GULF WEEKLY: S&P puts Oman on Positive outlook, opposition maintains majority in Kuwaiti elections, Abu Dhabi records strong Q4 GDP, oil touches $91.

GULF COUNTRIES - Report 05 Apr 2024 by Justin Alexander

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

* Brent crude has risen to $91, the highest since October, partial due to regional tensions.
* Israeli airstrikes hit the Iranian embassy in Syria and killed Western aid workers in Gaza.
* The UAE and Saudi Arabia were the biggest risers globally in Kearney’s FDI Confidence Index.
* PMIs eased slightly in Saudi Arabia & UAE, but remained strong, while Qatar neared a neutral level.
* S&P launched a PMI for Kuwait, reading 53.2 in March, a record since 2018 bar the Covid rebound.
* Saudi Arabia’s current account surplus in 2023 was 3.2% of GDP and Qatar’s was 17%.
* Abu Dhabi’s non-oil growth accelerated in Q4 and was 9.1% for 2023, led by finance and transport.
* Dubai achieved another tourism record in February, up 17% y/y, and Qatar hit a record in January.
* Abu Dhabi’s Lunate bought a 40% stake in Adnoc Oil Pipelines from BlackRock and KKR.
* The “opposition” held their parliamentary majority in Kuwait’s elections, with a solid 62% turnout.
* S&P gave Oman a positive rating outlook due to deleveraging, putting an IG status within reach.
* Oman’s new Financial Services Authority issued bonds and sukuk regulation.
* An FTA with Oman is reportedly on the priority list for India if Modi wins re-election.
* Abu Dhabi’s CYVN is reportedly considering joining Mumtalakat as an investor in McLaren.
* UAE support enabled Egypt’s FX reserves to surge by 14% m/m in March to a two-year high of $40bn.
* Databank updates: Abu Dhabi and UAE GDP, Qatar & Saudi BoP, PMIs and tourism, Bahrain inflation, Oman and UAE forecasts.

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