GULF WEEKLY: Qatar/Kuwait drop GDP data, South Yemen separatists drop self-rule, PIF drops Newcastle bid

GULF COUNTRIES - Report 31 Jul 2020 by Rory Fyfe and Justin Alexander

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

* The near-term outlook for oil is weakening after a recent surge partly driven by dollar weakness
* Saudi posted a -$29bn deficit in Q2 but there were signs of expenditure consolidation.
* Saudi issued $9bn in local sukuk (refinancing existing debt), while Bahrain sold a more modest $0.4bn local bond and Oman announced an auction for a $0.5bn local bond.
* Oman is also preparing for a $2bn syndicated one-year bridge loan until it can issue eurobonds.
* In Q1, non-oil GDP was down -3.8% q/q in Qatar and -5.4% q/q in Kuwait.
* Activity picked up in June, including Saudi POS transactions and Qatari property sales.
* Despite a renewed US call to end the Qatar dispute, a Saudi appeal against the WTO ruling isn’t a good sign, perhaps embittered by the collapse of its controversial bid to buy Newcastle United.
* The Saudi King walked out of hospital, but Kuwait’s Emir remains in the Mayo Clinic.
* Positive signs in Yemen include a deal with southern separatists and an Iranian mediation offer.
* Libya looks bleaker, complicated by foreign powers and mercenaries; no oil exports for a while.
* Lebanon was downgraded again by Moody’s and saw Israeli-Hezbollah border clashes.
* There’s a new PM in Tunisia, and Jordan called elections for November.

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