Dubai announces a Retirement Visa Programme...

Dubai announces a Retirement Visa Programme...

UAE News:
UAE PMI declined to 49.4 in August (July: 50.8), despite expansions in the output and new orders sub-indices. Steep price discounting has resulted in rising domestic demand (and spending) but export sales are declining. Job cuts were widespread, with the PMI employment index at a record-low, while selling prices fell at the sharpest pace since December 2019.
Dubai announced a retirement visa programme: any resident or retiree outside the UAE, and over the age of 55 can apply for this program (initial phase will focus on residents). To qualify, the person needs to have a monthly income of AED 20k (USD 5,446)– either from investments or pensions– or should have a savings of AED 1mn or a real estate asset worth AED 2mn. They can also work as independent advisors, board members or consultants.
In a bid to restrict competition between the government and private sector, Dubai has set new rules for establishing government companies. This standardizes procedures for setting up government-owned companies and ensures they have strong governance. In addition, the government entities can set up companies only if their main activities are in line with the agencies role and offer products of “strategic economic importance”.
Consumer spending in the UAE increased by 63% in August (compared to March), according to FCSA data cited by Wam. Spending in restaurants, hotels and apparel were up by 75%, 29% and 78% respectively in the same period.
Dubai recorded 2,457 property sales transactions worth AED 4.73bn in August, up 11.3% YoY and 2.2% MoM, according to data from Property Finder; of these, 31.6% were off-plan and rest in the secondary market.
Medical equipment including disposable suits, hand sanitisers, face masks, respirators for air purification and gloves will be subject to zero-rated VAT in UAE, as per a recent resolution.
Exports of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry members to Africa rose by 20% MoM to AED 2.94mn in June this year.
UAE approved a 5-day paternity paid leave for private sector employees, enabling them to take care of newborns. This can be availed anytime till the baby turns 6 months old.

MENA News:
Bahrain’s flexi-work permit has resulted in a 43% drop in the number of illegal workers, according to a Labour Market Regulatory Authority official.
Outdoor dining at cafes and restaurants have been reopened in Bahrain with appropriate social distancing and safety measures, after 5 months of closure.
Egypt welcomed about 150k tourists to its cities of Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada since tourism activity was permitted to resume on 1st July.
Egypt’s natural gas exports more than doubled to 4.5bn cubic metres in 2019, compared to 2bn in 2018, according to BP Statistics. Total gas output had touched a decade-high 9bn cubic metres last year.
Iraq is requesting an exemption from the OPEC+ deal during Q1 2021 while complying with the cut in Q4 this year. The nation is expected to cut oil production by an additional 400k barrels per day (BPD) in August and September – in addition to the committed 850k BPD – to compensate for previous overproduction. Iraq’s total exports averaged 2.6mn BPD in August, according to the oil ministry, down from 2.763 BPD in July.
Iraq plans to speed up the petrochemical plant in Basra – currently in the pre-FEED (front end engineering design) stage – to diversify its income; once completed, the plant would make Iraq the region’s largest petrochem producer. The deal to build the USD 11bn plant was signed in 2015.
Jordan resumed international flight operations from 8th September: in addition to submitting negative PCR tests, those from “green” and “yellow” countries will need to spend 1 week in self-isolation (if tested negative again, on arrival in Jordan). Separately, nearly 2mn children returned to schools last week; an estimated 40k pupils have been withdrawn from private schools (that educate half of school-going students in the country) due to financial concerns.
Jordan hiked fuel prices in September: prices of diesel and kerosene was increased by 3.2% MoM to JD0.480 per litre. Petrol prices were up by 1.7%-3% MoM, depending on the grade.
Kuwait will not issue, transfer or renew work permits of those above 60 years of age, holding a high school diploma or lesser (or equivalent certificates): about 68,318 expats currently fall under this category. Those aged 59 or 60 can renew or transfer for only one year.
Lebanon’s new PM Mustapha Adib, named hours before Macron’s visit to the country, called for an immediate start to reforms and agreement with the IMF. Separately, a 3rd member of the negotiating (with the IMF) team resigned over talks which are at a standstill.
During his visit, Macron revealed that Lebanon’s leaders had promised the formation of a Cabinet in “not more than 15 days”, while reiterating that targeted sanctions (in coordination with the EU) could be imposed if corruption was proven. While promising to return in December, Macron also stated that expectations are for the government to deliver on promises within 8 weeks, and that “a blank check” would not be issued.
Schools in Oman can reopen with just 16 students per classroom, and a blended learning approach can be utilized, according to the Ministry of Education’s plans.
Public sector employees in Saudi Arabia returned to offices after months; while work from home is still permitted, the percentage of employees doing so should not exceed 25% of the total.
Both UAE and Saudi Arabia climbed up 2 places in the Global Innovation Index, reaching 34th and 66th places in the 2020 edition.

Global News:
Most global equity markets were down last week, with the US Nasdaq’s run on technology stocks resulting in its worst weekly performance since March, while S&P posted its first weekly loss in 6 weeks. Though European equities ended the week lower, there was increased activity in financial shares on talks of potential mergers; UK markets are jittery, with EU talks set to resume on 8th September (and less than a month to the October 2 deadline for a deal). Asian markets mirrored the trend, also breaking a 6-week positive streak while in the Middle East, markets were up on positive news (e.g. Dubai’s retirement visa announcement boosted property stocks, Saudi CMA allowing foreign investors to invest directly in debt instruments supported the market). The dollar recovered from 2-year lows touched earlier, while the euro continued to decline: it hit USD 1.2 for the first time since 2018. Oil prices weakened on demand recovery concerns and gold prices dipped by 1.7%.

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SOURCE:
Nasser Saidi & Associates

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