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Saudi will produce 41 gigawatts of solar energy by 2032 (File Archive)
14:00 GMT
Saudi Arabia is planning to invest $109 billion in its solar energy sector by 2032, which will provide a third of the country's overall energy requirement by that time.
Since 2001, S&P has only seen 20 international sukuk from issuers outside of Malaysia or the GCC (File Archive/Shutterstock)
13:00 GMT
Islamic finance is increasingly labeled as the future of finance, but the sukuk market largely remains outside of mainstream markets globally.
The new law is supposed to ensure in part that workers are not victims of corrupt-or inactive-recruitment agencies (File Archive)
12:00 GMT
Bahrain has recently passed a new law to regulate labor recruitment in the Gulf country. The new regulations aim to "safeguard the rights of skilled and semi-skilled expatriates," say authorities.
The country's GDP in 2013 was $202.38 billion, according to government data (File Archive)
12:00 GMT
Qatar is expected to have a GDP of $230 billion by this fiscal year's end.
A total of 2.25 million passengers used Sharjah Airport from January to March 2014 (File Archive/Shutterstock)
10:00 GMT
Sharjah Airport recorded the highest level of passenger traffic on record during the first quarter this year.
Iraq announced plans for four new oil refineries, but the country has failed to attract investment from the private sector in such ventures since 2009 (Courtesy of NPR)
08:30 GMT
Iraq must reconsider its expenditure and production of various energy sources if it wants to stabilize the country's energy situation overall and save much needed resources.
Egypt's government will allegedly make a "bigger push" to distribute smart cards for fuel to subsidize the price of gasoline for citizens (File Archive)
08:02 GMT
Egypt is attempting to restructure its energy subsidies "without affecting poor and low income segments," but can the new strategy work if the government is still undecided on whether or not they will raise petrol and fuel prices?
Egypt's tourism sector contributes 11 percent to the country's GDP (File Archive)
08:00 GMT
At least 26,000 tourists came to Egypt for the Easter holiday weekend in what was welcomed as a much-needed spike for the country's ailing tourism sector.
 
By holding 157 billion barrels of recoverable crude oil reserves, Iran possesses the world’s fourth largest reserves of crude oil.
03:55 GMT
On April 12, Iranian MP Ali Marvi quoted Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh as saying that Iran will increase its crude oil output to 5.7 million barrels per day by the end of Iranian calendar year 1397 (March 2019).
The National Insurance Consortium will provide “construction all risks” and “third-party liability” insurance to Phase 1 of Doha Metro Project.
03:55 GMT
Qatar Rail has awarded one of the largest-ever “single project tunnelling and rail construction insurance” policies to a six-member consortium of Qatari national insurance companies,
In the tourism segment, basically everything is needed, most of all, hotels and related leisure facilities, together with appropriate infrastructure.
03:55 GMT
Tourism receipts were also skyrocketing and reached $926mn in 2013 against some $400mn in 2012, according to official government figures.
GCC governments are targeting greater diversification so that the non-oil private sector starts to play a more significant role in supporting the economy, according to the Q1 review.
03:55 GMT
Economic growth in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region will remain largely influenced by oil prices and supply dynamics in the oil industry

