The GCC region ends 2018 with an even greater sense of discord than it began, after the six-member grouping’s annual summit in Riyadh was characterised by bickering and widespread antipathy. Qatar’s decision to quit Opec further reinforces the sense that a long-term realignment of alliances is under way
Gulf money is being ploughed in to create a new city in Malaysia, signaling a rising interest among the regional investors in sustainable urban developments.
Across the GCC, banks are engaged in an ongoing struggle to recapture the profitability that was once their virtual birthright. The days of regular annual double-digit percentage increases in net income are distant, despite a steady increase in oil prices and revenues.
The GCC may be divided on many issues these days, but one thing that appears to be common to many of the economies is a trend for banking consolidation.
Private sector healthcare provision is increasingly prevalent in the GCC, easing the cost burden on the state. But governments cannot rely on private companies to provide for all their healthcare needs.
A proposal to dig a canal along the length of the Saudi-Qatari border has emerged, in the latest surprising twist in the ongoing diplomatic and economic standoff between the two countries.
One of the most important pillars of Saudi Arabia’s economic reform programme is the push for more private sector investment and, as part of that, the privatisation of some key state assets. Privatisations are complex affairs and there are legitimate questions as to whether Riyadh will be able to sell everything on its list. But if it is successful, it will offer encouragement to other governments keen to follow suit.
The London property market has long been a favorite of Gulf investors, but does the Brexit vote and the instability of a minority government in Westminster make the city less attractive?
From 1 October, the cost of tobacco and sugary drinks in the UAE spiked upwards, with the introduction of excise tariffs of up to 100 per cent. That was merely a precursor to a more wide-ranging value-added tax (VAT), which will be introduced in early 2018 and comes in the wake of a wave of other additional costs over recent years, including subsidies being lifted on fuel, charges levied on airport passengers and paid-for parking.
Rivalry between Russia and United States has gone public with a number of potentially mould-breaking deals The rivalry for influence across the region between Russia and United States broke out into the open as a series of proposed defence deals emerged in the first half of October. Saudi Arabia has suggested it could buy missile defence systems from both Moscow and Washington, Bahrain says it is also in the market for Russian missile defences and the UAE may be close to breaking from the regional norm for aircraft procurement with a deal to buy Russian fighter jets. It is not the first time Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) states have shown interest in diversifying their defence equipment supply chains away from the US and European allies, but the developments around missile defences in particular put the issue in a stark spotlight.