Newsletter 100 Issue December (Copy 103)

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Country Risk Update - Bahrain

Risk Indicator - DB5b
Risk Level - High
Ratings Trend - Improving

A giant oil and gas find off in the west coast of Bahrain offers a promise of vast wealth if it proves commercially viable to extract. Dun & Bradstreet upgrades its rating outlook for Bahrain due to the agreement made with Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait to provide USD10bn in financial support.
Market Overview
Al Hilal Bank executes world's first Blockchain Sukuk transactions
Al Hilal Bank has become the world’s first Islamic bank to use Blockchain technology for the resale and settlement of an Islamic Sukuk (Sharia-compliant bond). It was used to transact a secondary market deal in Al Hilal Bank’s $500m Senior Sukuk maturing in September 2023. Al Hilal Bank’s CEO, Alex Coelho, said that the technology will improve the security of similar transactions, paving the way for further digitized “Smart” Islamic Sukuks:  “The advantages of using smart contracts range from safer transactions with robust Shariah compliance to the unlocking of new opportunities.” The initiative is the result of the collaboration of Al Hilal Bank Digital Transformation team with Jibrel Network, a UAE-based FinTech. The collaboration was made possible thanks to the support of Abu Dhabi Global Markets’ (ADGM) FinTech platforms that foster an interactive, collaborative and vibrant ecosystem for innovation to take root in Abu Dhabi and the region. Islamic Sukuk has been one of the fastest growing asset classes in recent years with $97.9bn worth of Sukuks issued in 2017 - a 50 percent increase from 2016. Smart Sukuks could provide transactional efficiencies and significantly reduce the overheads associated with issuing and settling Islamic Sukuks.
UAE gov't set to launch 7 new strategies, over 100 initiatives
The UAE Government's annual meetings will be held this week, with seven long-term strategies and more than 100 initiatives expected to be launched. The two-day meeting will start on 27th November 2018, in Abu Dhabi and will be co-chaired by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. The annual meetings will be attended by 500 dignitaries, heads of UAE executive boards, ministers, heads of federal government bodies, heads of local government agencies, federal, local, and regional directors, along with assistant agents and executives, state news agency WAM reported. The meetings will see discussions on national issues and launch strategies and initiatives that promote the development model of the state to reach the UAE Centennial 2071, it added. Seven long-term strategies along with over 100 initiatives will be launched during the meetings, encompassing food security, artificial intelligence, culture and heritage, operational strategies, future skills, quality of life and happiness, and the advanced science, WAM reported.
UAE urges Brazil to remove it from 'tax haven' list
The UAE is willing to expand its multi-billion dollar investments in Brazil as long as it’s no longer labeled a tax haven by Latin America’s largest economy. The UAE Ambassador to Brazil, Hafsa Abdulla Al Ulama, said her country’s sovereign wealth funds are ready to boost investments in infrastructure, energy and agriculture should the nation be removed from the list. "Our sovereign funds would like to see that there are incentives for people to come and invest", she said in an interview in Brazil’s capital city, Brasilia. "Singapore and Switzerland have been removed from the tax haven list. Why not UAE?" In addition to having to deal with Brazil’s notorious red tape, countries considered as tax havens are also subject to higher levies and stricter compliance rules. The UAE fund Mubadala, while not the country’s largest, already manages $2 billion in Brazil, including investments in ports and telecommunications. Brazil’s outgoing Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes Ferreira told Bloomberg the tax haven list discussion with the UAE is "very close" to being resolved.
Dubai Investments acquires stake in $126m healthcare project
Dubai Investments has grown its healthcare portfolio with a 20 percent stake in an equity partnership in the AED465 million ($126.5 million) Clemenceau Medical Centre, a new project planned in phase 2 of Dubai Healthcare City. The equity partnership with Khansaheb Investments (55 percent) and CMC SAL (25 percent) is the latest addition to the Dubai Investments' healthcare portfolio, which also includes an equity partnership for a multi-disciplinary hospital and daycare clinics in Dubai under British teaching hospital King’s College Hospital London. Construction at the Clemenceau Medical Centre is now 68 percent complete, and the 110-bed specialty care facility is expected to open June 2019, a statement said. Khalid Bin Kalban, managing director and CEO of Dubai Investments, said: “Healthcare is one of the core development sectors of the nation, and there are concerted initiatives to strengthen it and bring world-class medical facilities to the region. "Through our equity participation in the new Clemenceau Medical Centre in Dubai, we are underpinning our focus on strategic investments in the sector that will contribute to the well-being of the people and improve upon the reputation of the emirate as a hub for world-class medical care.”
Saudi Arabia said to be pumping more oil than ever before 
Saudi Arabia is pumping as much as 11.2 million barrels of crude a day, the most since the kingdom extracted its first oil eight decades ago, according to a person familiar with the matter. The kingdom’s production was running at about 10.8 million to 10.9 million barrels earlier this month as it responded to stronger-than-usual demand from clients preparing for a disruption in Iranian supplies. Saudi Arabia was also using crude from domestic and overseas stockpiles to supplement supply, industry executives said at the time. It’s unclear if Saudi Arabia plans to keep increasing production, or if it is still supplementing supply from inventories. A Saudi Arabian oil official declined to comment. OPEC and its allies meet December 6 in Vienna to discuss the group’s 2019 production strategy. Saudi Arabia has already said it supports a drop in output and has pledged to reduce shipments by 500,000 barrels a day in December, compared with November. Key decision makers will be at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires later this week, in a meeting that may well decide the direction of oil prices in 2019.
Commodity Tracker
Business Events this Week In UAE
@ Dubai World Trade Centre
Date: 27 November 2018 To 29 November 2018
Business Updates
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