How robust economic growth and reforms are attracting investors to GCC stocks
Proceeds from global initial public offerings surged by 46 percent in the second quarter of 2023, with the Asia-Pacific region, led by mainland China, contributing about 68 percent of the total.
However, the first quarter of the year faced difficulties, with the lowest quarterly IPO proceeds since 2019, raising $25.7 billion through 234 floats, compared with $58 billion raised by 286 IPOs in the corresponding period last year.
The Main drivers for the GCC region’s IPO growth include government incentives, foreign investor interest and diversification efforts.
Challenges may include global economic uncertainties, geopolitical factors and fluctuations in oil prices.
Pakistan, UAE to expand cooperation in AI, digital economy
Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday agreed to expand bilateral cooperation in Information Technology specifically in Artificial Intelligence and Digital Economy, ARY News reported.
The Agreement to the effect was reached during a meeting between Caretaker Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Dr Umar Saif and UAE’s Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications Omar Sultan Al Olama held in Dubai on the sidelines of GITEX 2023, said a press release.
UAE economic growth stays strong; non-oil up 4pc: IMF
The UAE economy is continuing to grow, benefitting from strong domestic activity and the non-hydrocarbon GDP growth is expected to exceed 4 percent this year and to remain at a similar pace in 2024, driven by tourism, construction, and real estate related developments, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) assessment said.
Social and business-friendly reforms and the UAE’s safe haven status continue to attract foreign inflows of capital and labor, underpinning growth and contributing to elevated real estate prices, particularly in high-end segments, said a statement from Ali Al-Eyd, IMF team leader which visited the UAE during September 25 to October 3 to discuss economic and financial developments, the outlook, and the country’s policy and reform priorities.
Pakistan seeks to send more workers to Saudi Arabia
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Jawad Sohrab Malik held a meeting with Saudi Arabian Ambassador Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki to discuss the emerging manpower opportunities for the Saudi Vision 2030.
Malik requested the envoy to employ a significant number of workers from Pakistan for meeting goals of the Vision 2030, according to a statement issued on Saturday.
“Currently, about 500,000 Pakistanis proceed to Saudi Arabia annually. There is a real prospect of this figure rising to over 1 million,” he stressed.
He was of the view that a mix of skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled manpower from Pakistan enabled Saudi Arabia to meet its diverse workforce needs effectively.
Qatar signs several agreements with IMF
The Government of the State of Qatar, represented by the Ministry of Finance, signed two agreements with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), titled State of Qatar’s SDRs commitment to the IMF.
This Strategic partnership paves the way for future cooperation in formulating proposals and contributions between the two parties, through the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT) fund agreement: where states grant soft loans, with the State of Qatar’s contribution being a loan from the special drawing rights account, which will be considered a soft loan (an implicit contribution to the aid).
The Resilience and Sustainability Trust (RST) fund agreement: where contributions will be in the form of subscription packages consisting of loans, deposits and reserves in fixed proportions.
Bahrain EDB attracts $295mln ICT investments
Bahrain Economic Development Board (Bahrain EDB) has attracted $295 million in direct investments within the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector during the first nine months of 2023, it was revealed at Gitex Global in Dubai.
Stemming from 14 local and international projects, the direct investments for the ICT sector are expected to generate over 1,600 jobs within three years. The investments are a part of a total projected direct investment worth $1.4 billion during the period.
On the sidelines of Gitex, Musab Abdullah, Executive Director of ICT Business Development at EDB, said: “The continuous development of the ICT sector is a strategic priority for Bahrain and remains a pivotal contributor to the diversification and growth of the national economy. This milestone achievement in direct investments for the ICT sector will result in a positive ripple effect across sectors, with digital transformation being a cornerstone of sustainable economic development.”
Oman’s economy to grow by 1.4pc in 2023: World Bank
The World Bank anticipates Oman’s economy to expand at a slower rate of 1.4 percent this year, down from the 4.3 percent growth recorded in 2022. This slow pace of growth is primarily attributed to a reduction in oil production under the OPEC+ agreement and subdued oil prices compared to the previous year.
The World Bank, in a recently report released, noted that oil production cuts, amidst a global economic slowdown that has been suppressing oil prices, will have adverse effects on the economic activities of oil-exporting nations in the Middle East.
Across the GCC, growth is projected to average 1 percent in 2023, marking a significant deceleration from the 7.3 percent recorded in 2022, according to the World Bank.
‘In contrast to the exceptionally rapid growth seen in 2022, which was bolstered by the surge in oil prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, economic activity in the region is expected to decelerate in 2023,’ the World Bank said in its report titled ‘Balancing Act: Jobs and Wages in the Middle East and North Africa when Crises Hit.’