Interpreting Middle East Economic News and Analyzing Market Trends

Archive for January, 2014

China is hooked on Mideast oil, which helps build a good case for a Petroyaun

China Oil Transit Routes 2013Source: Zerohedge (click on map to view larger size)

Last year China became the world’s largest oil importer, surpassing the U.S. for the first time.  The U.S. reliance on imported oil has been declining ever since shale oil production began to rise in 2008.  We remain skeptical on the long-term viability of U.S. shale production, but that’s a different story.  You can see our posts on the subject here and here.  Going back to China, what does this mean for Middle East exporters?

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Can the Dubai Financial Market maintain its momentum after rising over 100% in 2013?

MENA 2013 Performance

Source: Global Investment House, market performance to 31 Dec. 2013.


In case you haven’t noticed, the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) was the best performing market in the MENA region in 2013 and one of the best performing markets in the world.  The best performing market in the world was the Caracas Stock Exchange, which gained a mind-boggling 452% in 2013.  Needless to say, the DFM is back in business after lack-luster performance since the financial crisis.  Can this momentum continue into 2014?


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Saudi Arabia establishes unemployment insurance to tackle persistent unemployment problem

Crown-Prince-UnemploymentPhoto courtesy of Arab News

In an attempt to start the new year running, Saudi Arabia decided to introduce unemployment insurance to help address the stubbornly high unemployment problem in the country.  The plan calls for both workers and employers to contribute to the scheme, which will payout a percentage of salary in the event workers become unemployed.  The plan has a lot of similarities to unemployment insurance in the US.  Proponents of the plan say that it will provide job security to over a million Saudis.  Opponents don’t see how this will solve the key issues of unemployment, which are structural.

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Happy (belated) New Year!

Cartoon Happy New Year 2014