• Monday, 16 April 2018
  • Published inApril 2018

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Country Risk Update – Baharain
Risk Indicator – DB5b
Risk Level – High

Ratings Trend – Deteriorating

Although Baharain’s domestic market is small, it has a sizeable component that is highly affluent. Saudi Arabia’s strong support for Bahrain provides a backstop to the economy in the event of a crisis, such as reserves depletion.The EU includes Bahrain on a blacklist of 17 tax havens, although the Ministry of Finance is planning actions to address some regulatory concerns.

Market Overview

Dubai’s Real Estate Deals Touched $15.7 Billion In Q1 2018
Investors poured in about $15.7 billion into Dubai’s property sector in the first three months of 2018, data from Dubai Land Department shows.However, the figure was down by 25% from the same period last year. Emiratis continued to be the biggest investors in local property as they invested funds worth $1.1 billion across 1,587 transactions. Indians were the biggest foreign investors with 1,550 transactions worth $817 million.“Achieving almost AED58 billion ($15.7 billion)in transactions shows strong momentum in the real estate sector for Q1, and we expect this to raise the Q2 transaction index and continue to rally before the end of the year,” said Sultan Butti bin Mejren, Director-General of DLD. “Analysts and experts predict an upsurge as we enter 2019 with unprecedented strength, as many strategic infrastructure projects are due to be completed in Dubai in preparation for Expo 2020,” he added.​

Las Vegas-Based Caesars Entertainment Planning Two New Resorts in Dubai
Caesars Entertainment Corporation is betting big on Dubai—the Las Vegas-based casino operator this week announced that it plans to manage two luxury hotels and a beach club in Dubai, after signing a non-binding agreement with Meraas Holdings.The resorts will represent the casino operator’s first non-gaming resorts, as gambling is prohibited in the U.A.E. Caesars’ new resorts will be located at Meraas’ Bluewaters Island development, just off the coast of Dubai on a man-made island. Both resorts are expected to open in late 2018, according to Caesars Entertainment.​The company is famous for operating the iconic Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas Strip. Overall, it runs 47 casinos spread across the U.S. and five other countries. ​

Dubai Goes Smarter As It Embraces Blockchain And AI
Dubai is rapidly transforming into a smart city as it embraces artificial intelligence (AI), adapts new technologies and begins implementing blockchain strategies. Last week, U.A.E.’s Vice President and Prime Minister Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched the Emirates Blockchain Strategy 2021 that aims to get 50% of government transactions to adopt the blockchain platform over the next three years- a step that will help the government to save around $3 billion, and 398 million printed documents with 77 million work hours annually. “Adaptation to advanced technologies and utilizing them in serving society and enhancing the efficiency of government performance is a firmly established approach adopted by the U.A.E.,” said Shaikh Mohammad.

Saudi Aramco Inks Deal To Build $44 Billion Refinery In India
Saudi Arabia is on an investment roll as it pushes forth with its economic roadmap that aims to diversify the country’s revenue sources. As part of this strategy, Saudi Aramco announced that it will develop a mega refinery, worth $44 billion, in the west coast of India in partnership with a consortium of Indian oil companies. The Kingdom’s state-owned oil firm will jointly invest with The Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOCl), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL), and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (HPCL) to build the refinery and the petrochemicals complex at Ratnagiri in Maharashtra.The refinery will have a capacity to process about 1.2 million barrels of crude per day but will not be limited to just that. The facility will also produce a range of refined petroleum products including gasoline and diesel while also providing feedstock for the integrated petrochemical complex that will have the capacity to produce about 18 million tons per annum of petrochemical production.

UAE sees 98% VAT compliance but many firms yet to register
About 275,000 companies and individuals have registered to pay value-added tax (VAT) in the 100 days since its implementation on January 1, according to Khalid Ali Al Bustani, the director general of the UAE’s Federal Tax Authority (FTA). Al Bustani added that despite some companies having so far failed to register – either intentionally or accidently – the VAT compliance ratio remained high, at 98.8 percent. “Even though the UAE is new to the tax system, achieving that level of compliance reflects how advanced the UAE is,” he said. “They were ready for the implementation of VAT.” He added that 2,160 VAT applications remain pending and that 14,402 firms were forced to re-submit their applications “due to missing information, or information not submitted correctly” before they can be approved by FTA officials.

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