Monday, December 11, 2017

GULF NOTES, the week ending 18 july 2009

July 21 2009

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The real estate sector was blamed for the 39% drop in advertising spending in the UAE, not including outdoor campaigns. Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest tower, will open three months late. Dubai-based developer Deyaar reported a 69% decline in profits but said it expected to report 2007-level profits by end-of-year. Seven Tides, owner of ten islands in the South America section of The World, positioned itself to be the first company to develop its holdings. Its hospitality division director: “The way we can do that is by not having to invest in very expensive infrastructure.” Nakheel was revising its redemption terms for its $750 million sukuk, part of which was due this week, while also celebrating the opening of two luxury hotels, one in Washington, DC, and the other at a golf resort in Scotland.

Malaysia’s industrial development authority opened offices in Dubai in its effort to attract $7.5 billion in Gulf investments. Kuwait’s prime minister began a twelve-day tour of African countries. The National Bank of Abu Dhabi announced the opening of branches in Hong Kong and possibly in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, India, Morocco and Algeria.

One in ten people in the UAE said they were jobless in a recent poll; 60% said they were considering relocating to another country. The IMF named Qatar the “brightest spot” in the Middle East because of an expected 18% growth in 2009. Saudi Arabia was ranked the 13th happiest country on the planet, the highest of all Arab countries; the UAE and Kuwait came in toward the bottom at 123 and 128 respectively. Ski Dubai officials said they would transport “truckloads” of snow to Abu Dhabi for a sports festival in October. The Jeddah Film Festival was stopped before it started, presumably by religious conservatives.

The Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat announced Qatar’s Tornado Tower as the “best tall building in the Middle East and Africa.” Aldar reported the construction of Abu Dhabi’s new three-story souk was “75-80%” complete; the project will “give the feel of an outdoor market” by means of a retractable roof. Despite falling prices, Dubai’s office rents are the second highest in Europe, the Middle East and Africa; the most expensive are in London’s West End.

Abu Dhabi regulation reduced the number of permissible villas on a 40,000 square foot plot from six to four. Baghdad’s government allocated first phase funds for $30 billion worth of projects at two locations in Baghdad, including war-torn Sadr City.

Officials reported that Bahrain’s new $2 billion power and water plant was on schedule to produce 30% of the country’s existing output by 2011. Bahrain’s historic sites, chiefly its burial mounds dating back 4,000 years, have been mostly destroyed by urban development. Bahraini families rooted from their homes for new development projects have begun complaining to the government for rent monies not yet received. One displaced resident: “I wish we never left our house in the first place, we would rather live in the broken house than with all these problems and headaches.”

Advertised job vacancies for infrastructure-related functions in the GCC have “soared” 142% since a year ago. The UAE’s infrastructure sector was estimated to grow 6.8% in 2009, with “international majors” seeing the country’s transportation investments as a “safe haven.” Jeddah’s mayor admitted rushed schedules were the reason for mistakes in the construction of Jeddah’s new flyovers. Work began on the new Meccah monorail: 8,000 workers, 5,000 engineers. Iran’s transportation minister announced 6,000 kilometers of rail to be constructed linking Iran with Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. A reporter found more than half of the tested bus stations in Dubai had air conditioning units not turned on. The manufacturers of the cooling units blamed the heat for the malfunctions.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid of Dubai appeared on Twitter. Emiratis organized a Facebook/Twitter boycott of Harvey Nichols in response to T-shirts found disgraceful to the country. Laborers were allowed back into a mall in Ajman with the reversal of a mall directive. One affected visitor: “I don’t think I should be thanking the mall, I think it owes us an apology. We have a right to be respected so long as we respect everyone else. But yes, I am happy.” Saudi Arabia’s representative to the International Labor Organization voiced his opinion that foreign workers in the GCC for 25 years or more should be given work/residency permits.

Khaleej Times July 12, 2009 / Emirates Business 24/7 July 14, 2009 / The National July 13, 2009 / Khaleej Times July 13, 2009; Emirates Business 24/7 July 13, 2009 / Zawya.com July 15, 2009 / Kuwait Times July 14, 2009; Construction Week July 13, 2009 / Khaleej Times July 18, 2009 / Kuwait Times July 16, 2009 / Emirates Business 24/7 July 18, 2009 / The National July 12, 2009 / The Peninsula, July 12, 2009 / Gulf News July 14, 2009 / Khaleej Times July 13, 2009 / Reuters, July 18, 2009 / Zawya.com July 12, 2009 / The National July 18, 2009 / AMEInfo July 14, 2009 / Emirates Business 24/7, July 15, 2009 / Gulf Daily News July 12, 2009 / Gulf Daily News July 18, 2009 / Gulf Daily News, July 17, 2009 / Gulf News July 13, 2009 / Zawya.com July 17, 2009 / Arab News July 14, 2009 / Zawya.com July 14, 2009 / Zawya.com July 12, 2009 / The National July 15, 2009 / The National July 13, 200929 Emirates Business 24/7 July 16, 2009 / The National July 12, 2009 / Arab News July 13, 2009.

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