April 20, 2014

Singapore's education system is ranked second best in Asia (Shutterstock)
13:00 GMT
Singapore's National Institute of Education is set to train 3,000 Saudi school principals over the next few years.
Saudi Arabia-based companies awarded $10.59 billion in contracts in Q1 of 2014 (File Archive)
12:00 GMT
Saudi Arabia's construction industry witnessed a record year for contracting in 2013, and 2014 promises even brighter prospects for this developing sector.
Jordan recently launched a religious tourism campaign to encourage travelers to visit sites such as the alleged baptism site of Jesus (Courtesy of Wikipedia)
11:00 GMT
As tourists continue to flock to Jordan en masse, the Hashemite Kingdom is recording higher revenue profits than ever before.
Despite world forecast revisions, oil production in OPEC countries is on the rise due to Iraqi output (File Archive/Shutterstock)
10:00 GMT
The International Energy Agency revised its forecast for global oil demand in 2014 to 1.5 per cent which may impact further developments and investment in the sector in consequence.
BLOM Bank, Bank Med and Bank Audi all were upgraded from "negative" to "stable" under Standard & Poor's ratings (File Archive)
09:17 GMT
Standard & Poor's has raised its outlook for several Lebanese banks in what may be the latest sign of a recovering economy in this MENA country.
Saudi Arabia surpassed the United Kingdom, Japan and France in military spending in 2013 (Shutterstock)
09:00 GMT
Saudi Arabia ranks in the top four countries for military spending globally, according to a new report released out of Stockholm this week.
Along with the UAE, another Gulf country that is actively pursuing a nuclear programme is Saudi Arabia.
03:55 GMT
Fuelled by rising energy demand and depleting oil and gas resources, nuclear energy has gained strong momentum in the GCC, particularly in countries like the UAE.
other topics to be discussed by the Kingdom’s real estate leadership at the Summit include project funding, off-plan sales, ways to support the mortgage law, and the Kingdom’s construction labor shortage.
03:55 GMT
The Kingdom’s Western Region is experiencing an unprecedented real estate boom, with billions of riyals earmarked for mega projects.
Although experts have indicated that regulations such as the doubling of property transfer fees and the mortgage law have helped curb flipping, the emirate has been seeing a rise in off plan sales in the market.
02:55 GMT
“We are not yet back to 2008 prices but in some individual projects we are. So we certainly need to monitor them carefully.”
Libya plans to limit the costly subsidies its citizens enjoy when buying fuel – much of which is smuggled into Tunisia for resale at higher prices – by introducing a “smart card” system like one newly implemented in neighboring Egypt.
01:10 GMT
Fuel smuggling is common across North Africa and its extent has increased in the chaotic aftermath of the Arab Spring.

April 18, 2014

Though Samsung did not offer any sales target for the S5, the company sold more than 10m S4s in the first month of the phone’s launch.
11:14 GMT
The world’s biggest smartphone maker has slashed prices of the S5, which rolled out globally on Friday, and offered a gift pack worth $600,.
The 36-story, 382,500 square-foot (35,535 square-meter) building is located on the Fifth Avenue in New York.
08:32 GMT
The US government says it is going to sell an Iranian skyscraper in New York City in favor of anti-Tehran plaintiffs.
The survey also revealed that the main reason for obtaining a loan is to a buy a car
08:26 GMT
About 34 per cent of national household heads reported that they continuously changed their mobile phones.

