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Saudi healthcare market needs $37.3b investment

The healthcare market in Saudi Arabia requires an estimated $23.6 billion – $37.3 billion new investment as the population grows at a rate of 2.65% per annum, said Colliers International, the global commercial real estate leader, in its latest white paper on the healthcare sector in the Kingdom.


The report, which is the 8th edition in their series of research papers on healthcare in the MENA region, revealed that based on historical population growth rate of 2.65% per annum, by 2030, KSA will require an additional 50,000 new beds (with current ratio of 2.23 beds per 1,000 population) and over 110,000 bed (with world average of 2.7 beds per 1,000 population) and almost 40,000 more doctors.

Mansoor Ahmed, Director of Healthcare, Education and Public Private Partnerships (PPP), said “one way of bridging the required investment is by creating more REIT funds. We estimate that REIT funds in the Kingdom can unlock around $7.5 billion to $8.5 billion property value from the private sector, thereby playing a major role in extending the growth in the healthcare sector. In addition to the above, with the foreign investors ownership announcement by the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), in which foreign investors can have 100% ownership in healthcare and education sectors, which once implemented, is expected to boost private sector investment in the healthcare sector.”

He noted that the healthcare sector in Saudi Arabia is undergoing evolution on the back of rapid advancements in technology, research and development (R&D) in line with the global and regional trends. However, healthcare providers and professionals are grappling with several challenges concurrently, such as patients becoming customers and the patient care transitioning from “fee for quality” rather than “fee for service”. This coupled with new compliance requirements that aim at wellness and prevention plus ensuring better coordination, efficiencies, add depth and complexity to an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Recent trends and industry dynamics require operators in the healthcare sector to make challenging decisions. While the healthcare system has improved across the region including Saudi Arabia, the sector offers opportunities for investors/

operators, the report further said.

Key factors that make Saudi Arabia’s healthcare market attractive are:

• KSA’s healthcare sector is structured to provide a basic platform of healthcare services to all, with specialized treatment facilities offered at some private and public hospitals.

• KSA has an estimated population of 32.6 million in 2018, which is expected to double, reaching 77.2 million by 2050, growing at 2.65% per annum. Assuming a more conservative 1.02% average annual growth, as suggested by World bank, KSA population would still reach 45.1 million by 2050. This increase in population is expected to fuel the demand for healthcare services in the kingdom. Concurrently, the

healthcare system needs to treat emerging Lifestyle Diseases and Illnesses associated with modern and urban lifestyle, partially due to the growing middle-income population.

• The government is encouraging private sector participation in the healthcare sector as the public sector’s role is gradually transitioned to becoming more of a regulator rather than as a provider of healthcare facilities, as highlighted in the National

Transformation Plan (NTP) and the privatization plan. In 2017, Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) announced that foreign investors can have 100% ownership in health and education sectors, once implemented this is expected to boost private sector investment in healthcare in KSA.

• Government commitment to healthcare is evident as the government continues its efforts in developing various medical cities, however, many of these facilities are expected to be operated in conjunction with the private sector investment using various Public Private Partnership (PPP) models.

• The healthcare and social services sector has been allocated 15% (SR147 million) of the total KSA’s 2018 budgeted expenditures, up from actual spend of SR 133 million during 2017. This 10.5% increase in the allocation reflects a strong indication of potential demand as well as the government’s willingness to augment growth and improvement within the sector.

Moreover, the report said the population pyramid in KSA has significantly changed between 1980 and 2015, and it will further change by 2050 this will have a significant impact on healthcare demand in terms of quality, quantity and type of healthcare facilities.

During 2015-2050 approximately 19 million babies will be born in KSA, creating demand for facilities and services, relating to mother and childcare (obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics, etc.) along with the more common prevailing communicable and some non-communicable diseases.

The age group between 20-39 years is very important for future healthcare planning, as it is common that there is the development of chronic diseases; cardiovascular, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and some types of cancer.

These have a long-term impact on demand for healthcare. With 12 million population in this age group there is considerable demand not only for curative but also preventative facilities.

“Over the next three decades, we envisage a sharp rise in healthcare demand as approximately 80.0% of an individual healthcare requirements typically occur post the 40-50 age range. This is primarily due to an increase in lifestyle related diseases, such as diabetes, coronary and other obesity-related illnesses,” the report forecast.

