Other than Dubai's Expo 2020 win, what were the Middle East's top business breakthroughs in 2013?
A dramatic decline in gold prices in 2013 made for the best-read business story on Al Arabiya News, according to a ranking of the year’s most popular finance stories on this website.
Gold prices saw a massive decline in 2013, and in mid-April clocked up the biggest one-day drop since the 1980s. Prices are heading for a drop of up to 30 percent this year, marking an end to a decade-long rally.
One story on gold’s decline ranked as the most-read in the Al Arabiya News Business section this year, followed by articles on Qatar rail contracts and Carlos Slim’s investment ambitions in Saudi Arabia.
Other major business headlines of 2013 included Dubai’s historic winning bid to host the World Expo 2020, Saudi Arabia’s move to deport illegal foreign workers, and the U.S. government shutdown.
The top 10 business stories were compiled from Jan. 1 to Dec. 23. Multiple stories on the same theme were eliminated from the ranking.
Al Arabiya News Top 10 business stories of 2013
In April, gold dropped to its lowest level since March 2011, marking an end to the decade-long rally in the value of the precious metal.
Qatar Rail Company, the owner and manager of Qatar’s rail network, awarded four contracts worth approximately $8.2 billion for the design and build of phase one of the Doha metro. Phase one includes the Red Line North, Red Line South, Green Line, and major metro stations. The construction of phase one is expected to be completed by 2019.
Mexican business magnate Carlos Slim, the world’s richest man with a family fortune estimated at $73 billion, visited Saudi Arabia in April. He reportedly planned to pump billions of dollars of investment in petrochemical and other projects.
4. Kerry quietly releases $1.3bn military aid package for Egypt
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry approved $1.3 billion in annual military aid to Egypt in May, reported AFP in early June. The aid was approved despite concerns over democratic progress by the country’s then Muslim Brotherhood-led government. Egypt’s then-President Mohammad Mursi was toppled in July following country-wide protests.
Saudi Arabia’s Communication and Information Technology Commission (CITC) didn’t block the internet-based communication applications despite giving an ultimatum to telecom companies if they failed to monitor the applications, Al Arabiya reported in March. A block on Viber was later implemented in the kingdom.
Sony released its fourth PlayStation console across the UAE in December. Devoted gamers lined up ahead of the Thursday midnight release of the new console. Retailers warned that a supply shortage on the release day could leave many disappointed.
Qatar Airways said it wanted to be the launch customer for Boeing’s 777X mini-jumbo jet. The company's top executive also announced that the carrier was planning to open at least three new routes to the United States in the coming 12 to 18 months.
The UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) announced that the popular communication application Skype was officially banned in the country. The TRA’s chief said that none of the country’s service providers, Etisalat or du, had filed a license request for the authority to lift the ban.
The combined wealth of the ten richest Arabs in the UK exceeded $17.5, according to an annual ranking by the Sunday Times conducted in April.
Saudi Arabia changed its official weekend to Friday and Saturday, following a decree by King Abdullah, the kingdom’s official news agency (SPA) reported in June.
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