April 17, 2014

Iran shares oil and gas fields with most of its neighbors, including Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, as well as Oman and Turkmenistan.
22:53 GMT
Iran shares oil and gas fields with most of its neighbors, including Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, as well as Oman and Turkmenistan.
Ensour stressed that the Kingdom is in need of support from all Arab states to be able to continue its pan-Arab nationalist role.
22:37 GMT
Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour said this week that Jordan's economy is recovering and moving steadily forward despite the global financial crisis and the Syrian infighting.
“We understand the need for this upgrading work to be done, and we support it wholeheartedly," added Clark.
22:21 GMT
Emirates Airline said on Thursday that runway upgrades at Dubai International would cut its revenues by Dh1 billion ($272 million) this year as it has to reduce flights to 41 destinations worldwide.
The issue of Saudi's SMEs has been debated over the last few years (File/AFP)
17:39 GMT
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are set to contribute 37 percent to Saudi Arabia's GDP but should the Kingdom look elsewhere for investment?
Islamic lenders Masraf al Rayan and Qatar Islamic Bank were the main reasons for the index's increase (File/AFP)
17:07 GMT
Qatar's main index rose 1.1 percent, making it the highest close since June 2008.
Hard at work: Saudi workers say they are hitting a "productivity wall" (Fayez Nureldine/AFP)
16:50 GMT
Six out of ten Saudi workers felt they didn't have the necessary tools or recourses to be productive according to a Global Workforce Survey.
Hotel guests can now be charged a minor fee as of March 31, 2014 (Karim Shaib/AFP)
16:34 GMT
Positive reaction: Dubai's recently imposed fee on hotel guests had no negative feedback according to the head of the city's tourism authority.
Around 34 percent of households said they continuously upgraded their mobile phones (File/AFP)
16:09 GMT
Families in Abu Dhabi households reportedly spend an average of $1,498 on landlines and mobile phones while $1,004 is spent on education.
The increase of house prices was a key factor (Getty/AFP)
15:28 GMT
Inflation climbed to its highest since 2010, according to data released by National Bureau of Statistics. Housing, utilities and food all contributed to the rise.
Dubai welcomed 11 million hotel guests in 2013 (File/AFP)
15:09 GMT
According to a STR Global Construction Pipeline Report, 573 hotels are expected to open across the Middle East and Africa.
More than $40 billion worth of new contracts were awarded in the GCC during the first quarter of 2014 alone (File Archive)
07:40 GMT
2014 is promising to be a record-breaking year for the GCC's construction industry.
Saudi Weddings 2014, is the perfect one-stop wedding festival for future weds to see, touch, hear, compare wedding jewelry, dresses, cosmetics and fragrances according to the latest trends.
03:55 GMT
The exhibition considered the biggest family gathering in the field of weddings and fashion as it involves more than 80 companies around the world
Dimian noted that the annual meeting between Egypt and the IMF will be scheduled after the presidential elections, slated to take place in May.
03:55 GMT
The interim government is currently preparing a new economic stimulus package that will focus on the industrial, housing and construction, communication and tourism sectors.
"Some Arab countries are still going through radical transformations, accompanied by negative economic development,” he said at the conference that discusses strategies for the advancement of Arab economies.
03:55 GMT
Arab bankers on Wednesday blamed "Arab Spring" for the deterioration in the region's economies.

April 16, 2014

If realised, this would not only revive output at Idku but also mean that Israel's first LNG exports would take place from an Egyptian plant.
23:02 GMT
"Ultimately Egypt and Turkey need energy, and the fact that we have it is creating a regional convergence of interests," an Israeli diplomatic source told Reuters.
Since the military’s return to the top political table in July 2013, it seems to have accelerated its economic activities and intensified its hold on the country.
22:45 GMT
Egypt's generals the economy to develop along lines of their choosing and have taken the opportunity not just to entrench their business activities even further, but upscale and expand them.
 The kingdom's banking sector remains very resilient and requirements to enhance the liquidity and reserves under Basel III will further bolster it, Rasheed Al Maraj was quoted as saying.
21:07 GMT
Bahraini banks will be fully ready to implement the Basel III international banking standards on new capital requirements by next year, the governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) said
The growth rate is more than double a recent estimate from the International Air Transport Association, or Iata, that passenger demand will increase 5.8 per cent this year on a global basis
17:34 GMT
The national airline of the UAE racked up $1.4 billion in revenues as it transported 3.2 million passengers, higher by over 14 per cent year-on-year
Within four years an estimated 65 new housing units will be built in Dubai to keep up with demand (File/AFP)
14:28 GMT
Is flat hunting in Dubai as expensive as it seems? Around 17,000 new homes are due to be built this year, with more affordable price tags attached.
Economic situation improving: Confidence grows as lifestyle and family life gets better in Abu Dhabi (File/AFP)
13:23 GMT
Consumer Confidence grew by 10 percent in 2013 according to the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development.
The rise in green building will see an increase in demand for materials in Qatar (File/AFP)
12:55 GMT
The Qatari government has pledged an estimated $182 billion into infrastructure, focussing on eco-friendly green building over next five years.
Healthcare spending will increase over 16 percent in 2014 (File/AFP)
12:14 GMT
Healthcare spending reached just under $17 billion in 2013 and is expected to grow, says a new report by the U.S.-UAE Business Council.
Talks are due to take place after Egypt's upcoming elections (File/AFP)
11:41 GMT
Relations with the IMF soured when Egypt suspended negotiations over a loan worth billions in 2013, but this may improve with upcoming discussions.
In 2012, over 485 Pakistanis were deported from Oman for illegally entering the country (File/AFP)
11:27 GMT
The six-month ban on expat workers, which was due to expire as been extended according to a source at the Ministry of Manpower.
The World Bank aims to promote better use of public resources in Lebanon (File/AFP)
11:11 GMT
The World Bank has agreed to support Lebanon's Finance Ministry with a $5.2 million loan.
The next two years will see a surge in car sales with a 75 percent hike (File/AFP)
10:39 GMT
A new study by consumer group Nielson says that car sales in the Middle East will go up in the next two years.
The Iranian official also pointed to nuclear negotiations between Tehran and the major powers and said that the talks will not threaten the interests of any countr
03:55 GMT
The expansion of relations with the Islamic Republic, which enjoys high status in the region, is one of the UAE’s priorities, said Sheikh Mohammad.
However, despite the sanction relief, the country may have to deal with pressurized external and fiscal balances, double-digit inflation, and shrunk economy since 2011 amounting to USD 270 billion.
03:55 GMT
Iran’s economy could grow between 6% and 8% in an optimistic scenario, according to a global information company report.
On average the emirate recorded 7 percent quarter-on-quarter growth for apartment rentals, and a strong year-on-year figure of 38 percent
03:55 GMT
“Budget-conscious Dubai residents are now relocating to Sharjah in a flight to affordability,” said John Stevens, managing director, Asteco.
Renewed exports will restore much-needed revenue stream for Libya's weak central government following the 2011 overthrow of Moamer Kadhafi.
03:04 GMT
Libya prepared to resume oil exports Tuesday following a break of more than eight months, after autonomy-seeking rebels agreed to lift their blockade of ports in the country's east.

