SUMMARY OF DAILY UPDATES FOR THE PERIOD 14th FEB to 20th Feb 2016

  • The Dubai Statistics Centre released its January consumer price data for the emirate which showed that transport cost inflation, which accounts for 9 percent of total inflation, fell 4.1 percent year-on-year as the UAE cut gasoline prices in line with falling global oil prices. Housing and utility costs, which account for almost 44 percent of consumer expenses, rose 4.4 percent from a year earlier in January while food and beverage prices, which account for 11 percent of the basket, climbed by 3.1 percent. The slowdown in Dubai’s inflation rate, which stood at 4,5 percent in January 2015, comes as growth at UAE non-oil private sector firms slows, with business conditions improving at the weakest rate since March 2012.
  • IMF expects the UAE’s growth this year to come in below IMF forecasts and post a wider deficit because of lower spending and low oil prices. The UAE economy is forecast to grow at 2.5 per cent this year and post a fiscal deficit of 8 per cent. While fuel subsidy reforms in members of the GCC will help address pressure from low oil prices on public finances, these measures alone will not be enough to bring the governments’ budgets back into surplus, says Moody’s Investors service.
  • House prices in Dubai will continue to suffer this year as cheap oil and the strong US dollar push properties beyond the means of many overseas investors, according to the latest report from consultants KPMG. Sharjah and Ajman property prices fall as Dubai developers offer cheaper homes.
  • Oil prices slipped off session highs after four of the world’s largest producers agreed to freeze output at January levels if other major exporters joined the pact, dashing hopes among the price bulls for an outright cut to supply.
  • RTA to spend $1bn on Dubai infrastructure projects.
  • UAE lenders can now access borrowers’ credit history via their Emirates ID cards. UAE debt defaults could mount and spread to indi­vidual borrowers, warns EFG Hermes.
  • Etisalat Q4 net profit rises 2.7%.  UAE telco du Q4 net profit falls 10%.
  • Mentoring is key to entrepreneurial success in the MENA region, survey reveals.
  • Saudi Arabia’s financial markets barely blinked on Thursday after its debt was downgraded – a sign that a charm offensive by Saudi economic officials, and determined action against speculators, has bought it time in the eyes of many investors.
  • Iran’s rich deposits of zinc, copper, gold and other minerals are tempting international investors after the lifting of Western sanctions, but development of the sector will take time and problems will have to be overcome.
  • Kuwait sees budget deficit jumping by 50% in 2016-17.
  • Qatar Petroleum plans key unit sale as oil slump bites.
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