​GULF WEEKLY: IMF forecasts bigger contractions, Qatar Q2 GDP, Oman VAT & gas

GULF COUNTRIES - Report 16 Oct 2020 by Rory Fyfe and Justin Alexander

A skimmable summary of key developments overlaid with our analysis and links to further information. Headlines include:

* IMF forecasts bigger contractions but smaller deficits across GCC.
* NCB and Samba merged in Saudi, and FAB-ADIB bank merger talks restarted in UAE.
* Saudi lost its bid for a UN Human Rights Council seat, winning just 90 votes (vs 152 in 2016).
* Dana Gas agreed to repay a sukuk it had previously argued should be unenforceable.
* Dubai is offering residency for remote workers and their families.
* Qatar’s non-oil GDP contracted by -9.1% y/y in Q2, mid-way between Saudi and Bahrain.
* Qatar recommitted to its North Field expansion timeline and hinted at additional future phases.
* Oman issued its VAT law (starting in April) but not its anticipated bond - maybe next week?
* BP’s 0.5bcf/day Ghazeer gas project in Oman started up a few months ahead of schedule.
* Oman posted a -$1.9bn deficit in July, but civil ministry spending did ease back.
* Bahrain’s POS data shows improvement in September but a new weekly series is volatile.
* A major prisoner exchange in Yemen raised hopes about a revival of peace talks.
* Lebanon postponed PM selection but held initial border demarcation talks with Israel.

Now read on...

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