NL/30.10.2017









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OCT 2017 ISSUE

CGI. 93

Country Risk Update – Oman

The ports of Sohar and Salalah are emerging as regionally competitive infrastructure facilities, soon to be joined by Al Duqm. The government is targeting high-end tourism as an area for growth.Because of the ongoing Gulf crisis, Oman accelerates its efforts to reduce the reliance on its GCC partners by garnering support from outside of the Gulf.The deal with Singapore is a real boost for Oman, but it pales into insignificance with the level of investment that Oman has managed to secure from China for its other port, Duqm.

Market Overview
VAT, tech to drive UAE job recruitment in 2018
The widespread implementation of Value-Added Tax (VAT) and a need to reshape businesses to cope with the latest technological advances will shape the staffing landscape in 2018, according to a new report from recruitment consultancy Robert Half.The report – the Robert Half 2018 Salary Guide – found that the demand for accounting and finance professions will remain high in the UAE in 2018, particularly in the real estate, construction, professional services and healthcare industries.
Bahrain’s Ibdar buys Boston office of Amazon subsidiary
Bahrain-based wholesale Islamic investment bank, Ibdar Bank, has announced the acquisition of a prime office building in Boston, United States. In collaboration with Lincoln Property Company and Ritz Banc Group, it has signed a deal for the building, which is currently the headquarters of Amazon Robotics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon Inc. The total deal size was $48 million, Ibdar Bank said in a statement. Ibdar CEO Ayman Sejiny said: “The deal is aligned with the bank’s strategy to focus on allocating investments within international real estate markets in order to provide diversified, stable and attractive returns.”
Dubai plans Fiqh league as it aims to lead world’s Islamic economy
Dubai is planning to set up a global Fiqh league, made up of Islamic scholars, to help the emirate establish itself as the world’s Islamic economy capital.The plan was discussed at a recent board meeting of the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) as part of its refreshed strategy 2017-2021.At the meeting, chaired by Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy and chairman of DIEDC, board members approved in principle several initiatives including the Fiqh league and a global education platform dedicated to strengthening Islamic economy sectors.
Saudi fund says to invest $1bn in Virgin Galactic
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund on 26 October 2017 announced a investment of $1 billion in British billionaire Richard Branson’s space tourism company Virgin Galactic.The announcement on the sidelines of an investment summit in Riyadh comes nearly a month after the Virgin Group founder said he would invest in the kingdom’s Red Sea project that aims to turn 50 Saudi islands into luxury tourism destinations.”This investment will enable us to develop the next generation of satellite launches and accelerate our programme for point to point supersonic space travel,” Branson said.
FTSE Russell launches Saudi inclusion indices ahead of EM upgrade
London Stock Exchange-owned index compiler FTSE Russell has launched a series of standalone indices including Saudi Arabia ahead of the kingdom’s anticipated promotion to its emerging market index next year.FTSE said the global, regional and country-level indexes are intended to be used as a transitional tool as the country remains on the company’s watch list for potential inclusion in its secondary emerging market index.The firm maintained Saudi’s position on the list during its annual classification announcement at the end of September and its status will be reviewed during an interim review in March 2018.
Bahrain’s Investcorp completes first European real estate portfolio
Bahrain-based investment firm Investcorp announced that it has completed its first European real estate portfolio following the acquisition of seven additional assets.The latest investment consists of a portfolio of seven industrial properties across the UK, for a total purchase price of approximately £40m. The properties are spread over approximately 700,000 sq ft across three single let distribution warehouses and four multi-let light industrial properties.They are located in High Wycombe, Leeds, South Elmsall, Liverpool, Warrington, Glasgow and Edinburgh, and have a very high level of occupancy rate with more than 40 tenants including many well established occupiers, a statement said.
Dubai, Abu Dhabi market futures to be traded on Nasdaq
Dubai Financial Market (DFM) and Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange have signed licensing deals allowing futures contracts linked with the DFM General Index (DFMGI) and Abu Dhabi General Index (ADI) to be traded on Nasdaq Dubai’s equity futures market.The DFMGI tracks a basket of DFM-listed companies in sectors including property, banking, telecoms, insurance and transport. The ADI tracks companies from telecommunication, financial services, real estate, energy and other sectors.Futures linked with the DFMGI will be traded on Nasdaq Dubai’s futures market from later this year, subject to regulatory approval. No timeline was given for futures linked with the ADI. 
Saudi to let foreigners take strategic stakes in firms
Saudi Arabia will let foreign investors take strategic stakes of 10 per cent or more in stock exchange-listed companies, the securities regulator said on Sunday, expanding an effort to attract foreign capital and technology to the kingdom.The Capital Market Authority said it was working with the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, the state investment agency, to prepare rules under which foreign investors with appropriate experience and expertise could own such stakes.Current regulations forbid a single foreign investor from owning 10 per cent or more of the shares of a listed Saudi company.
Commodity Tracker
Commodity 23 Oct 30 Oct Chg.%
Brent 57.90 60.48 4.46
WTI 52.10 53.95 3.55
Natural Gas 2.95 2.96 0.34
Gold 1278.00 1271.2 -0.53

