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Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Kuwait Red Crescent Society (KRCS) to mobilise shared relief interventions for the victims of war in Aleppo, at a total cost of $2.32mn.

HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani yesterday exchanged cables of greetings with the leaders of friendly countries, on the occasion of the advent of the New Year.

 

Qatar  created waves in global finance and business world in 2016.  The country hit the international media headlines when Russian state holding company Rosneftegaz  in December signed a deal with the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and commodities trader Glencore (GLEN.L) to sell a 19.5 percent stake in state-owned oil major Rosneft .

In a surprise move, organizers have announced the cancellation of the 2017 Tour of Qatar and the Ladies Tour of Qatar due to financial troubles.

Washington: Telecom firm Sprint said it will create 5,000 US jobs over the next 15 months, and pledged Wednesday to work with President-elect Donald Trump to boost the US economy.

Rio de Janeiro: At the foot of a tall building in downtown Rio de Janeiro, government workers line up for donated groceries, unable to buy their own because their salaries have not been paid.

New Year’s events

Qatar doesn’t officially celebrate New Year’s, so Sunday will still be a workday. That said, several hotels are organizing events on Saturday to ring in 2017, including parties, brunches, dinners and family-themed events.

Qatar’s Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC) is inviting business owners to apply for a license to take their show on the road next year.

More than 3,000 tourists are expected to visit Qatar today after two cruise ships dock at Doha Port.

 

Qatar Central Bank (QCB) Governor H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud Al Thani has announced that  the country’s regulatory and supervisory bodies in the financial markets and services sectors are currently working on a soon-to-be launched  five-year action plan. Named as ‘Financial Action Strategy 2017-2022’, the action plan comes in the wake of the successful completion of the 2011-2016 strategy.

Fitch Ratings has affirmed Barwa Bank Q.S.C.’s (Barwa) Long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at ‘A+’ with Stable Outlook. Fitch has also affirmed Barwa’s Viability Rating (VR) at ‘bbb-’. 

Oil prices have enjoyed a recovery in recent weeks. They rose from $28 per barrel (/b) in mid-January to around $40/b now. While a potential production freeze by some oil producers might have contributed to the recovery, there are also signs that the market is rebalancing, QNB’s ‘economic commentary’ noted yesterday.

Resort-oriented properties and tourism-related real estate are among investments that appeal to Qatari businessmen eyeing the Philippine property market, an official of the Association of Filipino Real Estate Executives in Qatar (Afreeq) said.

Al Rayyan’s new signing Ulises Pascua has confirmed that he intends to fight for his place in the side ahead of the Lions return to the Qatar Stars League. The former Al Shahania midfielder was the stand out star even though his side was relegated to the Qatar Gas League. The dynamic Argentinian midfielder was quickly snapped up by Al Rayyan on a five-year deal.

Qatar Exchange index gained 56.28 points, or 0.47 percent, when the bourse closed yesterday at 12,020.73 points.

The Parts and Accessories Department of Saleh Al Hamad Al Mana, the exclusive distributor of Nissan, Renault, and Infiniti in Qatar, has received two top awards during the FY15 Annual Aftersales Conference held on June 3 and 4 in Abu Dhabi.

Qatarisation at Qatar Rail has reached more than 20% and the company is doing its utmost to maximise participation of Qatari talents as it heads towards the operational phase.

The Ministry of Economy and Commerce’s (MEC) technical committee to stimulate private sector participation in economic development projects announced yesterday that the Gulf Warehousing Company (GWC) storage area at Bu Sulba is ready for operation and would be inaugurated later.

Qatar’s 2017 budget intends to reduce the government’s deficit while supporting growth through higher capital spending with public investment to be the main fulcrum for future economic growth, according to QNB.

 

Qatar’s budget for the new fiscal outlines a clear intent to reduce the government deficit while also supporting growth through higher capital spending.

A 2017 state budget plan released by Oman's government on Sunday projected a smaller deficit but maintained tight curbs on spending because of low oil prices, which are hurting state revenues.

Fuel prices in Qatar will go up once again in January, the Ministry of Energy and Industry has announced.

Hundreds of people flocked to a labor ministry office in Qatar this week after hearing rumors that they only had 10 days to change employers under a newly implemented law.

Starting next week, Qatar residents will be able to buy more locally-grown produce closer to home, after a new food festival kicks off at Katara Cultural Village on Jan. 3.

Increased jobs cuts across the UAE coupled with uncertainty in the macroeconomic environment were the main driving factors in the UAE’s property market in 2016, putting downward pressure on rents and sale prices.

 

Nebras Power yesterday announced that it has completed the acquisition of a 35.5 percent stake in Indonesian utility firm PT Paiton Energy through its wholly owned subsidiary Nebras Power Netherland BV.

 

Qatar’s foreign merchandise trade surplus in November 2016, which represents the difference between total exports and imports of goods, stood at QR9.6bn, showing  a year-on-year decrease of about QR800m, or 8 percent, compared to the corresponding month last year, preliminary data released by the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics show.  

 

Ezdan Mall Company, one of the Ezdan Holding Group subsidiaries, has announced the opening of Carrefour Hypermarket at Ezdan Mall -Al Wakrah, located opposite the Al Wakrah Hospital.

 

Oman Qatar Insurance Company, (OQIC), a premier insurer and subsidiary of Qatar Insurance Group has opened a new branch at Salalah’s leading Central Market area – Business district.

