Economics Editor, Europe, Middle East and Africa
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Nov 24, 2014

Oman considers spending cuts, tax rises as oil tumbles

MUSCAT, Nov 24 (Reuters) – An advisory body to Oman’s
government has suggested sweeping spending cuts and tax rises,
including a levy on liquefied natural gas exports, to cope with
the hit to state revenues from the plunge in oil prices.

Oman has run a small budget surplus so far this year but the
slide of the Brent crude oil price to around $80 a barrel in
recent months, from levels of around $115 in June, promises to
push it into deficit next year unless oil rebounds sharply.

Nov 23, 2014

Casablanca financial centre plans arbitration body to grow in region

MARRAKESH, Morocco, Nov 23 (Reuters) – Casablanca’s
international financial centre will launch a business
arbitration body this week in an effort to expand its footprint
in the region, an official involved with the project said.

“In the past, African companies might go to Paris, Brussels
or Geneva to resolve their business disputes,” said Said
Ibrahimi, chief executive of the Moroccan Financial Board, a
public-private body which oversees Casablanca Finance City.

Nov 21, 2014

Morocco to spend, reform to double foreign investment -minister

MARRAKESH, Morocco, Nov 21 (Reuters) – Morocco plans to
boost state spending in support of industry and reform
regulations as part of an effort to double foreign direct
investment by 2020, investment minister Moulay Hafid Alamy said.

Unlike many Arab economies, Morocco managed to avoid a big
drop in FDI in the wake of the global financial crisis and the
Arab Spring uprisings of 2011, partly by marketing itself as an
export base for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Nov 20, 2014

Casablanca Stock Exchange plans board for smaller firms

MARRAKESH, Morocco, Nov 20 (Reuters) – The Casablanca Stock
Exchange will set up a new board for the shares of small and
medium-sized enterprises to make it easier for them to raise
money, the exchange’s chief executive Karim Hajji said.

Limited access to finance for small firms is hurting
Morocco’s efforts to create more jobs. At the same time,
authorities want to cut companies’ heavy dependence on bank
loans, which can make it hard for the central bank to tighten
liquidity without starving the corporate sector of finance.

Nov 6, 2014

NASDAQ Dubai to promote Egyptian firms’ dual listings

DUBAI, Nov 6 (Reuters) – NASDAQ Dubai has agreed with
Egypt’s securities clearing house to promote cross-listings of
Egyptian firms’ shares in Dubai, a sign of growing investment
links between the two economies.

The deal between NASDAQ Dubai, the smaller of Dubai’s two
stock exchanges, and Misr for Central Clearing, Depository and
Registry (MCDR) establishes technical ties that will facilitate
dual listings, the two bodies said on Thursday.

Nov 3, 2014

Region outperforms as MSCI hopes aid Qatar, IPO boosts Saudi

DUBAI, Nov 3 (Reuters) – Most Middle Eastern stock markets
rose on Monday, outperforming weak Asian and European bourses,
as hopes for a bigger weighting in MSCI’s indexes buoyed Qatar
and a successful initial public offer supported Saudi Arabia.

The Qatari index climbed 1.2 percent as Industries
Qatar surged 3.2 percent. When it upgraded Qatar and
the United Arab Emirates to emerging markets in May, MSCI
applied an “adjustment factor” of 0.5 to stocks there, citing
“accessibility issues to international institutional investors”;
in August, it said it might consider at a November review
whether to raise Qatar’s adjustment factor to 1.

Nov 2, 2014

Markets climb on strong global backdrop, corporate news

DUBAI, Nov 2 (Reuters) – Most Middle Eastern stock markets
rose on Sunday as an improved global environment encouraged
local retail investors to buy and positive corporate news in
Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Egypt buoyed shares in those countries.

Major foreign stock markets surged over 1 percent on Friday,
partly because the Bank of Japan surprised markets by ramping up
its economic stimulus programme. Although the long-term outlook
for oil prices remains uncertain, Brent crude has
stabilised around $85 a barrel in recent days.

Oct 26, 2014

As oil price slides, Gulf’s private business may benefit

DUBAI, Oct 26 (Reuters) – Kuwait’s privately owned Jazeera
Airways is preparing to bid for a big stake in state-run flag
carrier Kuwait Airways, Jazeera’s chairman told Reuters. If the
deal goes through, it will be a sign that the business scene is
changing in the Gulf.

For several decades, Gulf Arab economies have been dominated
by the heavy hand of the state. Governments’ huge oil revenues
have eclipsed private sector activity. Benefiting from these
revenues, state-owned firms have prospered while many private
companies have struggled to raise financing and become ensnared
in official red tape.

Oct 21, 2014

Kuwait’s Agility sees revenue rebound on emerging markets

KUWAIT (Reuters) – Revenue at Kuwait-listed logistics company Agility (AGLT.KW: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is expected to resume growing next year as emerging markets business expands and the company develops new sectors, chief executive Tarek Sultan said.

With more than 20,000 employees and over 500 offices in more than 100 countries, Agility is one of Kuwait’s corporate success stories and a play on the Gulf’s rapidly expanding trade links with the rest of the world, especially emerging markets in Asia and Africa.

Oct 16, 2014

Sohar port challenges Gulf rivals as Oman pushes beyond oil

DUBAI (Reuters) – An advertisement by the highway outside Dubai’s massive Jebel Ali Port tells firms they don’t need to ship goods through the Strait of Hormuz, the traditional gateway to the Gulf. Instead they can have goods delivered to a port in Oman, outside the Gulf, and bring them into the region by road.

“Why go through the Strait when you can go straight to the Gulf,” the billboard reads, in a challenge to Jebel Ali, which has become one of the biggest ports in the world by handling many of the region’s imports via Hormuz.

    • 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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