19, 2015

Orascom Construction to raise up to $241 mln in Egypt share offer

DUBAI, Feb 19 (Reuters) – Orascom Construction
plans to raise as much as $241 million in a sale of new shares
in Egypt over the next few weeks, in a move that could help to
re-energise Cairo’s stock market after years of political and
economic turmoil.

The company, which will offer up to 15.8 million new shares
representing 15 percent of its ordinary equity capital, said on
Thursday that it would price the shares at between $13.33 and
$15.23 each.

Feb 12, 2015

Second-tier stocks boost Saudi, other markets narrowly mixed

DUBAI, Feb 12 (Reuters) – Second-tier stocks boosted Saudi
Arabia’s bourse on Thursday as oil prices rebounded from an
overnight tumble, but other Gulf markets were narrowly mixed.
Egypt’s stock index fell but ended well off its lows.

Brent oil slid about 3 percent to below $54 a barrel
on Wednesday but by the time the Saudi market closed on Thursday
it had rebounded to above $56, heartening investors who have
been taking the oil price as their main cue in recent months.

Feb 10, 2015

Confident Gulf bond market shrugs off S&P downgrades

DUBAI, Feb 10 (Reuters) – Confidence that the Gulf oil
exporting states can ride out an era of cheap oil supported
prices of their international bonds on Tuesday after Standard
and Poor’s cut its debt ratings or outlooks for several of the
countries.

Taken together, S&P’s actions were the biggest move by a
rating agency in the Gulf since the price of Brent crude
plunged below $60 a barrel in December, from $115 last June.

Jan 31, 2015

Lavish freebies from Saudi king to buoy economy, markets

DUBAI (Reuters) – A lavish payout to public employees ordered by Saudi Arabia’s new King Salman will help to sustain the kingdom’s consumer boom and reassure financial markets that the government is not slashing expenditure in the face of low oil prices.

On Thursday, Salman ordered the immediate payment of two months of bonus salary to all state employees and pension to retired government workers, in a string of decrees which also reorganized the economic policy-making apparatus.

Jan 23, 2015

New Saudi king to focus economic policy on jobs as oil sags

DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s new king is expected to focus economic policy on creating jobs and multi-billion dollar infrastructure projects to prevent tumbling oil prices from causing social tensions or undermining business confidence.

King Salman, who took the throne in the early hours of Friday after the death of his brother King Abdullah, inherits an economy that faces its biggest challenge since the global financial crisis in 2009.

Jan 22, 2015

Growth in Gulf Arab oil states to slow moderately this year: Reuters poll

DUBAI (Reuters) – Cheap oil will slow growth in most Gulf Arab economies this year but heavy spending by governments and healthy private sector activity will prevent any serious slump, a Reuters poll showed on Thursday.

The poll of 17 economists, conducted over the past two weeks, was the first since global oil prices plunged to near six-year lows, slashing the energy export revenues of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

    • About Andrew

      "Based in London, I manage economics and emerging markets coverage in the EMEA region and reporting on emerging markets in the area. Before moving to EMEA in early 2009 I spent almost 20 years in Asia as a journalist, based in Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo, Singapore and Shanghai."
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