Daily brief: Qatar, Azerbaijan boost economic ties, Iraq reacts to Trump ban
Gulf may move sideways; UAE earnings in line with expectations
Stock markets in the Gulf may move sideways on Wednesday as oil prices have stalled near $55 a barrel and sluggish global shares offer little positive impetus, while fourth-quarter earnings from large caps in the UAE came broadly in line with expectations.
Azerbaijan and Qatar discuss economic cooperation
The foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Qatar discussed boosting trade, investment and economic cooperation at talks in the Azeri capital Baku on Tuesday. The Azeri minister, Elmar Mammadyarov, said Azeri President Ilham Aliyev was likely to visit Qatar next month.
Contrasting results for merging Abu Dhabi lenders NBAD and FGB
Abu Dhabi lenders First Gulf Bank (FGB) and National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), which are merging to create one of the largest banks in the Middle East and Africa, have posted contrasting fourth-quarter results. FGB, Abu Dhabi’s third-largest lender by assets, reported an 11 per cent fall in net profit for the three months to Dec. 31, narrowly beating analysts’ expectations but was outshone by a 28 percent profit jump at NBAD.
Kuwait minister to face no-confidence vote over sports ban
Sheikh Salman Humoud Al-Sabah, a member of the Kuwait’s ruling family, will face the vote on Feb. 8 after lawmakers filed a motion on Tuesday to hold a vote of no-confidence over the country’s 15-month international sports ban, according to state news agency KUNA. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspended Kuwait in October 2015 and FIFA also banned Kuwait’s national soccer federation last summer, accusing the government of interference in its national Olympic Committee and in the running of the Kuwaiti FA.
Inflows into Egypt banks reach $9 billion since pound float
Total inflows into the Egyptian banking system have reached $9 billion since the Egyptian pound was floated in November, a central bank official has said. Import-dependent Egypt has been facing a currency crunch since a popular uprising in 2011 drove away tourists and foreign investors. In an effort to attract inflows, it floated its currency on Nov. 3.
Lebanese president says oil production to start in 2018
Lebanon expects to start oil production in 2018 and will deposit the resulting revenues into a sovereign wealth fund, President Michel Aoun said on Tuesday. The country has relaunched its first oil and gas exploration and production licensing round after a three-year delay.
Iraq will not retaliate against Trump’s visa ban – PM
Iraq will not retaliate to U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban against Iraqi nationals because it does not want to lose Washington’s cooperation in the war on Islamic State, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Tuesday. Trump on Friday temporarily banned entry to the U.S. entry for people from seven predominantly Muslim countries – Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
UAE’s du acquires licence to operate Virgin Mobile service
The UAE’s second largest telecoms company du has acquired a licence from British entrepreneur Richard Branson’s privately owned Virgin Group to operate Virgin Mobile-branded services in the country. Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Co (EITC), the holding company of operator du, will launch services using the Virgin Mobile brand in the UAE “within weeks,” EITC’s CEO said on Tuesday.