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Etisalat and du, UAE’s telecom companies, were swamped with customers today when they launched Apple’s new iPhone 4S mobile phone in sync with Apple’s official launch in the UAE. Both companies reported they ran out of black models by midday.

According to the findings of a latest MasterCard survey, UAE consumers on average spend 17 per cent of their monthly household income on shopping general items such as groceries. Around 47 per cent people surveyed said they spend 11-30% of their monthly income on general shopping. Hypermarkets are the most popular shopping destinations with 84 per cent consumers visiting them on a regular basis. The survey also noted that 73 per cent of UAE consumers shop for household items at least once a week.

Meanwhile, an Emirati lawyer blamed banks and wives for being responsible for pushing local men into buying things they don’t need. “Around 70 per cent of Emiratis are living under the shadow of debt,” Isa Bin Haider, prominent local lawyer, said during a programme broadcasted by Noor Dubai Radio. The programme was about financial issues pending before the courts. The study has implicated the banks and wives – the banks entice people and push them into debt, as well as some wives, especially those who are obsessed about appearances. They force their husbands to buy accessories, cars and trips abroad without a real need for those things, which reflect negatively on family expenses and then drown it in a sea of debt, he said.

Fly Dubai, Dubai’s budget airline, achieved another feat when it received Boeing’s 7000th 737 airplane, increasing the number to 21. The airline earlier placed an additional order of 29 737-800s. It is incredible to be delivering our 7,000th 737. We thank flydubai and all our customers who have made the 737 the worlds most popular jet airliner, Beverly Wyse, vice-president and general manager of Boeing 737 programme, said in a statement.

Emaar Properties, Dubai’s largest real estate developer, has put up its most prized asset, Dubai Mall, to secure $1 billion loan in a bid to repay an existing $300 million facility taken out last year. The company said in a statement that a two trance facility, consisting of both Shariah-complaint and conventional funding, will be split between a five-year tranche and an eight year amortising loan and backed up by region’s most luxurious Dubai Mall. “These days no one will lend without a collateral and borrowing costs are going up. They are getting a favourable rate as they put this asset as collateral,” an Abu Dhabi-based real estate analyst, who did not wish to be identified told Reuters.

UAE’s biggest bank, Emirates NBD, is setting aside AED1.5 billion in October to cover bad debts amid concerns investors are looking for other pastures. The bank recently acquired Dubai Bank and is now in the process of absorbing Amlak. “It should take until 2014 for the bank to cover its cost of capital as provisions eat away 53 per cent to 76 per cent of its operating profit,” analysts from HC Securities brokerage highlighted in a research report.

Saudi Arabia has pledged to provide Jordan with a $225.19 million grant to renovate the 150km highway link that connects both the countries. The reconstruction of the highway will include dual-carriage ways and standard nighttime lighting. The road will also serve as a major corridor for trade and transportation not only for Jordan but other neighbouring countries including Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to connect to Saudi’s Red Sea ports.

The US Ministry of Defence announced Sultanate of Oman has placed a $600m order with Lockheed Martin to acquire 12 F-16C/D Block 50 fighters. The order also includes ten single-seat fighters and a pair of two-seat training aircraft. The American weapons contractor will also provide associated support equipment and logistical services.

(By Moign Khawaja – Editor: Arabian Gazette)

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