Middle East Business News Review – 4 June

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A look at today’s important financial news and business updates from the Middle East region:

UAE economy minister revises 2012 growth outlook

The UAE’s economy minister predicted on Monday the country’s gross domestic product growth would expand at around 3% this year, after a sharp fall in global oil prices over the last several weeks. While speaking at a news conference on Monday, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori said he remained optimistic about growth this year despite cutting his forecast for 2012. The minister made a prediction of “almost 4%” growth back in March. Click here to read more…

UAE-GCC trade crosses $100 billion mark

Khalid Ali Al Bustani, Director-General of the Federal Customs Authority of the UAE, announced on Monday total trade between the UAE and other GCC countries amounted to AED372.5 billion ($101.5 billion) during the 2003-2011 period, thanks to the customs union and other trade agreements. Trade grew at a rate between 5-9% per annum, he added. Click here to read more…

High oil prices boost Saudi current account surplus to record levels

A Saudi bank reported the country’s current account surplus was set to rise around 33% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2012 from 27.8% of GDP in 2011. The Saudi American Bank Group (SAMBA) said in its quarterly report on Saudi Arabia that the fiscal surplus will surge from 14.8% of GDP to 19.9% in 2012 before dropping to 14.2% in 2013. Click here to read more…

Switzerland freezes assets related to Syrian Al Assad regime

A Swiss government spokeswoman has announced freezing of assets worth 20 million Swiss francs ($20.7 million) related to the officials of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s regime. Marie Avet, speaking on behalf of the Swiss ministry of economy, told Zurich-based NZZ am Sonntag newspaper that assets belonging to close aides of the Syrian dictator have been blocked in recent weeks. Click here to read more…

Turkey’s soft power working in war-torn Somalia

Residents across the Somali capital say Turkey has done more in eight months than the international community has ever achieved during the last twenty years. With every engineering machine that breaks ground for construction, the perception that Mogadishu is a no-go area gets shattered over and over. Click here to read more…

GCC’s GDP seen reaching $1.5trn in 2013

The GCC’s gross domestic product (GDP) is predicted to reach $1.5trn in 2013, according to a Qatar National Bank (QNB) study.
Propelled by the oil and gas sector, the combined GDP figure is based on Brent oil prices averaging around $108 per barrel in 2012-13, said the QNB report, cited by Qatar News Agency. Click here to read more. (Source – ArabianBusiness.com)

DIFC Investments secures USD 1.035 billion syndicated facility to finance its Sukuk

DIFC Investments LLC (DIFCI) on Monday announced it has secured a $1.035 billion syndicated facility to contribute towards financing in full the repayment of its USD 1.25 billion Sukuk maturing 13th June 2012. This is a landmark transaction in the history of the DIFC which further evidences the commitment of Dubai to meet its obligations in a timely manner. Click here to read more. (Source – Press Release via Zawya.com)

Saudi private sector growth remains strong in May

Business activity growth levels in Saudi Arabia’s private sector remained strong in May, a new purchasing managers’ survey showed on Monday. The Saudi British Bank (SABB) HSBC Saudi Arabia Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which measures the performance of the kingdom’s manufacturing and services sectors, was unchanged at 60.4 last month. Click here to read more. (Source – ArabianBusiness.com)

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