Besides, `n increase in life expectancy in KSA is expected to extend from the current level of 73.1 years and 76.1 years for males and females respectively to 78.4 and 81.3 by 2050.

This is expected to create demand on long- term care (LTC) facilities, focusing on geriatric related care, rehabilitation and home healthcare services.

Based on current international benchmarks of 4-6 beds per 1,000 population above 65 years, Saudi Arabia currently needs from 6,400 to 9,600 beds dedicated for LTC, this is expected to reach 41,200 – 61,800 LTC beds by 2050, the report added. — SG

 

Source:  http://saudigazette.com.sa/article/544271/BUSINESS/Saudi-healthcare-marketneeds-$373b-investment

Saudi wealth fund invests $1bn in Tesla rival Lucid Motors

Deal aims to help Silicon Valley company launch its first electric vehicle in 2020

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has made its second major investment in a US electric vehicles maker, striking a $1bn deal to provide much-needed financing for Tesla-rival Lucid Motors on Monday.

The move comes just weeks after the Financial Times revealed the Saudi Public Investment Fund, the state vehicle being used by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to overhaul his nation’s economy, had built a near 5 per cent stake in Elon Musk’s car group Tesla.

The PIF said the deal would provide funding to help Lucid launch its first electric vehicle in 2020, ending months of speculation over whether the private Silicon Valley-based company would be able to secure the backing needed to allow further development of its products.

Lucid is one of a handful of electric car start-ups trying to model themselves on Tesla, though they are years behind and, in several cases, struggling to raise cash.

Lucid’s chief technology officer, Peter Rawlinson, was previously the chief engineer for Tesla’s Model S. Copying the game plan of the Model S, Lucid’s first car, called the Air, is a high-end sedan designed to reach production capacity of about 50,000 a year, acting as a showcase for the company’s brand and technology as it tries to open a wider market.

“By investing in the rapidly expanding electric vehicle market, PIF is gaining exposure to long-term growth opportunities, supporting innovation and technological development and driving revenue and sectoral diversification for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the $250bn fund said.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, is investing in new industries to diversify the kingdom’s economy away from its vast hydrocarbon resources, in preparation for a time when global demand for its barrels could peak. While Saudi Arabia is investing in a sector that is primed to erode oil’s dominance in transportation, the kingdom still sees growth in vehicles powered by traditional fuels led by fast-growing emerging economies in Asia and Africa.

However, unlike its move to purchase a stake in Tesla, the decision to invest in Lucid was the source of major debate within the PIF, said people with direct knowledge of the matter.

That was partly because of the troubled financial position of Lucid, one of these people said. The company has yet to build its planned factory in Arizona, a facility it predicted would cost $700m and produce 10,000 vehicles in 2019. The company’s backers include Jia Yueting, the entrepreneur behind ambitious Chinese electronics conglomerate LeEco until the group ran into financial difficulties.

Lucid’s links to Tesla include former employees such as Bernard Tse, who was an early board member and executive at Tesla before Elon Musk came in to take full management control, and Martin Eberhard, the Tesla founder who fell out with Mr Musk.

Details of the PIF investment, including whether the Saudi fund would in effect take control of Lucid’s equity or whether the deal would require approval from US national security regulators, were not immediately available.

The decision to invest in Lucid comes as the PIF’s own finances are under scrutiny, with the fund earlier on Monday finalising an $11bn loan package.

With the initial public offering of state energy giant Saudi Aramco shelved indefinitely, the PIF has been on the hunt for new means to generate funds, including raising debt and a potential $70bn sale of its stake in state chemical group Sabic to Aramco.

Dubai and Saudi Arabia towers in time war to be world’s tallest

The race to the top has just gotten tighter, with two rising mega-towers in the Middle East battling to become the world’s tallest.