 

Business Events this week In UAE

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Dubai Forum for Government Best Practices 2017

07 November – 08 November 2017
Sheikh Rashid Hall, Dubai
World Trade Centre

 

Business Updates
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Construction & Contracting Industry Insider

Dun & Bradstreet manages the world’s most valuable commercial database of 265 Million companies across 190 countries. Dun & Bradstreet has helped customers & partners build valuable relationships by uncovering the truth and meaning from Data. We apply statistical technologies & methodologies to build the highest performing predictors, which helps them connect with their most potential prospects & suppliers.
Based on our extensive primary & secondary research, we are pleased to present our latest offering of Dun & Bradstreet’s Construction and Contracting Industry Insider.

CRIF GULF DWC LLC
Level 15, ’48 Burj Gate’, Downtown Burj, Shaikh Zayed Road, Dubai, UAE 
Tel. +971 4 406 9900
www,crif.ae  /  www.dnbuae.com

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NL/23.10.2017









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OCT 2017 ISSUE

CGI. 92

Country Risk Update – Kuwait

Business opportunities should increase as the government targets a more diverse economy with its national development plan. A pending resolution of the Divided Zone dispute with Saudi Arabia will boost oil production capacity.We have downgraded the rating outlook for Kuwait from improving to stable as a result of increased political tensions in the region. Kuwait’s position in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2016-17 fell by four places, to 38th out of 138 countries, and to fourth in the Gulf.

