Interpreting Middle East Economic News and Analyzing Market Trends

Category: Saudi Arabia

Egypt’s sovereign credit rating upgraded (but still junk) with a stable outlook siting $12 billion in aid from GCC countries

Cairo Traffic

Photo source: Think Progress

Standard & Poor’s raised Egypt’s long and short-term credit rating from real junk to junk siting $12 billion in aid pledged by GCC countries as one of the main reasons for the improvement.  The firm also says it has a stable outlook on the country going forward.  What has changed since Morsi left and the outlook was negative?  The economy has not improved.  Some would even say it’s getting worse.  The $12 billion pledgde is still a pledge, not much has been delivered yet and there are no guarantees that Egypt will get this money… its merely a pledge and not a legal promise as Kuwait is finding out.

 

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Amnesty exposes Qatar’s slave labor practices, Qatar hires law firm to investigate itself, other GCC countries continue with similar practices

qatar-laborers

All of Qatar’s construction workers are from poor neighboring countries such as India and Bangladesh

 

Last week Amnesty International exposed Qatar’s inhumane labor practices some describe as modern-day slavery.  In its investigation, Amnesty interviewed laborers, companies and government officials.  This story made worldwide headlines as Qatar has taken center stage recently as it prepares for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.  Amnesty should have gone further and expand its investigation beyond Qatar.  These poor labor practices are not unique to Qatar, all neighboring GCC* countries are guilty of these same practices.

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Israel: Saudi Arabia’s new friend in the Middle East

Abdullah-Mubarak-Asad

The good old days; King Abdullah (center) with his buddies, Mubarak (left) and Asad (right)

Saudi Arabia and Israel rarely see eye-to-eye publicly.  Now, however, both countries are openly aligned on Syria and Egypt.  They both support Egypt’s current military rulers and both are upset with the US for not bombing Syria and dropping its aid to Egypt.

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Middle East high tech startups take off

Silicon-Valley-Middle-East-2013

Source:  Smithsonian.com

The Middle East has been a hotspot for tech start-ups lately.  This growing trend has been overshadowed by all the bad news coming out of the region since 2011.  Don’t expect any competition to Silicon Valley any time soon, but entrepreneurship is catching on in the Middle East in a big way.  Political troubles are only adding more fuel to the trend.

 

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Gulf countries to ban visas for gays using medical test to ‘detect’ homosexuality

Dubai Airport Immigration

 

It’s no secret that Gulf countries ban homosexuality and have been known to give jail time for those caught in ‘homosexual’ acts.  Now, however, they are going a step further and will soon ban visas for homosexuals and transgender individuals based on a medical test to ‘detect’ them.  This story will surely go down as one of those ‘what were they thinking?!’ stories.

 

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