April 15, 2014

Egypt has been experiencing power cuts since 2008 and faces bigger energy problems due to political unrest (File/AFP)
14:00 GMT
Political unrest has seen gas exports fall in Egypt while electricity consumption went up by almost a third. Will it be an expensive summer?
High demand: Halal food imports alone are set to increase to $53.1 billion by 2020 (File/AFP)
13:00 GMT
Food, lifestyle and products manufactured under Islamic law are expected to be worth $2.48 trillion in the next four years due to increasing demand and a growing Muslim population.
One hundred charging stations will be installed initially across Dubai in 2014 (File/AFP)
11:28 GMT
Charging stations for electric cars will soon pop up all over Dubai to enhance grid efficiency.
Big move: Oman government and BP in a joint collaboration (FIle/AFP)
11:14 GMT
Oman's government and BP signed a contract to develop the Khazzan gas field of Block 61 and will be completed by 2017.
Dubai welcomed over 11 millions guests in 2013 (File/AFP)
10:57 GMT
Not part of the strategy: Tourism chief says hotels being built in Dubai are not specifically for the World Expo in 2020.
The Samsung Galaxy Note PRO will be available for $923 across retail stores (File/AFP)
10:39 GMT
The Samsung Galaxy Note has debuted in Bahrain with a whole new selection of functions.
Saudi's Ministry of Health said the new hospitals will increase patient beds to 68,000 (File/AFP)
10:27 GMT
A top government official has announced the Kingdom's plans to build 63 new hospitals across the country, boosting service and quality medical care.
King Abdullah addressed rising inequality and speeding up economic growth in a letter this month (File/AFP)
10:14 GMT
America's welfare state was modelled as a good example to provide for the poor. But what if the rich invested more in those less fortunate?
Oil prices received an additional boost following delays in resuming oil exports from Libya.
03:55 GMT
Crude oil futures rose to the highest level in five weeks on Monday as heightened tensions over unrest in eastern Ukraine fuelled concerns over potential supply disruptions.
Per-capita foreign debt rose significantly from $1,963 in 2002, when the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) came to power, to $5,105 last year
03:55 GMT
Turkey's foreign debt increased $49.9 billion in 2013, breaking national records as the highest single-year increase in foreign debt in the history of the Turkish Republic.
Activists and lawyers have defied the new law, suspecting the government of foul play.
03:55 GMT
Prominent lawyer and former 2012 presidential candidate Khaled Ali went as far as to describe the amended law as "legalised thuggery".
In September 2013, the World Bank removed Iran from its list of deadbeat borrowers, saying the Islamic Republic had paid outstanding loan amounts.
03:55 GMT
The Bank has not lent any new money to Iran since 2005.