Market Overview
SAMA will raise interest rates to protect riyal’s peg to the dollar, says research
In an effort to protect the riyal’s peg to the US dollar over the coming years, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) will hike interest rates in line with the US Federal Reserve, according to a new outlook report by BMI Research.The report predicts that price pressures, driven by fiscal consolidation measures, will increase in 18, but the tightening cycle will do little to mitigate these pressures, as demand-pull inflation will remain subdued. Although the tightening cycles will also weigh on credit demand, BMI maintains its views that the liquidity squeeze is “largely over.”
UAE’s Masdar says financing secured for giant wind farm in Serbia
Financing for one of the largest wind power projects in mainland Europe, part-owned by Abu Dhabi’s Masdar, has been agreed. Due for completion in the first half of 2019, the EUR300 million ($352 million) 158 megawatt (MW) capacity Cibuk 1 wind farm will be the largest utility-scale commercial wind project in Serbia and the western Balkans.Vetroelektrane Balkana (WEBG), the project company behind Cibuk 1, is wholly owned by Tesla Wind, a 60:40 joint venture between Masdar, Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company and Cibuk Wind Holding.
Investcorp acquires Kee Safety for $370m
Bahrain investment firm Investcorp said on 18 Oct 2017 Wednesday it agreed to acquire UK-based Kee Safety Ltd., a global provider of fall protection solutions and products associated with working at height, for £280 million ($370 million).“Kee Safety has grown at an impressive rate across international markets whilst maintaining excellent standards in the quality and reliability of its product range,” said Mohammed Al-Shroogi, co-CEO at Investcorp in a statement.““We look forward to working in partnership with the current management team as Kee Safety continues to increase its penetration into existing and new markets,” he added.
UAE’s Mubadala launches US-based venture capital arm
Mubadala Investment Company, the Abu Dhabi-based investment company, on 18 Oct 2017 Wednesday announced it is launching a venture capital arm of its business.The dedicated ventures investment team will be based in San Francisco, the first Mubadala office in the United States, it said in a statement.The team will initially oversee three main business areas including Mubadala Ventures Fund I, a $400 million early growth venture capital fund with two main investors, Mubadala and SoftBank.It will also run a $200 million Fund of Funds that will invest in both established and emerging fund managers. Under this program, Mubadala intends to invest $50-70 million per year in US and European-based venture capital funds.
Abu Dhabi Fund allocates $50m for Maldives Airport upgrade
Development aid agency Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) said on 18 Oct 2017, Wednesday it extended a $50 million (AED183.65 million) concessionary loan to the Maldivian government to develop the Velana International Airport in Malé.“Our loan aims to promote socio-economic development in the Maldives through upgrading the airport’s facilities and expanding its operating capacity to 26 aircrafts in order to cope with the steady growth of the tourism sector,” said Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of ADFD.
Saudi fund launches $510m energy efficiency unit
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has announced the establishment of a new energy service company, Super Esco, designed to increase energy efficiency across government and public buildings.A Royal decree has been issued requiring all government entities to contract Super Esco on an exclusive basis in order to improve energy savings across public buildings and facilities.Super Esco has been established with a capitalisation of SR1.9 billion ($510 million), a statement said.It added that the company will fund and manage the retrofit of government and public buildings, which represent over 70 percent of overall projects in the sector.
Funding for DEWA’s Dh100bn green investment vehicle finalised
The head of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) has said that it has finalised funding for its Dh100 billion ($27 billion) green investment fund, ahead of next week’s World Green Economy Summit (WGES) in Dubai.He added that the fund’s headline investors, and the amount so far raised, would be announced on the first day of WGES.The amount we will start the fund with will be announced … during the first day of the WGES,” said Saeed Al Tayer, CEO and MD of Dewa, adding: “We have finalised [deals] with some funds, both locally and externally.
Saudi wealth fund widens economic role with mortgage company
Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is setting up a mortgage refinancing company as it deepens the role it plays in the Arab world’s biggest economy.Saudi Real Estate Refinance aims to refinance 75 billion riyals (Dh73.4 billion, $20 billion) in mortgages in five years and more than double that by 2026, the Public Investment Fund said in an emailed statement. The company plans to acquire mortgage portfolios, issue mortgage-backed securities and offer direct and indirect refinancing as it seeks to boost home ownership, it said.The new company is designed to stimulate housing sector development in the kingdom by injecting liquidity into the real estate market,” the statement said.
Commodity Tracker
Commodity 16 Oct 23 Oct Chg.%
Brent 57.81 57.90 0.16
WTI 51.88 52.10 0.42
Natural Gas 2.96 2.95 -0.34
Gold 1306.4 1278.00 -2.17

 

Business Events this week In UAE

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WETEX 2017

23 October – 25 October 2017

Za’abeel Hall 1-8, Dubai World Trade Centre

 

Business Updates
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Construction & Contracting Industry Insider

Dun & Bradstreet manages the world’s most valuable commercial database of 265 Million companies across 190 countries. Dun & Bradstreet has helped customers & partners build valuable relationships by uncovering the truth and meaning from Data. We apply statistical technologies & methodologies to build the highest performing predictors, which helps them connect with their most potential prospects & suppliers.
Based on our extensive primary & secondary research, we are pleased to present our latest offering of Dun & Bradstreet’s Construction and Contracting Industry Insider.

