The GCC looks likely to remain an “outperformer in the global context” next year, Emirates NBD said although it expects the region’s average GDP growth to slow to 3.5% in 2023.The GCC countries have enjoyed a strong performance in 2022 on several fronts. The outlook for the GCC in 2023 also remains constructive.Emirates NBD expects economic growth in the region to come in at around 7% on a nominal GDP-weighted basis, the fastest in over a decade. This has largely been driven by double-digit growth in oil production across the region as the pandemic-related production cuts were fully unwound.“However the non-oil sectors have performed well too and we expect average non-oil GDP to reach 4.4% this year, similar to the growth rate achieved across the GCC in 2021, even as global growth has slowed this year,” noted Khatija Haque, head of research and chief economist at Emirates NBD.Domestic demand has continued to rebound from the pandemic and the recovery in global travel and tourism has also supported the non-oil sectors, particularly in the UAE.Expo 2020 contributed to strong growth in the UAE’s tourism and hospitality sectors in Q1, 2022, and the reopening of long-haul markets has seen visitor numbers rebound sharply from last year, although they remain around 15% below 2019 levels through September.The FIFA World Cup is expected to support demand in Qatar in Q4, 2022 even as the global economy has started to slow.The GCC budget performance has also improved significantly this year on the back of higher oil production and prices, as well as the broader economic recovery in the region, Emirates NBD noted.\"We estimate the average GCC budget surplus will reach almost 8% of GDP this year following seven years of deficits. While government spending has increased slightly this year, governments have so far been relatively prudent with their oil windfall, using budget surpluses to build up reserves, pay down debt and invest for the future, \" it said.The GCC countries have also provided financial support to other Mena countries that have faced current account shocks this year on the back of rising energy and food prices.“The outlook for the GCC in 2023 remains constructive,” it said.\"GDP growth will slow sharply as the 16% increase in oil and gas GDP that we saw this year is unlikely to be repeated, and further production cuts from Opec+ pose a downside risk to growth in this sector in 2023. Non-oil GDP is also expected to slow somewhat next year but is likely to remain relatively robust as governments continue to invest in strategic sectors and projects to diversify their economies.“Our baseline forecast is for oil prices to remain above $100/b next year, which will allow governments to maintain spending even as private investment slows,” Haque noted.There are headwinds to growth in the coming months, however. The tightening in monetary policy that we’ve seen in 2022 will continue to weigh on global economic growth in 2023 as central banks focus on bringing inflation down.Even with oil prices expected to remain relatively high, the region is not immune from slowing global growth, particularly given its position as a global trade and logistics hub.“Higher borrowing costs may deter private sector investment in the region and a strong dollar will also erode competitiveness, making the region a more expensive destination for both foreign investors and tourists,” Emirates NBD said.
Markets sigh with relief after Powell speech, but more turbulence likely ahead amid concerns over recession
'Welcome to Qatar' ceremony on the Corniche Myriam Fares and Maluma will open Live Stage with headline solo performancesIt's time to let the party begin, and 'Live it All in Qatar'. FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 fans are in for a treat as two mega entertainment and festive activations will be launched Saturday, just a day before the first match of the tournament between hosts Qatar and Ecuador.These are the FIFA Fan Festival at Al Bidda Park and the street festival on the Doha Corniche.Gates will open at 4pm, with the inauguration beginning at 7pm with a live broadcast of the 'Welcome to Qatar' ceremony on the Corniche.Following that, Lebanese singer Myriam Fares and Colombian star Maluma will open the Live Stage with headline solo performances as well as a world-exclusive duet performance of the official FIFA Fan Festival anthem, 'Tukoh Taka' (featuring Nicki Minaj, Maluma and Fares), which was released Friday.The performances by Fares and Maluma will be the first of many by top global music acts and local artistes over the next four weeks, with international award-winning musicians Diplo, Kizz Daniel, Nora Fatehi, Trinidad Cardona and Calvin Harris to be brought to the Live Stage by FIFA Sound.On opening day, the Fan Festival will be open from 4pm-1am. Hayya Card is mandatory to gain access to the FIFA Fan Festival.