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We’ve seen Saudi artists bought by European collectors, and major American works bought by collectors from the GCC,” the fair’s director, Antonia Carver, told GSN in an interview. “Increasingly we are seeing a lot of young collectors

Saudi Arabia
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The Council of Ministers (cabinet) has approved a plan to loosen restrictions on expatriate visas in an effort to attract more international investment into the kingdom. The new ‘green card’ permits will be offered without the need for a local sponsor; those granted a new residency permit will be allowed to allocate visas for family members and to own real estate in the country. There will be two types of permit: one offering permanent residency and the other renewable on an annual basis.

Saudi Arabia
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Deputy prime minister and finance minister Sheikh Salem Abdulaziz Al-Sabah criticised Kuwait’s bloated bureaucracy and inefficient labour market on 7 October, repeating views he expressed before resigning as governor of the central bank.
Interestingly, his comments were carried by state news agency Kuna, although the headline, ‘Kuwaiti economy “strong and stable”’, highlighted a different aspect of what was his first extensive public policy statement since taking charge at the ministry in August (GSN 953/8). 
Sheikh Salem did, indeed, say Kuwait’s economic situation was predominantly strong and stable, pointing to a KD12.7bn ($44.8bn) surplus for the 2012-13 financial year ending in March, representing 24.7% of nominal GDP for 2012.

Kuwait
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With six years to go until the 2022 Fifa World Cup kicks off, Qatar is pushing on with the award of construction contracts for the eight stadiums to be used (that number down from an initial plan for 12 stadiums). Five contracts have been awarded to joint ventures made up of local Grade A registered contractors and international companies. Three more have yet to be finalised, for Ras Abu Aboud stadium (40,000 seats), Al-Thumama stadium (40,000 seats) and the estimated $769m, 80,000-seat stadium at Lusail, which will host the final. Bids were due on 1 August for the Lusail arena.

Qatar
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Egypt’s Finance Minister Youssef Boutros Ghali has been selected as the new chairman of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), which sets the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) political direction and overall policy priorities. The chairmanship lasts for a term of up to three years.

Egypt
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One of the region’s strongest financial systems has weaknesses to address despite its successful management of last month’s mini-crisis.

Kuwait
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Concern over the sultanate’s current account and other balances are being reflected in an upturn in sovereign and corporate debt issuance. The most eye-catching deal of the Omani summer was a $3.6bn loan agreed by the government with a group of unnamed Chinese financial institutions. Finalised in July and unveiled in August, the five-year unsecured loan was only marketed to Chinese lenders; it is something of a departure for the sultanate, which has tended to rely on financial aid from rich regional allies such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE, or loans from western lenders.

Oman
Issue 863 - 24 October 2009

Carriers tap ECA money

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The UAE’s two leading airlines have tapped nearly $650m in bond and debt facilities backed by export credit agencies (ECAs), reflecting the attractiveness of long-term ECA support at a time when commercial debt remains scarce and highly priced.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Spanish sporting giant Real Madrid (RM)’s president Ramon Calderón has been in talks with Ajman Crown Prince Sheikh Ammar Bin Humaid Al-Nuaimi with the idea of training talented young Emirati footballers in Spain, as well as opening RM football schools in the UAE.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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The International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s latest Article IV consultation for Oman concluded with a polite restatement of the macroeconomic problems confronting the sultanate, and the recommendation that further fiscal reform is essential, amid continuing pressure on macroeconomic balances from the soft oil price and a tendency towards overspending by the government, to buy social peace. The overall fiscal deficit is projected at 14.8% of GDP in 2015 and seems set to rise further unless the government takes urgent remedial action.

Oman
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Government ministries and entities will in future be required to certify that consultancy services cannot be supplied by Saudi providers before signing contracts with foreign firms, according to a royal decree published on 7 September.In 2018, the General Audit Bureau estimated foreign consulting firms undertook business worth $3.2bn in the kingdom, up 9% on the previous year largely because of the growth in work related to the healthcare sector and to Vision 2030, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s national strategic plan.

Saudi Arabia
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Aligning itself with international pressure over the nuclear issue, Tokyo has announced new sanctions against Iran, which include a ban upon any medium- to long-term (MLT) export credit cover from either Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (Nexi) and The Japan Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC).

Iran
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Muscat is planning to spend OR12.9bn ($33.6bn) over the course of this year, OR400m more than forecast in the 2018 budget. According to local media reports, the budget is based on an oil price assumption of $58 a barrel, with total revenues forecast at OR10.1bn in 2019 The projected deficit of OR2.8bn is slightly lower than the OR3bn shortfall predicted in the 2018 budget.The government plans to borrow to cover most of the deficit, with OR2.4bn to be raised in international and domestic debt and the rest coming from withdrawals from reserves.

Oman
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As local companies and their international partners line up to build facilities for the 2022 Fifa World Cup, the winning joint ventures are remarkably well-connected, belonging to Al-Thani members and closely linked local familiesWith six years to go until the 2022 Fifa World Cup kicks off, Qatar is pushing on with the award of construction contracts for the eight stadiums to be used (that number down from an initial plan for 12 stadiums). Five contracts have been awarded to joint ventures made up of local Grade A registered contractors and international companies.

Qatar
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Rather than gaining a bounce from the opening up of the Saudi stock exchange (Tadawul), regional equities markets have been hit hard in the past month by the global turmoil related in part to collapsing Chinese markets. In a 24 August note, Capital Economics said the worst Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region stock market performers were largely concentrated in the Gulf, notably Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.