Global Developments Bottomline: Trade tensions have been one of the prominent policy uncertainties this year and worries escalated globally last week, with Trump announcing an additional 10% tariff on USD 300bn worth of Chinese imports starting Sep 1 and Japan deciding to remove South Korea from a list of trusted export destinations. Already, Markit Global Manufacturing PMI is in the 3rd straight month of contraction with Jul’s reading at 49.3 (Jun: 49.4)- its lowest level since Oct 2012. Benchmark bond yields have plunged, with the 30-year German bonds briefly dipping into negative territory.
- Money supply in Bahrain grew by 9.2% yoy in Jun to BHD 12.55bn; total outstanding balance of public debt instruments dropped by 1.8% to BHD 11.3bn (or 79.3% of GDP).
- Bahrain’s National Bureau of Revenue disclosed that 99% of relevant firms had signed up for VAT.
- With the Bahrain Bourse latest listing of 15 treasury bills and Ijarah sukuk worth BHD 982mn, the total debt and sukuk listings on the exchange rise to BHD 1.77bn (29 issues).
- Bahrain may not be able to export local food products to Saudi Arabia in two months, unless they meet the “Halal-certified” requirement imposed by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority. Currently, there is no food authority nor food certification body in Bahrain.
- Bahrain-based Rain has become the first cryptocurrency exchange to be regulated in the Middle East.
- Egypt’s money supply increased by 11.85% yoy in Jun to EGP 3.864trn (USD 234bn).
- Egypt will form a committee to amend its VAT law and also to draft a new income tax law, according to the finance minister. No further details were provided.
- The Egyptian Exchange is considering a proposal by the African Development Bank to list a mutual fund that invests in government debt instruments in 8 African nations.
- Egypt plans to renew its crude oil supply contract with Kuwait, to double the quantity of crude oil supply. Egypt currently imports about 2mn barrels of crude oil from Kuwait, in addition to 1.2mn tons of petroleum products monthly.
- About 32.5% of Egyptians live below the poverty line in 2017-18, versus 27.8% in 2015, according to a research report which set the national poverty line at EGP 735.7 per month.
- Iraq’s oil exports increased to 3.566mn barrels per day in Jul from 3.52mn bpd in Jun, as per the oil ministry. Exports from the southern fields grew by 1.3% mom to 3.435mn bpd.
- Unemployment in Jordan edged up by 0.6% yoy to 19% in Q1; female unemployment stood at 29% versus 16% for males. Unemployment stood at 39% among the 20-24 year olds.
- Jordan does not plan to hike electricity prices “during the upcoming period”, revealed the minister of state for media affairs, as the current strategy to manage the debts of the National Electric Power Company is to lower production costs.
- Technology-based startups in Jordan accounted for 0.5% of nominal GDP in 2016, with 0.3% direct value added, as per a report from the German Agency for International Cooperation.
- Kuwait’s budget deficit narrowed by 31% to KWD 3.3bn (USD 11bn) in the fiscal year that ended in Mar 2019. Oil revenue, which accounted for 89.5% of total revenues, grew 29% to KWD 18.4bn while wages&subsidies, at KWD 16.334bn, constituted three-quarters of total expenditure
- Total reserves at the Central Bank of Kuwait increased by 25.91% to KWD 548.24mn (USD 1.81bn) in 2018-19.
- Kuwait central bank issued bonds and related tawarruq worth KWD 200mn (USD 658.6mn) with a 3% rate of return; the bonds, which carry a maturity period of 3 months, were oversubscribed 13.15 times.