GULF WEEKLY: Dubai lifts alcohol tax, FAB mooted buying StanChart, Oman’s detailed budget

GULF COUNTRIES - Report 06 Jan 2023 by Justin Alexander

A skimmable summary overlaid with our analysis and links. Headlines:

* Oil dipped below $80 this week on global recession fears.
* The GCC had 5/10 most active SWFs in 2022, boosting investments in major deals by 88% y/y.
* The UAE called a UN meeting over a controversial holy site visit by a far-right Israeli minister.
* PMIs dipped in Saudi Arabia and UAE, but remained strong; Qatar’s rose but is still negative.
* UAE consolidated spending rose by just 4% y/y in the first nine months, while revenue rose 36%.
* Dubai announced a 10-year Economic Agenda to double the size of its economy.
* Dubai suspended its 30% alcohol tax to try and further boost tourism.
* FAB said it had previously considered acquiring Standard Chartered.
* Qatar’s LNG exports rose to a new record in 2022 but the US tied with it for first place.
* Kuwait’s current account balance was a massive 36% of GDP in the first nine months.
* Oman’s budget shows restraint in core areas such as civil ministries and shifts gas costs off-budget.
* Like-for-like spending is -2% below the 2022 prelim but 10% more than projected in the 2021 MTFP.
* POS transactions on foreign cards in Bahrain, a tourism indicator, hit a record in November.
* Databank update: Oman budget, UAE fiscal outturn, Kuwait BoP, PMIs.

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