Image result for jeddah tower
Construction has now begun on The Tower at Dubai Creek Harbor, a vast waterfront development, with completion scheduled for ahead of Dubai’s Expo 2020 world fair, which kicks off in October that year.
Piercing through a canopy of clouds, The Tower, at 3,045ft (928m), aims to take the title of world’s tallest tower, which the 2,723ft-tall (830m) Burj Khalifa, also in Dubai, has held since 2010.
But it’s got competition. The Jeddah Tower, in Saudi Arabia, is also slated to finish in 2020.
When completed, this gleaming vertical will be 236ft (72m) taller than Dubai’s creation.
If The Tower in Dubai wants the world title, even for a short time, it has to open its doors before the Jeddah Tower.
Image result for dubai creek harbor tower
Both of these towers are feats in modern engineering.
The Tower, in Dubai, is being constructed by Emaar, the real estate giant also behind the Burj Khalifa, and will anchor the Dubai Creek development, serving – developers hope – as a magnet for tourists.
Designed by Swiss-Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava Valls, it will feature The Pinnacle Room — an observation point offering 360-degree views of the emirate – and public vertical gardens, while 18 to 20 floors have been reserved for homes, restaurants, shops and a boutique hotel.
If construction runs to schedule, this $1 billion tower will have been thrown up in just three years.
The Jeddah Tower, in Saudi Arabia, will have taken a little longer.
Construction on this graceful arrow to the sky began on April 1, 2013, and was originally slated for completion in 2018, but its opening date has already been pushed back twice. Constructing it will require about 5.7 million square feet of concrete and 80,000 tons of steel, according to the Saudi Gazette.
This $1.23 billion construction project is, however, already40 floors off the ground, with 212 left to build — it’s undeniably farther along than the Dubai Tower.
But to think Dubai could finish first is not “as farfetched as it sounds”, according to Jason Gabel, communications manager for the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH).
“The Dubai project is an observation tower, and therefore won’t require nearly as much lead time as a full-blown skyscraper,” Gabel tells CNN. “2020 is a real possibility for completion.”
Because less than 50% of The Tower’s height is occupied by usable floor space, it is defined by the CTBUH as a “supported tower” rather than a “building”.
This technicality precludes The Tower from achieving the distinction of being the world’s tallest building. Rather, it would be the world’s tallest man-made structure, or tower, until the Jeddah Tower is completed.

The power of a skyline

Home to more than 65 highrises over 656 feet (200m) tall and counting, Dubai has become synonymous with futuristic skyscrapers, and has been a pioneer of this in the Middle East.
“Historically, no Middle Eastern country has come close to building skyscrapers at the rate and height of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), but notable pockets of high-rise development are occurring in Qatar, Israel, and Saudi Arabia,” says Gabel. “The competitive situation we now see between Saudi Arabia and the UAE very unique.”
Dubai’s lofty intentions debuted in 1979, with the 39-story Dubai World Trade Center. It was the city’s first high rise, and the tallest building in the Middle East.
Subsequent iconic buildings, such as the Burj Khalifa and the Burj Al Arab, have given Dubai global notoriety.
Height produces iconicity and visibility on a global stage,” says Gabel, explaining why Dubai has focused on building big. “Visibility is itself an asset that can have a positive impact on real estate valuation, investment flows, tourism numbers, and public identity.
“Put simply, structures like this are very expensive upfront, but the benefits of having the ‘tallest’ are often worth the trouble — as was the case with the Burj Khalifa.”
Aric Chen, the design and architecture curator M+ visual culture museum in Hong Kong, tells CNN that for emerging economies a skyline can be a powerful communications tool.
“These soaring profiles are in many ways symbolic,” Chen tells CNN.
“Places like Dubai and, to some extent, places like China, are still trying to put themselves on the map and prove that they have arrived as modern global and technologically advanced nations.”

Testing the tower

The rapid speed at which Dubai can throw up a mega-tower has not, however, escaped criticism.
A series of fires in the past few years, including a blaze that tore through a luxury skyscraper on the Palm Jumeirah artificial island in Dubai this month — have called into question the quality of some towers, and their fire-proofing.
“Super tall buildings are not unproblematic and there are safety concerns,” says Chen.
Valls, however, is confident that The Tower will not succumb to such issues.
“Extensive studies were undertaken in preparation for the ground breaking, and the learning that we have gained from the experience will add to the knowledge base of mankind,” he said in a statement.
Developers have installed multiple damper and shock absorption systems throughout the building, to ensure its stability.
They also completed a series of wind tunnel, climate and seismic tests analyzing 12 scenarios across varying heights to check the behavior of the building under stressful conditions.
“We need to have a balanced and careful look at skyscrapers,” says Chen. “But they do serve to again push technologies, and push what’s possible.
“We can certainly learn from that experimentation.”
Source: https://edition.cnn.com/style/article/tower-dubai-creek-tallest-skyscraper/index.html

Abu Dhabi Ports launches new warehouses, LIUs at Kizad

Abu Dhabi Ports (ADP) has launched new free zone warehouses and light industrial units (LIUs) at the  Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad) responding to the needs of distributors, manufacturers, shippers and logistics companies.

