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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.
Ezdan said the Qatar’s fiscal budget for the year 2014 – 2015 gave a “strong impetus” to the real estate sector in particular
03:26 GMT
The report indicates a “recovery” in the Qatar’s real estate market in view of the current construction boom in the country.

April 10, 2014

In 2013, Dubai trade hit Dh1.392 trillion and was the major contributors to Dubai’s GDP
10:55 GMT
Dubai’s foreign trade is expected to touch Dh4 trillion by hosting Expo 2020, Mahmoud Al Bastaki, CEO of Dubai Trade, said on day two of the Annual Investment Meeting 2014 in Dubai.
Prince Muqrin questioned the banks' commitment to social development, despite making record profits
09:55 GMT
Saudis on social media Wednesday praised Deputy Crown Prince Muqrin for saying the nation's banks are not doing enough for the poor.
Around 300,000 direct jobs will be created in the UAE by 2020
09:55 GMT
Universities in Dubai are looking to expand their campuses and programmes to equip students with the skills needed for Expo 2020.
The Iranians clearly have a sense of urgency to get a deal done
09:10 GMT
Iran’s foreign minister said Wednesday that his country and six world powers were in “50 to 60 percent agreement” on the shape of a nuclear deal to crimp any potential Iranian attempt to build nuclear arms in exchange for an end to crippling economic sanctions.
Dubai is already one of the world’s biggest hubs for commercial aviation, and it will soon become the biggest
08:55 GMT
Two Swiss adventurers plan to start and end their historic round-the-world flight in a solar aircraft from the UAE.
If everything goes according to plan, international oil companies can start the actual drilling at the end of 2015
07:11 GMT
International energy companies will be able to start drilling for gas off the Lebanese coast at the end of 2015 if the August auction date is met, a source familiar with the tender process said Wednesday.
“People will go for the alternative once they know about it. After developing these three vaccines, we will continue to produce others,” he added.
03:55 GMT
The vaccines that are the focus of local and international scientists and Shariah experts, are meant to treat meningitis, hepatitis and meningococcal.
The first three months saw a 10 per cent spike in residential rental rates in prime locations, while off-island homes shot up by 14 per cent.
03:55 GMT
Abu Dhabi’s decision to remove the 5 per cent rental cap was the factor fuelling the increases, much to tenants’ dismay
“We’re now seeing a strong appetite for world class urban development in both Qatar and Saudi Arabia."
03:55 GMT
Matthew said that the respective long terms visions of the countries of the GCC can provide the building blocks for smart urban environments.
Among the other problems are a driver's seat defect, steering column problems and an engine starter glitch that posed a fire risk
02:48 GMT
Last month, it reached a deal to pay $1.2 billion to settle US criminal charges that it covered up a sticky pedal blamed for dozens of deaths.

