GULF WEEKLY: UAE shifts its weekend, MBS completes his Gulf tour, Qatar releases budget

GULF COUNTRIES - Report 10 Dec 2021 by Justin Alexander

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

* There were hints of progress in Iran nuclear talks today, although the US is upping the pressure.
* MBS completed his tour of the Gulf in Kuwait today. The most visible immediate outcome of the tour were agreements signed in Oman for potential petrochemical and hydrogen projects.
* Macron visited Saudi Arabia (following Qatar and UAE last week), and Erdogan visited Qatar. The UAE’s Sheikh Tahnoun visited Iran’s president.
* Qatar’s PMI hit a new record and UAE and Saudi also had strong readings of economic activity.
* Aramco sold a 49% stake in its gas pipelines for $15.5bn, and PIF sold a $3bn stake in Saudi Telecom.
* The US Senate approved the sale of more Patriot missiles to Saudi to ward off Houthi attacks.
* The UAE will be the first Gulf state to move to a Sat/Sun weekend, with a half-day on Friday.
* Qatar’s budget sees a deficit of -$2.6bn on oil at $55 and a 5% increase in spending allocations.
* Qatar signed two more LNG supply agreements with Chinese firms.
* Oman’s deficit was down by two-thirds y/y to -$2.6bn in Jan-Oct.
* The first road connecting Oman and Saudi Arabia (which are separated by desert) was opened.
* Bahrain’s parliament formally approved the doubling of the VAT to 10%.
* Lebanon’s prime minister spoke with MBS (mediated by Macron) and met with the IMF.
* Yemen’s Houthi rebels captured a strategic mountain on the southern edge of Marib.

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