Country Analysts

Justin Alexander
Former Economic Advisor
Rory Fyfe
Former Head of Economics, QNB

Recent Country Insights

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Tighter Iran sanctions should boost oil prices in 2020
GULF COUNTRIES - Forecast 23 Aug 2019
Iran sanctions will take 1m b/d off the market in 2020 and its response will increase the geopolitical risk premium. The combination of these factors should boost oil prices to an average of $65-70 in 2020. This is a slightly out-of-consensus view, as most forecasters see prices as flat or fallin...

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​Gulf weekly: Aramco call and regional tensions distrurb Eid holidays
GULF COUNTRIES - Report 18 Aug 2019
Welcome to our first weekly economic and political update for the Gulf. Last week was quiet on the domestic economic front, given the Eid al-Adha holidays, which meant that government departments were closed all week and local markets were also closed for most of the week. However, there were sti...

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YEMEN: Conflict in Aden might help end Yemen’s civil war, benefiting the GCC
GULF COUNTRIES - Report 13 Aug 2019
Counterintuitively, a new axis of conflict in Yemen, which saw southern separatists capture Aden last weekend, might help end the civil war. This is because it could be easier for the separatists than the government to find accommodation with the Houthi rebels, who control the northern highlands....

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SAUDI: Aramco H1 results build hype for a likely IPO in H2 2020, but dividend policy remains vague
GULF COUNTRIES - Report 13 Aug 2019
Net income was down 12% on a 4% fall in oil price and a 7% rise in opex. However, transfers to the government were up 11% to $117bn due to an unexplained special dividend. Many of the initial barriers to an IPO have diminished, and much of the groundwork has been done, so we therefore expect it t...

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SAUDI: Latest data show the economy remains firm as fiscal easing increases but global headwinds will continue to weigh on equities
GULF COUNTRIES - In Brief 09 Aug 2019
July PMI data shows the non-oil economy remains strong, consistent with the latest Q2 fiscal data, which revealed a deficit that had widened to USD9bn.The authorities are pursuing accommodative fiscal policy to prop up growth despite a global oil demand shock weighing on oil prices. However, refo...

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Fed cuts are a small but welcome relief for the GCC
GULF COUNTRIES - In Brief 01 Aug 2019
GCC central banks have mainly followed the Fed lower, in keeping with usual behaviourThe rate cuts come as a small but welcome relief for fiscal policy and to support credit growth, after a number of years of rate hikes amidst slowing economic growthHighly leveraged economies and sectors will be ...

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​A Neutral Zone restart is coming and means more to Kuwait than Saudi
GULF COUNTRIES - Report 30 Jul 2019
Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are edging towards restarting shared oil fields suspended for over four years due to bilateral disputes, which overlap with wider tensions with Iran and Qatar. Until OPEC quotas are lifted, a restart would be offset by cuts at other fields, but the spare capacity and expec...

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BAHRAIN: Protests after Shia executions unlikely to spark change
GULF COUNTRIES - In Brief 30 Jul 2019
In the last few days Bahrain has seen the most extensive protests in two years following the executions of three men on saturday, including two young Shia. The anger is likely to lead to further clashes between protestors and police but there are currently no indications of an escalation towards ...

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SAUDI: Stimulus will only buy a temporary reprieve
GULF COUNTRIES - Forecast 29 Jul 2019
Saudi Arabia is pressing ahead with a fiscal stimulus to drive growth after several tough years for both consumers and businesses. This stimulus will not be sustainable, and non-oil growth will slow to around 1.8% by 2021 from 2.6% in 2019. As a result, the fiscal deficit will swell to 9% of GDP ...

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