CRIF GULF DWC LLC
Level 15, ’48 Burj Gate’, Downtown Burj, Shaikh Zayed Road, Dubai, UAE 
Tel. +971 4 406 9900
www,crif.ae  /  www.dnbuae.com

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NL/16.10.2017









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OCT 2017 ISSUE

CGI. 91

Country Risk Update – UAE

The UAE will continue to strengthen its position as a regional safe haven and business hub. Access to global markets from Dubai will be among the best in the world. The forward-looking Emirates NBD UAE Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) data for August highlights that the non-oil private sector continues to gain momentum.The index was at its highest level for 30 months and above the long-term average. 

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Market Overview
UAE’s international brand value estimated at nearly $600bn
The UAE’s international brand value is the highest in the Gulf at nearly $600 billion, according to a new study.Research by the London-based consultancy Brand Finance found that the UAE topped the regional rankings with a brand worth $594 billion, placing it 21st globally.It ranked ahead of Saudi Arabia, which has the largest economy in the Middle East, which has a brand value of $575 billion, a 19 percent rise on its previous value.
Saudi retail transactions, ATM withdrawals rise in August
Point of sales transactions in Saudi Arabia registered a second consecutive month of double-digit yearly growth in August while ATM withdrawals were also up, according to a new research note. Jadwa Investment’s monthly report showed “mild improvements” in economic activity in the Gulf kingdom with ATM withdrawals rising 4 percent compared to August 2016.
Further squeezes expected on GCC household income in 2018
The economic outlook in the Gulf region is expected to remain tough, with several further squeezes on household income in 2018, according to a new report.The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) report said overall GDP is expected to grow by 2.4 percent next year and rising to 4 percent in 2019.The accountancy and finance body said any extension of OPEC’s production cut deal, which ends on March 31, 2018, would delay the recovery.
UAE’s real GDP growth forecast to show to 1.4% in 2017
Real GDP growth in the UAE is estimated to further moderate to 1.4 percent this year, down from 3 percent in 2016, according to the World Bank.Its UAE Economic Outlook – October 2017 report said hydrocarbon GDP growth is estimated to contract to 2.9 percent in 2017 from 3.8 percent last year in compliance with the OPEC agreement to cut supply.The research added that the UAE’s non-oil sector is estimated to grow by 3.3 percent in 2017, reflecting higher public investment and a pickup in global trade.
ABN Amro looks to increase presence in GCC
Dutch bank ABN Amro hopes to expand its presence in the Middle East as it works to support clients in the natural resources, global transportation and logistics, food and retail, financial, utilities and renewables sectors, according to Hugo Peek, CEO EMEA, Corporate and Institutional Banking.“Backed by a strong balance sheet, a strong platform of product and sector skills and our experience and expertise, we are in an excellent position to support our clients and build on relationships with our increased product suite,” he said.  “Our franchise in the Middle East is part of that story.”
Saudi may raise loan – deposit ratio for banks
Saudi Arabia’s central bank may raise the maximum loan-to-deposit ratio for commercial banks if that is needed to help the economy, central bank governor Ahmed al-Kholifey told Al Arabiya television. Kholifey was speaking on the sidelines of meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington at the weekend. The central bank last raised the ratio in February 2016, to 90 per cent from 85 per cent.The ratio for the banking sector as a whole stood at 81.7 per cent in August, down from 84.8 per cent a year ago, according to the latest central bank data.
 
IMF says income tax may become “necessary” for GCC states
The Gulf Cooperation Council countries may eventually be forced to implement income and other taxes to balance their budgets in the future, according to an IMF official. Speaking to sources, the IMF’s deputy director of fiscal affairs department Abdelhak Senhadji said the organisation had advised Gulf governments to look at other forms of taxation including on immovable assets like real estate as they prepare to introduce VAT in January. “All of this [introduction of personal income tax] has to be feasible economically but also politically,” he was quoted as saying. Real estate taxes could be worth 1-2 per cent of GDP for countries in the region, according to the IMF.
VAT to create  over 5,000 jobs in the GCC- Analyst
Around 5,000 finance and accounting jobs will be created in the GCC region with the introduction of value added tax (VAT), a tax expert has predicted.All the six member states of the GCC are set to begin implementing VAT from 2018, with the UAE starting the tax from January.The introduction of the tax will prove beneficial to regional economies, official news agency WAM quoted Paul Drum, head of Policy at CPA Australia and an expert in tax law as saying.
Values of Middle east PPPs doubled in the past year, says report
Oil-rich governments are increasingly relying on the private sector in a key change across the Middle East and North Africa, a report said Wednesday.The value of public-private partnership (PPP) projects across the region, including those still in the pipeline, has more than doubled to $185 billion over the past year, the Dubai-based Middle East Economic Digest wrote.The sharp increase comes as governments have ramped up efforts to get the private sector involved in financing, building and operating public infrastructure projects in a bid to offset shrinking income from oil since crude prices began to fall in mid-2014.
Commodity Tracker
Commodity 9 Oct 16 Oct Chg.%
Brent 55.75 57.81 3.70
WTI 49.48 51.88 4.85
Natural Gas 2.87 2.96 3.14
Gold 1286.60 1306.4 1.54