April 14, 2014

Egyptian construction tycoon Nassef Sawiris, the youngest among the Sawiris siblings, was the first Egyptian and the fourth on the list with a total worth of $6.7bn.
19:04 GMT
The first spot went to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which had 39 names on the list, while third went to the United Arab Emirates, which had 14.
Kuwait's refining capacity will reach over 1.4 million bpd from the current level of 930,000 bpd, when the projects are completed.
18:45 GMT
The contracts mark the first mega project in the OPEC member's vital oil sector for 25 years.
Ben Gurion Airport expects 1.2 million passengers over the holiday, up 25% from 2013.
17:46 GMT
Despite tense relations, Turkey is the top destination for Israelis this Passover, with 6,300 people planning to spend the holiday there
Washington lawmakers have refused to pass the reforms, claiming they would prove too heavy a burden during a time when the US is still running a large budget deficit.
17:29 GMT
The US is responsible for delaying long-awaited IMF reforms, Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf told Asharq Al-Awsat on the sidelines of the Spring Meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Washington, DC on Saturday.
Return of Equity (RoE) for Saudi banks is 10 percent whereas U.S. and European counterparts only receive single digit returns (File Archive)
15:00 GMT
Saudi Arabia's banking sector has outperformed its western counterparts in terms of profitability as well as efficiency in terms of resource utilization.
SMEs contribute to more than 60 percent of the UAE's gross domestic product (File Archive/Shutterstock)
13:00 GMT
New legislation is set to help boost small and medium enterprise development in the emirates, but to what extent will the new policy translate into prosperous growth on the ground?
Diwanee is an online journal for "modern Arab women" (Courtesy of Wamda)
11:00 GMT
Lebanese startup digital media company Diwanee is paving the way for more domestic startups and entrepreneurs to move onto the global platform.
Iran will build six oil refineries in Indonesia's Benten and West Java regions (File Archive)
11:00 GMT
Iran has agreed with Indonesia's leadership to construct six oil refineries in the Asia Pacific country.
Dubai International Airport has the most passenger traffic of any airport in the entire world (File Archive)
08:44 GMT
Renovations at Dubai's International Airport will force at least eight airlines to move their operations to the emirate's second airport until the overhaul is complete.
Based on national accounts, Jordan's middle class contributes a 45 percent share to the national income (File Archive)
08:12 GMT
Politicians and economists alike have described Jordan's middle class as "vanishing" over the past 20 years, but how accurate is such commentary in today's context and what exactly is meant by "middle class"?
“Anyone who buys these American Army products is so satisfied because they’re of such high quality and at such a good price,” one trader said.
03:55 GMT
The items bear American brand labels that together read like a list of U.S. Department of Defense basic equipment and apparel contractors.
“We will focus on the country’s historic strategy, which is to supply international markets with oil, especially the challenges facing the market as well as the future role of the member states of Opec.”
03:55 GMT
The UAE is set to raise its production capacity to 3.5 million barrels per day aimed at keeping a market balance.
 Kuwait last week contributed $2.5 million towards UNDP’s emergency support in Syria and neighbouring countries.
03:55 GMT
This year Kuwait contributed $500 million, and last year it contributed $300 million.
The German government will not approve a reported deal to sell up to 800 battle tanks to Saudi Arabia,
03:55 GMT
The sale of the Leopard-2 tanks had been billed as one of the biggest deals for the German armaments industry, Bild reported.