On the occasion of the bank’s “International Offices’ Meet” Doha Bank hosted a knowledge sharing session “Changing Global Dynamics and Opportunities” recently in Mumbai. The event was attended by key management staff from leading Corporates, prominent bankers and SMEs from the western Indian state of Maharashtra. 

 

Gulf Organization for Industrial Consulting (GOIC) yesterday held a meeting with China's CCPIT – Ningxia to discuss ways to enhance ties and establish a partnership. 

 

Nebras Power has successfully closed a $430m four-year revolving credit facility in its debut on the financial markets, the company said yesterday.

Tokyo stocks closed lower Thursday, tracking losses on Wall Street ahead of a long, holiday weekend and as investors took profits after the market hit a 12-month high this week.

German industrial gases maker Linde and its US competitor Praxair yesterday said they had agreed the terms of a proposed $65bn "merger of equals" to create a global giant in the sector.

Two of Wall Street’s three indexes closed at record highs Tuesday as shares jumped at technology companies and major American investment banks. 

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia's Petronas (Petroliam Nasional Bhd) will reduce its crude oil output up to 20,000 barrels per day starting from January 2017.

 

The Monthly Producer Price Index (PPI) of the Industrial sector for October is estimated at 49.9 points, showing an increase of 7.3 percent compared to September 2016, helped by the increase noticed in “Mining”, and “Manufacturing” sectors.  

Qatari banks Masraf Al Rayan, Barwa Bank and International Bank of Qatar have entered into initial talks for a potential merger, a statement said on Monday, in a deal that would create the country's second-largest bank.

 

Oil prices are expected to stay around the $55-$65 per barrel in the near future, said Dr Haitham Al Salama, QFC Authority Chief Economic Adviser. He was speaking at the World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) 2016 in Bahrain.

Egypt’s stock index surged 3.1 percent in heavy trade yesterday as the Egyptian pound depreciated against the US dollar, prompting more buying by foreign funds, while Gulf bourses diverged.

The Commercial Bank yesterday confirmed completion of the put option for the acquisition of the remaining 25 percent shareholding in Turkey’s Alternatifbank from Anadolu Endüstri Holding for $224.9m. Alternatifbank has now become a 100 percent subsidiary of The Commercial Bank.

Saudi Arabia's largest telecommunications firm STC plans to buy a 10 percent stake in car booking firm Careem, the company said on Sunday.

 

Qatar Stock Exchange’s (QSE) main index gained 170.18 points, or 1.69 percent, last week when the bourse closed yesterday at 10,224.13 points.

 

United Development Company (UDC), a leading Qatari public shareholding company and master developer of The Pearl-Qatar, has finalised the sale of The Pearl office Tower 2 to a strategic property investor for a total value of QR1.25bn, announced the company yesterday.

 

Qatar Fuel (Woqod), the main retailer of petroleum products in the country, has announced to make a capital expenditure of QR605m on several new projects during the year 2017, which will largely be spent on developing more fuel stations and other related facilities across the country.   

 

The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Authority, in association with Bloomberg, conducted a session on Technical Analysis at the W hotel in Doha.

 

The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) has announced to invest $35bn (about QR127.45bn) in the US over the next five years (2016-21). This was announced yesterday at the ‘Second Annual Economic and Investment Dialogue (EID) between Qatar and the United States’ held at Sheraton Hotel Doha.

 

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) of November reached to 108.6 showing an increase of 0.1 percent compared to the CPI of October 2016.

 

Vodafone Qatar has added extension billing for Vodafone Corporate Voice (SIP Trunking) and Performance Reporting to its enterprise fixed services portfolio.  

 

Qatar National Bank (QNB) has achieved the target of becoming  the No.1 bank in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) , much ahead of the stipulated time.

 

With a zero lost time injuries and a 36 percent reduction in recordable injuries, Qatargas achieved a rare feat in the industry’s incident and injury-free culture.

 

Minister of Energy and Industry and current Opec President H E Dr Mohammed bin Saleh Al Sada addressing the opening session of  the Fifth Ministerial Gas Forum, organised by the International Gas Union and the International Energy Forum, in India, yesterday.

 

Project contracts worth QR46bn will be signed next year as the total cost of commissioned projects stands at nearly QR374bn, said Minister of Finance H E Ali Sherif Al Emadi. Speaking at an industry conference yesterday, he said Qatar will take more steps to boost business environment and to attract foreign investment in the future. These measures will support economic growth and increase activities in non hydrocarbon sector, helping in the diversification of the economy.

 

Minister of Transport and Communications H E Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti and Sheikh Abdulla bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani, Chairman of Ooredoo yesterday inaugurated the new server floor at Ooredoo’s Qatar Data Centre.

 

Doha Bank, one of the largest commercial banks in Qatar, has completed a financial arrangement with Tornado Co. for re-financing the iconic Tornado Tower in West Bay. This long term transaction is one of the largest individual ticket deals across the local banking sector.

 

Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB), one of the country’s leading Shariah-complaint banking services providers, is expected to begin its operations in Morocco by the first quarter of 2017, according to a senior official of the Bank.

 

Governor of Astana International Financial Centre in the Republic of Kazakhstan, Dr Kairat Kelimbetov, (pictured) yesterday stressed his country's keenness to establish various partnerships at different economic levels with the State of Qatar and increase bilateral trade exchange.

 

Commercial Bank has launched a highly competitive mortgage loan campaign to help customers manage their existing mortgage obligations with other banks.

 

Qatar’s efforts to digitise its economy and provide more services online is opening a huge range of opportunities for citizens, businesses and the wider region, according to experts set to attend the Euromoney Qatar Conference 2016.