• Monday, 04 June 2018
  • Published inJune 2018

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Country Risk Update 
United Arab Emirates
Risk Indicator – DB3c
Risk Level – Slight
Ratings Trend – Stable

The rising oil price will boost growth in U.A.E and help ease elevated financial liquidity over the rest of 2018. Access to global markets from Dubai will be among the best in the world.The continued strengthening of the global oil price is feeding through into improved short-term economic conditions and easing credit conditions. As a result, Dun & Bradstreet has upgraded its outlook on the Credit Environment from ‘stable’ to ‘improving’.

Market Overview

Crude Oil Emerges As Headliner In Commodities Trading
The energy sector led with losses this past week in the commodities trading race. Other sectors like metals and agriculture saw no significant fluctuations except for mixed trading numbers. According to the Head of Commodity Strategy Ole S Hansen at Saxo Bank, these recent trading results are the direct and indirect cause of the political situations in Spain and Italy, as well as Donald Trump’s decision to implement duties on imports of steel and aluminium from US allies in addition to a range of tariffs on goods from China.In light of these events, the stock market saw core bond yields lower and the dollar rise higher while raising concerns about global growth. After Saudi Arabia and Russia opened to the possibility of raising production of crude oil, the commodity became the headliner in trading.  On the other side of the spectrum, gold and silver both remained around $1300/oz and $16.5/oz with the ever changing political news so far having a net neutral impact on them. According to Hansen, the decision made by Saudi Arabia and Russia to work towards increasing production came after the first signs of rising crude oil prices were beginning to potentially hurt demand.

U.A.E.-Based Startup SchoolVoice Raises $1.5 Million In Seed Funding
SchoolVoice, a U.A.E.-based interactive platform simplifying communications between schools and parents has raised $1.5 million in seed funding from a local venture capitalist Bin Mejren Investment Group.Founded in 2016 by Ali Bin Yahia, SchoolVoice is a product of Abu Dhabi-based tech house Netaq E-solutions. The two-way communicative platform plans to use the seed fund to develop its technology, grow its team and scale-up the brand.​ Through the app-based platform parents are constantly updated about their children’s academics and educational progress. To further expand the app’s user reach to French speaking countries by Q3 2018, the startup is developing a French version of the app. It has also signed contracts with schools in the U.A.E and in the MENA region and some in the Southeast Asian countries.Commenting on the seed investment, Mohamed Ibrahim, Manager, Bin Mejren Investment Group said: “We studied the communication tools used by the education sector in the Middle East and found that it is worth $1.3 billion.” He continued, “We believe that SchoolVoice will be the market mover and will acquire a huge share of this market.”​

Abu Dhabi’s Non-Oil Trade Falls 13% To $12 Billion But Exports Show Growth
The value of non-oil trade through Abu Dhabi ports decreased by 13.6% to reach $12 billion in the first quarter of 2018 compared to 2017, according to a report from the Abu Dhabi Statistics Center. This was the result of a 21.9% decrease in re-exports which fell to AED 5.6 billion, down from AED 7.2 billion last year. Meanwhile imports fell by 15.1% to reach AED 26.3 billion, while the value of non-oil exports rose by 5% compared to the same period in 2017.​The statistics refer to trade which moves through the ports of Abu Dhabi only and do not capture inter-emirate trade activity. Therefore, the trade activity through the ports in Dubai and the other emirates are not reflected.​Though imports decreased this quarter, they stood at $ 8.5 billion and are still over five times higher than exports that stood at $ 1.5 billion. Re-exports from Abu Dhabi’s ports were $1.9 billion for the first three months of the year.​

Dubai’s Landmark Group To Inject $13.2 Million Into Carluccio’s Rescue Plan
Dubai-based retail firm Landmark Group will be reportedly investing close to $13.2 million to rescue struggling U.K.-based Italian restaurant chain Carluccio’s. Carluccio’s could be shutting down as much as 30 outlets under a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) rescue plan that will help shore up some of its losses. The cash injection by Landmark, which is its majority owner, will be used to revamp the surviving outlets.​The Dubai-headquartered retailer bought the U.K. operator of the Italian chain of restaurants in 2010 in a transaction that was valued around $138 million. Upon acquiring it, Landmark had also laid out an expansion strategy for Carluccio’s in the Middle East. However, Carluccio’s, like many others, have been hit by rising costs and a general dip in consumer spending across the U.K.​

Oman Oil Mulls 10% Stake Sale In Khazzan Gas Field For About $1 Billion
State-owned Oman Oil Company is reportedly looking at selling a 10% stake in one of its major gas fields in the country for about $1 billion or more. In September 2017, BP, jointly with the Ministry of Oil & Gas of the Sultanate of Oman started production at the Khazzan gas field in partnership with Oman Oil Company. BP owns 60% of the field, while the remaining 40% is owned by Oman Oil. According to reports Indian, Middle Eastern and Chinese companies were interested in acquiring a stake, which Oman Oil expects to get a bid for by July. However, the plan is pending final approvals and Oman Oil can even decide not to sell it. One of the biggest tight gas projects in the Middle East, Khazzan gas field currently produces 5.5 million barrels per day. It is a strategic project for Oman that has struggled with low oil prices, mainly because it has a higher breakeven price among the GCC countries.

Commodity Tracker

Business Events this Week In UAE

The Indian Property Show
@ Sheikh Rashid Hall, Dubai World Trade Centre
21 June 2018 To 23 June 2018
Business Updates

Introducing D&B’s Express BIR
D&B Express Business Information Reports helps to take day-to-day credit decisions, analyse a company’s financial strength and discover commercial opportunities.

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