Interpreting Middle East Economic News and Analyzing Market Trends

Category: UAE

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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Salmon and caviar farming in the desert


Fish Farming in UAE


The UAE is back on track with its grand plans.  The latest of these plans calls for setting up salmon and sturgeon farms in the desert.  There are both economic and environmental reasons to support this.  There are also negative economic and environmental reasons that need to be considered.


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Ambitious Gulf investors to launch Islamic bank in Luxembourg with goal of serving wider European market


Islamic Bank in Lux

Gulf investors are again attempting to launch an Islamic bank in mainland Europe, this time in Luxembourg.  There have been previous attempts at launching Islamic banks in France and Germany, but they were never launched siting an unaccommodating banking regulator as the reason.  Other Islamic banks were launched in Switzerland over the years, but their objectives were very narrow in scope.  The UK, on the other hand, has been the most successful in this regard since it was the first Western country to adopt Islamic banking regulation.  Today, there are four Islamic banks operating in the UK, one retail and three investment banks.  Will an Islamic bank in Luxembourg be successful?

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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


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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