April 13, 2014

For Iran, the tide is now turning very quickly indeed, and instead of problems, governments, entrepreneurs, traders and marketers now see a wealth of opportunities in this huge and untapped frontier market.
22:42 GMT
Only 18 months ago many multinationals did not even dare to bring up the name of Iran, even using terms such as ‘TOMC’ in internal memorandums: The Other Middle Eastern Country.
The committee has exempted pharmacies, gas stations, coffee shops and restaurants with special permits from the decision.
21:13 GMT
Sources close to the committee expected the closure of shops to be effective before the advent of Ramadan in early July
There is a significant split within the MENA regions when it comes to respondents’ evaluation of the economy in their country of residence.
18:58 GMT
In Egypt, 16% reported that their financial position has improved in the last six months, while 34% claimed there has been no change, and 42% reported a decline.
Social progress is determined by how society meets the basic human need of its citizens (File/AFP)
16:41 GMT
The UAE came 37th in the 2014 Social Progress Index, ranking the top among Middle East countries. What is the Emirate's secret for good development?
Active role: Young Egyptians need support in urban areas (File/AFP)
15:30 GMT
Much of Egypt remains derelict, but development is rising as the population increases. Agriculture and urbanization of the country will be a key factor in the upcoming elections.
Oil is a big contribution to Iraq's economy (File/AFP)
15:00 GMT
Iraq's Ministry of Oil is planning to export 300 oil barrels internationally.
Dubai welcomed over 10 million tourists in 2013 (File/AFP)
14:00 GMT
Dubai has been nominated in the TripAdvisor Traveller Choice Awards as one of the best places to visit in 2014.
Food for thought: Saudi Arabia's food consumption grew by 55.3 percent since 2012 (File/AFP)
13:30 GMT
Saudi's yearly food, hotel & hospitality Arabia exhibition takes opens on Sunday with over 400 booths set up from other countries.
Six Flags Entertainment currently operates 18 parks across the U.S., Mexico and Canada (Getty/AFP)
13:00 GMT
U.S. Six Flags brand will open a new theme park in Jebel Ali. The move is set to increase tourism in Dubai and create a bigger business partnership between America and the UAE.
Bankers are making a bigger effort to improve customer services within UAE banks (File/AFP)
11:30 GMT
A senior banker has said customer service within the banking sector is "complex and difficult," but efforts are being made to change this.
Old school: The first Sony stereo cassette player on display in a Tokyo museum (File/AFP)
11:00 GMT
Smartphones and MP3 devices face new competition as Sony unveils its latest Walkman with a playback time of 20 hours.
Israel collects taxes on behalf of the Palestinians, and transfers about $100m per month, accounting for two-thirds of the authority’s budget
03:55 GMT
Israel’s audacity to torpedo international legal instruments, mount blatant attacks on hapless Palestinians and encroach on their territories is nothing but fascism at work.
Last week, Samsung had offered a brief preview of its plans, including an effort to downplay Apple's copycat claims by focusing on features it offered that Apple hadn't.
03:55 GMT
Apple has reportedly accused Samsung as 'copycat' once again claiming billions of dollars in damag
Although there has yet to be an in-depth assessment of the region’s shale resources, some GCC nations have begun exploring their own unconventional deposits, with the aim of meeting domestic needs.
03:55 GMT
The US shale gas boom has transformed the global energy equation into one that is difficult for GCC nations to calculate.
Bouteflika’s campaign spending alone runs to at least 75 million euros, Algerian press reports say
03:20 GMT
Because the spending is technically illegal, no public record is kept of where the campaign funds come from.

April 11, 2014

Christie was head of Apple's Human interface team whose aim was to make elegant and user-friendly softwares.
17:24 GMT
His team created the iPhone's famous 'slide to unlock; function and the ability to place calls from a contact list, CNET reported.
Sony is advising consumers to quit using some of its VAIO laptop computers and unplug them, saying that it’s possible that its non-removable battery pack could overheat.
17:06 GMT
The company says it’s in the process of creating a program to repair or replace the computers, or will refund their purchase price.
Israel collects about $100 million a month in taxes for the Palestinians. It isn’t clear how much would be withheld or for long it would go on.
16:55 GMT
Erekat spoke a day after an Israeli official said Israel would stop the tax money transfers in retaliation for the Palestinians pushing to sign up for more recognition from international agencies and treaties.
In 2013, the company said, the smartphones market imported nearly 1 billion units achieving this great number with Samsung Electronics being number one in the Saudi market.
03:55 GMT
Global sales of the Galaxy S series totaled 200,000,000 units since its introduction.