Located within Kizad Logistics City, and adjacent to Khalifa Port, the new free zone warehouses will cater to trading and export companies, third-party logistics, freight forwarders and distributors while the pre-built and flexible LIUs will serve various light manufacturing businesses and workshops.

Due to be completed in October, the modular units are available for pre-booking with early bird incentives and competitive prices.

Spanning 17,000 sq m, Kizad’s free zone warehouses offer flexible sizes from 380 to 761 sq m, high power capacity for air-conditioning and cold storage with cost efficient utilities rates. Built to high standards, the warehouses come with mezzanine offices, seven metre height to eaves, integrated fire and safety features, a dedicated loading area for each unit and raised floors for ease of loading.

The LIUs encompassing a total of 31,000 sq m come with ample power capacity for industrial activities, competitive utilities rates, six metres height to eaves, and fire alarm and sprinkler systems. Flexible modular unit sizes start from 320 to 1,148 sq m and can be combined for larger requirements.

Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Abu Dhabi Ports CEO, said: “Primed to become one of the leading warehousing centres in the region, Kizad Logistics City and its range of product offerings are fast responding to the needs of the logistics and manufacturing sector. The ongoing investment into Kizad, Khalifa Port Free Trade Zone and Khalifa Port has been instrumental in the rising market demand for services within our integrated logistics hub and greater opportunities for growth.”

“Ideally situated adjacent to Khalifa Port and major UAE highways, our diverse and flexible warehouses are perfectly positioned to serve the GCC and beyond. The new LIUs and free zone warehouses serve to enhance Kizad Logistics City’s value proposition and will fuel growth across local and regional markets by offering the lowest utility costs and ease of doing business for investors establishing a presence in the UAE,” Captain Al Shamisi stated.

In addition to the newly-launched free zone warehouses and LIUs, Kizad Logistics City’s products also include industrial zone warehouses with a net leasable area of 119,000 sq m.

 

Source:  http://www.tradearabia.com/news/IND_344697.html

Metro construction to begin in Kuwait and Bahrain

Rail infrastructure projects are picking up steam across the Gulf, with work on projects in Bahrain and Kuwait making progress this year, according to local media.

According to Arabian Business, work has already begun on a 111km railway project to connect Kuwait with the rest of the Gulf region.

The first phase of the project, set to cost $3bn (KWD908.4m), will create a line to Nuwaiseb on the Saudi border and a 153km line linking Kuwait City with Boubyan Port.

Stretching through all six Gulf states from Kuwait to Oman, the 2,100km passenger and cargo network has “faced technical and bureaucratic obstacles, and stalled as state budgets tightened because of low oil prices”, the report stated.

Meanwhile, Bahrain has reportedly said it will not connect its network to neighbouring state, Saudi Arabia, “until at least 2023”.

Work on Bahrain’s long-promised light rail system, according to an Arabian Business report, is likely to start in the last three months of 2019 as it seeks bids for construction.

According to Abdulm Rahman Al Janahi, an official from Bahrain’s transport ministry, the country may look to the private sector to partially fund the ambitious project, believed to cost between $1bn (BHD377.2m) and $2bn (BHD754.4m).

Similar to issues faced by the Kuwaiti rail project, work on Phase 1 of Bahrain’s light rail system was due to start in 2009, but was halted due to the financial crisis and budgetary approvals.

Transport infrastructure is one of the key pillars on Bahrain’s billion-dollar investment plan, part of a wider desire to upgrade its regional competitiveness.

While there appear to be delays in Kuwait and Bahrain, work is steadily progressing on the rail projects under way in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

This July, US firm Jacobs Engineering Group announced it had been selected to work on the UAE’s Etihad Rail project.

Jacobs will deliver critical technical and programme consulting services for the freight and passenger railway network.

The firm will also deliver engineering and design services for the network, in addition to reviewing and providing critical oversight for detailed designs, which will be prepared by design and build contractors.