April 9, 2014

In spite of being a key provider of food, Asia has received little attention from the Gulf to date
18:23 GMT
Fearing a disruption in Ukraine’s exports, corn prices rose 20 per cent year-to-date, while wheat prices increased by 13.5 per cent.
In an apparent step to distance itself from political pressure, Turkey's central bank said on Monday that the bank will decide for itself on the timing of any future interest rate cuts.
18:04 GMT
Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said on Friday that is not appropriate for political figures to say too much about the central bank.
EK171 will no longer operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and the return flight (EK172), which departs at 0230 the next day, will be cancelled on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
17:55 GMT
The Dubai carrier started daily services to Kiev on A340-500 aircraft in January.
The scenario's basic assumptions are a reduction in GDP, a sharp rise in the interest rate, a 20% drop in home prices, and a 12% unemployment rate
17:49 GMT
A recession like the one in 2002 would cause 23,000 families to struggle to meet payments.
The GCC was the largest export destination with total export to the region reaching AED15.8 billion, with Saudi Arabia taking 57 percent of the total GCC export
10:55 GMT
Exports from Dubai to Saudi Arabia crossed AED9 billion in March 2014, according to Dubai Chamber figures.
The plant will support the expansion of the Zubair oil field near Basra
09:55 GMT
Alstom, a global leader in power generation, has secured a contract worth nearly 400 million euros ($549 million) from Eni Iraq BV to build a 740 MW1 Zubair gas-fired power plant, near Basra in southern Iraq.
Iran and the six powers have yet to agree on the limits that Tehran will have to accept on its enrichment programme
08:55 GMT
Senior envoys from Iran and six world powers met for a new round of negotiations on Tuesday, in an effort to reach a broad agreement on scaling back Iran’s nuclear programme and lifting sanctions by July.
Last year, German exports to the UAE increased by two per cent to more than 10 billion (Dh50.5 billion).
07:55 GMT
Head of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) at the German Federal Foreign Office, Dieter W. Haller, on Tuesday expressed his interest in further developing the positive economic partnership between the UAE and Germany.
In the United Arab Emirates, where real estate prices are rising at a fast pace, the award of World Expo 2020 has further strengthened growth prospects
07:36 GMT
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has revised the UAE’s 2014 GDP forecast to 4.4 per cent on the back of rising real estate prices and the Expo 2020 win.
The level of bad loans in the UAE is still low compared to other markets
06:49 GMT
Non-performing loans (NPL) in the UAE could double in the next few years on the back of growing credit demand and as banks fail to refine their debt collection strategies.
While revenues of banks in Qatar grew by 20 percent and banks in the UAE are back to double-digit growth overall, Saudi, Omani and Bahraini banks are experiencing single digit growth rates.
03:55 GMT
Again, the performance of Middle East banks clearly exceeded that of their international counterparts, a number of which experienced further revenue declines in 2013.
According to the report, 80% are concerned with the unemployment level in the country.
03:55 GMT
Around 71% of young Egyptians feel that individuals belonging to their generation are more likely to start a business compared to their older counterparts.
He added that the volume of projects that applied to benefit from the Investment  Promotion Law reached JD1.92 billion (around $2.7 billion) in 2013 compared to JD1.61 billion ($2.2 billion) in 2012.
03:55 GMT
In previous remarks to The Jordan Times, Ruoshoud said Jordan's investment inflows rose by 19.5 per cent in 2013 “reflecting investors’ confidence in the Kingdom’s economy and business environment".
"Growth in 2014 is expected to be broadly the same as in 2013, as political uncertainty will continue to weigh on tourism and foreign direct investment," it added.
00:55 GMT
Separately, the IMF expects economic growth in Tunisia, cradle of the Arab Spring uprisings, to gather pace on the back of political and security improvements.
ICT Minister Azzam Sleit, who did not wish to name the company, said the door remains open for other operators to acquire such frequencies to introduce 4G services, which enable data transfer rates of up to 150 megabits per second.
00:43 GMT
One of the country’s three telecom operators has submitted an official request to acquire frequencies to introduce fourth generation (4G) services in the Kingdom, a government official said on Tuesday.
Symantec also highlighted the increasing number of Internet of Things devices targeted last year including routers, baby monitors and security cameras.
00:26 GMT
The number of targeted cyber-attack campaigns increased by 91 per cent in 2013, with each attack lasting three times longer than in 2012, according to an industry report.

April 8, 2014

Ayatollah Khamenei also touched upon health insurance, urging the officials to take measures to expand health insurance, both in terms of quality and coverage.
15:11 GMT
He also called for efforts to enhance the society’s mental health and promote an Iranian and Islamic lifestyle.
Israel has already used up its annual $3.1 billion in this year's US military aid, and has committed all the aid through 2018, when the current aid package expires.
15:03 GMT
Minister of Defense Moshe Ya'alon 'fell in love' with the V-22 during a visit to Washington in June 2013 to promote the Osprey deal.
Distributors have to get prior approval from consumer protection body to increase prices of any product
11:55 GMT
Laws protecting Oman consumers from hikes in the price of goods or defective products are being strictly enforced in a fresh crackdown in the Sultanate, but supermarkets bosses say they are suffering.
Tehran and Moscow are due to finalize an agreement on broader economic and trade cooperation
11:55 GMT
Iran and Russia emphasized finalizing energy agreements between the two sides.
The online application serves as a single-window, one-stop shop to view and download smart government services
10:00 GMT
The new UAE Smart Government App Store has been highly rated by users since its official launch on March 27.
Amman and Beijing agreed to expedite the implementation of development schemes China has agreed to fund through grants
09:55 GMT
China has extended more than $162 million to Jordan in the form of loans and grants between 1999 and 2013.
There are more than 1.1 million students at public and private universities
08:37 GMT
The Council of Ministers, chaired by Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, on Monday emphasized the government’s efforts to provide higher education to Saudi students all over the Kingdom.
Apartment rentals recorded a 26 per cent annual gain, while those for villas were slightly muted at 12 per cent
07:55 GMT
The upward pressure on Dubai’s residential rents continues to mount even as new homes are getting delivered in higher numbers, in the first three months of this year, rentals were up by 7 per cent over the fourth quarter of 2013.