Market Monitor

Unlocking the transformative potential of fintech in the GCC

27 August 2019
The finance sector in the GCC region is about to pass a significant threshold which holds the potential to revolutionise many aspects of citizens' lives. Just as the arrival of the mobile phone in the late 1990s allowed GCC states to leapfrog many developed countries already wedded to the... »

Grand designs: are Saudi Arabia’s infrastructure plans too ambitious?

23 August 2019
Saudi Arabia has announced a trillion-dollar pipeline of infrastructure projects aimed at diversifying the economy beyond oil and positioning the kingdom as a global hub for investment and logistics. The development agenda has created opportunities in a range of new areas such as smart cities, tourism and clean energy.... »

Oman: making the most of a prime location

20 August 2019
The sultanate has every reason to be deeply anxious about the actual and potential conflicts on its northern and southern borders, but it also has an opportunity to turn this situation to its advantage. This has been evident in the recent flurry of activity for projects aimed at developing... »

Gulf oil: new moves in a changing domestic and global landscape

16 August 2019
Across the Gulf region, national oil companies (NOCs) are evolving into commercial and global enterprises, in different ways and with varying degrees of success.  Their strategic directions are influenced by factors related to their leaders’ development priorities, geopolitical drivers, resource endowments and commercial opportunities.  While some have been pioneers... »

Utility companies adapt to a low-carbon future

13 August 2019
Utility firms in developed markets will increasingly align corporate strategies with the trend of decarbonisation. The “utility of the future” will invest substantially in boosting renewable power generation, pursuing demand “behind the grid” and offering electric vehicle services. This strategy will bring them into greater competition with major oil... »

Gulf bond markets: issuers take advantage of strong demand amid rising geopolitical tensions

09 August 2019
The six Gulf Arab states, incorporating several of the biggest, and wealthiest, players in the global oil and gas markets, cannot seem to stop selling debt. And investors, hunting for yield in a global low rates environment, are driving demand for more bond issues from the region. Despite the... »

India’s renewable energy sector: challenging the hype

06 August 2019
India has been extremely successful in attracting investment into its domestic renewable energy sector, with efforts underpinned by strong government support. That said, concerns over tariff feasibility, grid bottlenecks and the leadership's lingering commitment to coal-fired power are underappreciated risks that have the potential to dampen investor sentiment and... »

The INSTC, transregional connectivity and geopolitics

02 August 2019
The multi-modal International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) has the potential to boost Eurasian trade connectivity by linking Russia to the warm waters of the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean. Only 160 km of track remains to be laid in Iran’s northwest for Mumbai to be connected to the Baltic... »

Gulf ports lie between lofty ambitions and harsh realities

30 July 2019
Recent news on ports and shipping in the Gulf has offered some stark contrasts. On the one hand, a landmark reached in Qatar’s project to equip Doha port to receive giant cruise ships, and the announcement of a slew of deals for Chinese companies to invest in projects serving... »

The Middle East needs radical agricultural transformation

26 July 2019
The region is facing a triple challenge: Emerging climate patterns herald a future where water resources lie below sustainable levels; rapid population growth is threatening to imperil food security; and over reliance on oil is curtailing governments’ ability to act. The situation requires new thinking on sustainability, scalable technological... »

Ethiopia: highlighting growth drivers, pinpointing risks

23 July 2019
Ethiopia’s ambitious industrialisation strategy is expected to create opportunities in three main areas: power and distribution, logistics infrastructure and export-orientated manufacturing. While growth will be rapid, obstacles will prevent full realisation of government targets. Most notably, opposition to political reform and social unrest look set to challenge policy continuity.

The US-Iran conflict: no sign of a way out

19 July 2019
Iran’s limited use of violence in the Gulf has caused US President Donald Trump to adopt a more cautious posture towards Tehran. However, conflict is likely to erupt again as long as the economic sanctions remain in place. Iran has begun violating the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),... »

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