Additionally, the company will provide construction supervision services for the development.

In Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, test runs began for Riyadh Metro‘s Line 4 this June.

French transport system provider Alstom revealed it has been conducting initial dynamic tests for the megaproject’s Line 4 Depot Test Track, on which the FAST Consortium is working.

Tests cover the railway system’s performance in terms of power supply and signalling, using trains that have already been delivered for the project, located in Saudi’s capital city.

Source: http://www.constructionweekonline.com/article-50117-metro-construction-to-begin-in-kuwait-and-bahrain/

GCC hospitality industry set for steady growth, says Alpen Capital

Alpen Capital, an investment banking advisory firm, announced the publication of its report on the GCC Hospitality Industry. The report presents a synopsis of the demand-supply dynamics and key performance indicators of the hospitality industry across the GCC countries. The report also covers recent trends, growth drivers, and challenges in the industry.

 

“The GCC hospitality industry, which has been under pressure in recent years is expected to gain positive momentum on account of recovery in oil prices, upcoming mega-events, increased tourist inflow, positive regulatory initiatives and increased government spending/investments towards the hospitality and tourism sector,” says Sameena Ahmad, Managing Director, Alpen Capital (ME) Limited.

“The GCC hospitality sector is going through a phase of transition. The industry is gearing up for the huge influx of tourists for mega-events. The hospitality industry continues to present interesting opportunities for investors. We expect activities across M&A and private equity funding to accelerate in the coming years,” says Sanjay Bhatia, Managing Director, Alpen Capital (ME) Limited.

According to Alpen Capital, the GCC hospitality market is expected to grow at a 7.2% CAGR from an estimated US$ 22.9 billion in 2017 to US$ 32.5 billion in 2022. Upcoming mega events and government initiatives to boost tourism are the primary drivers behind this growth.

Growth in hospitality sector revenue of individual GCC countries is expected to range from 6.0% to 12.0%. Both UAE and Qatar are expected to witness high revenue growth on account of significant investment activities in the tourism and hospitality sector for the upcoming Expo 2020 and FIFA World Cup 2022. Bahrain and Oman are also expected to grow at a rate higher than the GCC average.

Key operating metrics of the sector, which have been under pressure in the recent past are expected to show a slow but steady recovery supported by the boost in demand. Economic growth and government initiatives leading to increase in tourist arrivals is expected to support growth in occupancy and room rates. Average GCC occupancy is expected to increase from 62% in 2017 to 68% in 2022. ADR is expected to increase at a CAGR of 1.1% to $161 in 2022 whereas the RevPAR is expected to increase at a CAGR of 2.9% to $109 in 2022.

Growth Drivers

GCC countries are expected to witness an improvement in economic performance on account of recovery in oil prices leading to improved sentiment and increase in government spending.

GCC countries have well-defined strategies to develop themselves as preferred travel destinations. They are making significant investments into the development of tourism and hospitality infrastructure including airport expansions to increase the handling capacity of anticipated visitor inflow. This is supported by regional air carriers offering attractive offers and discounts along with exclusive memberships in order to boost tourism activity in the region.

Dubai’s World Expo 2020 and Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022 are expected to attract a significant inflow of visitors into the countries thereby boosting hospitality and tourism industry. These events command a significant supply of hotel rooms to meet the anticipated demand. GCC has a number of infrastructure and hotel projects scheduled to open through 2022 to accommodate the future tourist inflow.

In addition to events, the leisure attractions continue to be a major demand driver for the GCC hospitality industry with over 2,000 projects worth USD 200 bn in the pipeline. GCC MICE market is expected to also play its role in attracting visitors for its conferences and events.

Challenges

The GCC countries face competition from each other and also from established tourist destinations. However, increased investments by the GCC countries’ governments in the tourism sectors along with additional initiatives such as easing of visa norms, and a suite of attractive tourist destinations is expected to drive the demand for tourism across the region.

The mid-market hotels are expected to give stiff competition to luxury hotels by offering rooms with basic yet suitable amenities at lower ADRs. Lately, Airbnb has seen early adoption in the GCC hospitality market in 2017 and is expected to penetrate the market further posing a threat to luxury and mid-market hotels.

Geopolitical concerns continue to exist in the GCC region with Qatar facing a trade and travel blockade. Additionally, any geopolitical or economic issues in the source markets could also impact the hospitality sector.