 

Business Events this week In UAE

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Zameen Pakistan Property Show

20 October – 21 October 2017

Za’abeel Hall 5, Dubai World Trade Centre

 

Business Updates
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Construction & Contracting Industry Insider

Dun & Bradstreet manages the world’s most valuable commercial database of 265 Million companies across 190 countries. Dun & Bradstreet has helped customers & partners build valuable relationships by uncovering the truth and meaning from Data. We apply statistical technologies & methodologies to build the highest performing predictors, which helps them connect with their most potential prospects & suppliers.
Based on our extensive primary & secondary research, we are pleased to present our latest offering of Dun & Bradstreet’s Construction and Contracting Industry Insider.

CRIF GULF DWC LLC
Level 15, ’48 Burj Gate’, Downtown Burj, Shaikh Zayed Road, Dubai, UAE 
Tel. +971 4 406 9900
www,crif.ae  /  www.dnbuae.com

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OCT 2017 ISSUE

CGI. 90

Country Risk Update – Baharain

Saudi Arabia’s strong support for Bahrain provides a backstop to the economy in the event of a crisis, such as reserves depletion. Although the domestic market is small, it has a sizeable component that is highly affluent. Bahrain was the traditional financial and business services hub for the region, making up for its
limited oil by providing a welcoming business environment.It improved significantly in the category of starting a business, which had been its weakest area in the index, rising by 69 places to 73rd, after lowering its minimum capital requirements.

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Market Overview
Dubai property database will allow tenants to rent without cheques
Dubai Land Department has launched a new database system allowing tenants to rent a property without handing over cheques or physical documentation.The organisation claims the new service makes it the world’s first government entity to conduct all of its transactions through Bitcoin database technology blockchain. It will eventually be used to provide a database of all Dubai properties for customers and public and private sector partners.
76% of UAE residents plan to delay retirement
More than three in four UAE residents plan to continue working in some form when they reach retirement age, according to a new report.The survey of 130 people with more than $50,000 invested with an investment professional conducted by Old Mutual International and Quilter Cheviot showed many respondents felt too young to stop working, with 41 per cent saying they would continue to do so for social reasons. Another 35 per cent said they would continue working for financial reasons.Just 8 per cent of respondents said they would stop working altogether when they retire and 16 per cent were undecided.
UAE banks seek to reduce cash usage with new app
Emirates Digital Wallet, a platform backed by 16 of the UAE’s top banks, has unveiled a new app for the country’s residents designed to reduce the use of physical notes and coins. Klip allows the cashless spending, transfer and storage of money for anyone living and working in the country, according to the announcement.It aims to replace cash in the day-to-day economy and provide digital transaction security for those who do not have bank accounts.The app is backed by a new website providing audio and visual guides for its usage.
Bahrain’s Investcorp eyes businesses linked to Aramco, Saudi healthcare
Bahrain-listed Investcorp aims to invest in companies that support oil giant Saudi Aramco and is also eyeing healthcare and education assets being sold in Saudi Arabia’s privatisation drive, its executive chairman said.The private equity and alternative asset firm, which has offices around the world, aims to more than double investments to $50bn in five years by expanding existing businesses and through acquisitions in areas such as infrastructure.
Saudi Arabia enters recession in Q2
Saudi Arabia’s economy has slipped back into recession as the oil sector stagnates and the government sector is hit by austerity policies designed to curb a state budget deficit caused by low oil prices, official data showed on Saturday 30 Sept 2017.Gross domestic product, adjusted for inflation, shrank 2.3 per cent from the previous quarter in the April-June period, after dropping 3.8 per cent in the first quarter.Economists generally define a recession as two straight quarters of shrinking GDP, measured by quarter-on-quarter rates. Saudi Arabia was last in recession — a shallower one — in early 2016.
UAE economic growth forecast to rise to 3-3.5% in medium term
Economic growth in the UAE is expected to increase to at least 3 percent in the medium term on the back of Expo 2020, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s GEMs Macro monthly report.The bank’s MENA economist Jean-Michel Saliba said UAE real GDP growth is set to fall to 0.9 percent in 2017, from 2.2 percent likely in 2016.The headline figure masks a likely contraction in the oil sector due to the OPEC deal, but Saliba said he sees non-hydrocarbon real GDP growth picking up to 2.7 percent in 2017, from 2.3 percent in 2016.The report said Dubai remains committed to fiscal prudence but deficits are likely to widen modestly.
 