“Fans from all over the world can look forward to 29 days of football, music, culture and lifestyle – a true festival of football,” a FIFA statement said.The FIFA Fan Festival is the perfect place to watch FIFA World Cup matches live in a buzzing atmosphere, while also enjoying an exciting football and entertainment programme. Join 40,000 fans and enjoy all 64 FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 matches live on the mega-screens. Also on offer will be unique global and local culinary experiences.Besides, many sponsor activities, dedicated football exhibitions and an official FIFA Store with licensed FIFA World Cup products await football fans.A test event held on Nov 16 was a huge success, with the venue witnessing the enthusiastic participation of a large crowd.The FIFA Fan Festival also houses the Fan Engagement Centre behind the Information Desk. It will provide basic consular services, support for fans who are facilitating fan gatherings, walks and performances, as well as serve as an outlet for fans to raise any concerns in a safe, fan-focused environment. It will also host fan engagement activations with tournament ambassadors and serve as a co-ordination hub for the SC’s Fan Leader Network.More details can be found at https://www.qatar2022.qa/en/fifa-fan-festivalMeanwhile, the Corniche will be home to "Qatar’s global street carnival along Doha’s iconic 6km waterfront", starting Saturday. It covers the stretch from the Museum of Islamic Art to Hotel Park (Sheraton).The atmosphere along the Corniche will celebrate nations – allowing fans to connect from all around the world. The activation will include 150+ food outlets, live concert stages, 'Welcome to Qatar' water and light shows, roaming performances, arts, culture and story-telling, family-friendly entertainment, Bedouin Village and official FIFA merchandise.The timings are from 12noon until midnight daily, with entertainment shows taking place from 3pm to 11pm.The waterfront has been decorated with palm frond-shaped lighting poles that reflects the Qatari heritage. Pedestrian underpasses and plazas have been constructed to facilitate the movement of people along the Corniche. To enhance the aesthetics of these underpasses and plazas, sculptures and artworks of various Qatari and resident artists have been installed, as well as cafes set up.The Doha Corniche has been decorated with 1,440 palm frond-shaped lighting poles in harmony with the sprawling palm trees on the Corniche along with the provision of 655 lighting poles with distinctive features in the central Doha area.A key part of the celebrations, 'Welcome to Qatar' is a must-see for all during the tournament, featuring the Circle of Lights – a shimmering circle suspended above the water that transforms to poetically narrate wonderful stories.Throughout the afternoon, dancing water fountains will bring the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Official Soundtrack to life. When the sun goes down, a stunning symphony of pyrotechnics, drones and water effects will light up the sky – all set to an original orchestral score.After the opening day, shows will take place daily at 3pm, 3.30pm, 4pm, 4.30pm, 5pm and 5.50pm throughout the tournament.Visit https://www.qatar2022.qa/en/live-it-all-in-qatar/the-corniche for more information.How to reach* FIFA Fan Festival (only Hayya Card holders allowed)Venue: Al Bidda ParkNearest metro stations: West Bay Qatar Energy (Red line), Al Bidda (Red and Green lines), Corniche (Red line) – exit onlyFans can also hop on the Shuttle Bus Loop or a Stadium Express Bus, Park & Ride and be dropped off at designated locations for taxi, Uber and CareemMore information about timings and other details can be found at https://www.qatar2022.qa/en/fifa-fan-festival* Corniche street celebrationsVenue: Corniche, from the Museum of Islamic Art to Hotel Park (Sheraton).Nearest metro station: Souq Waqif (Gold line), Corniche (Red line) – exit only, West Bay Qatar Energy (Red line), Al Bidda (Red and Green lines)Visit https://www.qatar2022.qa/en/live-it-all-in-qatar/the-corniche for more information about timings and other details.