Trends

The GCC hospitality is expected to witness increased market penetration by the mid-market hotel segment through 2022. In addition, the industry is expected to also see increased adoption of Airbnb-type renting models.

Mobile applications, smart technology and IoT have caused a disruption in the hospitality market. With every piece of information such as hotel amenities to hotel reviews being available at the fingertip of the consumer, each competitor is trying to differentiate itself in the market to grab the customer’s mindshare and the market share.

GCC hospitality industry is going through a phase of transition. With the expected economic recovery of the region, upcoming mega-events and the range of initiatives taken by the regional governments to boost tourism, the outlook for the sector remains promising.

 

Source: https://ameinfo.com/transport-and-tourism/tourism/gcc-hospitality-industry-set-for-steady-growth-says-alpen-capital/

 

Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha

Muslims are celebrating Eid al-Adha as more than 2 million pilgrims carry out the final days of Hajj in Saudi Arabia.

Muslims across the world are celebrating the festival of Eid al-Adha, which coincides with the final rites of the Hajj in Saudi Arabia.

While many will celebrate on Tuesday, millions of others, including in South Asia, will celebrate the start of the religious holiday the day after.

Eid al-Adha, which in Arabic literally means the “festival of the sacrifice”, commemorates the story of the Muslim Prophet Ibrahim’s test of faith.

Muslims believe Ibrahim was commanded by God him to sacrifice his son, Ismail. Tradition holds that God stayed his hand, sparing the boy, and placing a ram in his place.

The day is marked with the sacrifice of an animal, usually a goat, sheep, or cow, and the distribution of the meat among neighbours, family members, and the poor.

In the village of Mina, near the Muslim holy city of Mecca, it marks the day, millions of pilgrims perform the symbolic stoning of the devil.

The five-day-long Hajj is a series of rituals meant to cleanse the soul of sins and instill a sense of equality and brotherhood among Muslims.

The pilgrimage is required of all Muslims with the financial and physical means to perform it.

During the last three days of Hajj , male pilgrims shave their heads and remove the white cloth garments worn during the Hajj, known as the ‘ihram’. Women cut off a small lock of hair in a sign of spiritual rebirth and renewal.

 

Source:  https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/08/muslims-celebrate-eid-al-adha-pilgrims-conduct-hajj-180821055910600.html

New orders drive Dubai non-oil sector output in July

Dubai’s non-oil private sector recorded continued improvement during July, stimulated by a further expansion in new orders, while business confidence remained strongly positive, according to the latest Emirates NBD Dubai Economy Tracker.

The seasonally adjusted Emirates NBD Dubai Economy Tracker Index – a composite indicator designed to give an accurate overview of operating conditions in the non-oil private sector economy – registered 54.9 in July, down from 56.0 in June. The figure indicated a slower expansion in Dubai’s private sector that was below the long-run average.

At the sector level, construction companies reported the sharpest growth in July (56.9), followed by wholesale & retail (56.3) and travel & tourism (54.5) respectively. However, all three sectors posted softer growth in July relative to June.

A reading of below 50.0 indicates that the non-oil private sector economy is generally declining; above 50.0, that it is generally expanding. A reading of 50.0 signals no change.

The survey covers the Dubai non-oil private sector economy, with additional sector data published for travel & tourism, wholesale & retail and construction.

Key findings

•    Output growth eases to three-month low, but remains solid overall
•    Firms continue to stimulate client demand through price discounting
•    Job creation ticks up, led by the construction sector, but remains relatively subdued by historical standards

Business activity and employment

Business activity increased once again in July, although the rate of expansion eased to a three-month low.  Companies that reported higher output frequently linked the increase to stronger inflows of new business.

Reflecting increased output requirements, firms hired additional staff in Dubai’s private sector. The rate of growth accelerated in July, but remained weak in the context of historical data.

Incoming new work and business activity expectations

Private sector businesses in Dubai reported a sharp improvement in incoming new work during July amid reports of robust domestic client demand and promotional activity. Construction companies reported the strongest expansion in new order books.

Business activity expectations remained strongly optimistic, despite easing to a three-month low in July. Companies pinned hopes on new projects relating to Expo 2020 and successful marketing efforts.