Dubai fund leads $30m investment in US tech firm
US-based Nanotronics, a developer of the world’s most technologically advanced automated microscope, has announced it has secured $30 million in Series D funding led by Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD).Sovereign wealth fund ICD’s portfolio includes more than 40 company investments across diverse sectors with a global footprint spanning more than 50 countries.Following the completion of the latest financing, Nanotronics will have raised a total of $71 million, which it said will accelerate the development of the company’s cutting-edge optical inspection technologies and proprietary industrial enterprise software, as well as expansion into key regions of the Asian market in 2018.
UAE reveals penalties for new tax law violations
The UAE Council of Ministers has adopted Cabinet Decision No. 39 of 2017 on Fees for Services Provided by the Federal Tax Authority and Cabinet Resolution No. 40 of 2017 on Administrative Penalties for Violations of Tax Laws in the UAE. The council’s meeting was chaired by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Cabinet Decision No.39 of 2017 on Fees for Services Provided by the Federal Tax Authority outlines the fees to be collected for the services provided by the FTA to its clients.Tax registration services and the issuance of an electronic tax registration certificate will be free of charge. An attested paper registration certificate, however, will carry a Dh500 fee, while registration, and renewal, fees for tax agents were set at Dh3,000 for three years.
PwC set to deliver VAT diploma in the UAE, Saudi Arabia
PwC, the global professional services firm, is to deliver a VAT diploma in the UAE and Saudi Arabia ahead of the introduction of value added tax in the Gulf region.As the GCC economies gear up for the new VAT regime from  January 1, 2018, PwC said there is a need to keep the workforce equipped with the skills and technical knowledge to implement and comply with VAT.The GCC VAT Diploma, accredited by the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT), is taught by PwC’s tax specialists and is delivered in a modular format to suit the learning preferences and schedules of working professionals.
Commodity Tracker
Commodity 2 Oct 9 Oct Chg.%
Brent 56.59 55.75 -1.48
WTI 51.56 49.48 -4.03
Natural Gas 3.01 2.87 -4.65
Gold 1276.90 1286.6 0.76

 

Business Events this week In UAE

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ITCfest 2017

11 October – 12 October 2017
Festival Arena Dubai

 

Business Updates
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Dun & Bradstreet manages the world’s most valuable commercial database of 265 Million companies across 190 countries. Dun & Bradstreet has helped customers & partners build valuable relationships by uncovering the truth and meaning from Data. We apply statistical technologies & methodologies to build the highest performing predictors, which helps them connect with their most potential prospects & suppliers.
Based on our extensive primary & secondary research, we are pleased to present our latest offering of Dun & Bradstreet’s Construction and Contracting Industry Insider.

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Level 15, ’48 Burj Gate’, Downtown Burj, Shaikh Zayed Road, Dubai, UAE 
Tel. +971 4 406 9900
www,crif.ae  /  www.dnbuae.com

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