A young man from Kenya has become a fan favourite with his creative method of directing people to the metro stationAbubakr Abbass, a 23-year-old from Kenya, has emerged as a fan favourite – and accidental social media sensation – during the football World Cup in Qatar.Sitting on a tennis-umpire chair and armed with a large foam finger, he guides the hundreds of fans visiting Souq Waqif to the metro station nearby with the help of his trusted megaphone.His helpful advice – “Metro? This way. Metro? This way” – has now become a famous catchphrase.“We love him; we love the metro guy,” one fan said, motioning towards Abbass.“I saw him on TikTok. I thought it was really funny. He makes me laugh; it’s such a simple task,” added a young fan wearing a Chelsea football shirt.People visiting Souq Waqif regularly interact with Abbass, engaging in back-and-forths and creating pantomime-like scenes.Not much is known about the Kenyan, but the mysterious social media star has earned plaudits for bringing enthusiasm to an otherwise mundane task.“He’s really, really enjoying his job”, said one impressed fan.Abbass is now inspiring other workers to join in the fun, with many now donning his trademark foam finger and providing fans with directions in creative ways. – Al Jazeera
Viral sensation ‘Metro Man’, 23-year-old Abubakr Abbass from Kenya, was a special guest at Friday night’s FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 match between England and the USA at Al Bayt Stadium. In a tweet Saturday, the Qatar 2022 organisers thanked him for his special contribution to transport operations during the World Cup. Abbass is seen in the picture with officials at the stadium. Abbass has emerged as a fan favourite – and accidental social media sensation – during the football World Cup in Qatar. Sitting on a tennis-umpire chair and armed with a large foam finger, he guides hundreds of fans visiting Souq Waqif to the metro station nearby with the help of his trusty megaphone. Abbass’s helpful advice – “Metro? This way. Metro? This way” – has now become a famous catchphrase.
Reflecting the mood in the global markets and higher oil prices, ahead of the US Federal Reserve chief’s speech; the Qatar Stock Exchange Wednesday witnessed 126 points gain in the key index and QR8bn in capitalisation.Continuing the strong bullish phase for the second straight session, the 20-stock Qatar Index shot up 1.07% to 11,925.98 points, recovering from an intraday low of 11,756 points.The telecom, banking and real estate counters witnessed higher than average demand in the main market, whose year-to-date gains improved to 2.58%.The foreign institutions were increasingly net buyers in the main bourse, whose capitalisation saw QR8.11bn or 1.23% jump to QR669.5bn, mainly on mid and large cap segments.About 57% of the traded constituents extended gains in the main bourse, which saw a total of 0.13mn exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR0.35mn changed hands across 11 deals.The Islamic index was seen outperforming other indices in the main market, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.Trade turnover and volumes were on the increase in the main market, which saw no trading of treasury bills.The Total Return Index gained 1.07%, the All Share Index by 1.07% and the Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) by 1.13%.The telecom sector index zoomed 2.37%, banks and financial services (1.58%), realty (1.45%), industrials (0.69%) and transport (0.21%); while insurance declined 1.96% and consumer goods and services (0.53%).Major gainers in the main market included Qatari German Medical Devices, Mannai Corporation, Qatar Islamic Bank, Qatari Investors Group, Barwa, QNB, Baladna, Widam Food, Industries Qatar, Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding, Ooredoo, Vodafone Qatar and Nakilat.Nevertheless, Qatar Insurance, Medicare Group, Qatar Industrial Manufacturing, Woqod, Gulf Warehousing, Qatar Electricity and Water and Milaha were among the losers in the main market. In the venture market, both Al Faleh Educational Holding and Mekdam Holding saw their shares depreciate in value.The foreign institutions’ net buying increased substantially to QR160.61mn compared to QR41.56mn on November 29.The Arab institutions turned net buyers to the tune of QR0.22mn against net profit takers of QR0.01mn on Tuesday.The Gulf individuals’ net selling declined perceptibly to QR0.44mn compared to QR2.02mn the previous day.The foreign individuals’ net selling shrank noticeably to QR0.04mn against QR2.33mn on November 29.However, the domestic funds’ net selling shot up significantly to QR109.75mn compared to QR34.02mn on Tuesday.The local retail investors’ net selling zoomed considerably to QR36.64mn against QR2.41mn the previous day.The Gulf institutions’ net profit booking expanded drastically to QR8.1mn compared to QR1.26mn on November 29.The Arab retail investors were net sellers to the tune of QR5.88mn against net buyers of QR0.48mn on Tuesday.Total trade volume in the main market more than doubled to 238.16mn shares and value more than tripled to QR1.49bn on 20% surge in deals to 20,130.Trade volumes were seen doubling to 0.08mn equities and value soared 74% to QR0.59mn on 69% jump in transactions to 54.