Input costs and average prices charged

Input price inflation across Dubai’s private sector accelerated to a three-month high in the latest survey. The rate of inflation was marked overall, reflecting higher wage and raw material costs.

Promotional activity led to the greatest fall in selling prices across the private sector since January 2017. Price discounting has been recorded for three months running. – TradeArabia News Service

Saudi Arabia freezes new trade ties with Canada – is it a chance for Europe?

Saudi Arabia has suspended new trade and investment transactions with Canada and declared the ambassador of Canada persona non grata, ordering him to leave in 24 hours.
The kingdom is also recalling its ambassador to Ottawa “while retaining its right to take further action,” a Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement published by the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said.
The ministry said it has told the Canadian foreign minister and the embassy in Riyadh of its objection to their interference in the case of “civil society activists” who were arrested in the kingdom.
The statement said: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been made aware of the statement by the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Canadian Embassy in the kingdom, on the so-called civil society activists who have been detained, urging Saudi authorities to release them immediately.
“The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs has expressed disbelief by this negative unfounded comment, which was not based in any accurate or true information. The persons referred to were lawfully detained by the Public Prosecution for committing crimes punishable by applicable law, which also guaranteed the detainees’ rights and provided them with due process during the investigation and trial.”
The ministry said the Canadian statement is a blatant interference in the kingdom’s domestic affairs, against basic international norms and all international protocols. It is a major, unacceptable affront to the kingdom’s laws and judicial process, as well as a violation of the kingdom’s sovereignty, it said.
It said Saudi Arabia has never accepted any interference in its domestic affairs by, or orders from any country. The kingdom views the Canadian position as an affront to the kingdom that requires a sharp response to prevent any party from attempting to meddle with Saudi sovereignty. It is quite unfortunate to see the phrase “immediate release” in the Canadian statement, which is a reprehensible and unacceptable use of language between sovereign states, it continued.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – whilst expressing absolute rejection to the Canadian political stand regarding this matter – confirms its commitment to refrain from intervening in the internal matters of other countries, including Canada, and in return categorically rejects any intervention in its domestic affairs and internal relations with its citizens. Any further step from the Canadian side in that direction will be considered as an acknowledgement of our right to interfere in the Canadian domestic affairs,” it warned.
“Canada and all other nations need to know that they can’t claim to be more concerned than the kingdom over its own citizens. Thereby, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia recalls the Ambassador of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in Canada back to Riyadh for consultation and considers the Canadian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia as persona-non-grata who must leave the kingdom within the next 24 hours,” the statement said.
The kingdom will put on hold all new business and investment transactions with Canada while retaining its right to take further action, it added.

 

Source: http://www.tradearabia.com/news/MISC_343710.html

UAE patients have the best access to healthcare in the Middle East

Patients in the UAE have the best access to healthcare in the Middle East as the country rolls out mandatory medical insurance and harnesses new technology for disease treatment.

The UAE earned the highest regional score on the Middle East Healthcare Access Index compiled by BMI Research, a unit of Fitch group, according to a report released on Friday. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman followed while Iraq trailed the list with the lowest score.

“Advanced healthcare systems and compulsory health insurance in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and the continuous adoption of new technologies in the healthcare system will support the UAE’s position,” the report said.

“Innovation in clinical services and the use of new technologies in disease diagnosis and treatment will drive a more patient-centric healthcare system.”

Spending on health care in the Arabian Gulf is projected to grow at an average of 6.6 per cent annually to $104.6 billion (Dh384.2bn) in 2022 from an estimated $76.1bn in 2017, according to a March report by Alpen Capital.

An expanding population, high prevalence of non-communicable disease, rising cost of treatment and increasing availability of health insurance are the main factors driving growth.

The BMI report found that new technologies including 3D printing, artificial intelligence, advanced robotic surgeries and virtual reality will support disease management and treatment in the UAE.

The UAE and Oman are expected to record the highest growth rates in healthcare spending between 2017 and 2022 at 9.6 per cent and 9.1 per cent respectively, according to Alpen Capital.

A fast-growing population, mandatory health insurance and above-average medical inflation rates will contribute to their higher levels of spending compared to Gulf peers.

 

Source: https://www.thenational.ae/business/economy/uae-patients-have-the-best-access-to-healthcare-in-the-middle-east-bmi-says-1.754696