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Dubai gold prices decline, 22k priced at dh149.25

Gold prices dropped on Thursday for a third consecutive day, holding near four-week lows hit in the previous session, on a firmer greenback amid expectations of more US interest rate hikes this year.

Spot gold was down 0.4 per cent to $1,313.51 per ounce, as of 0351 GMT. In the previous session, it hit

Meanwhile in Dubai, gold prices are Dh158.75 for 24-karat and 22-karat can be bought for Dh149.25, its lowest since Jan. 10 at $1,311.66.

US gold futures for April delivery rose 0.1 per cent to $1,315.70 per ounce.

The US dollar rose on Wednesday, marking its biggest one-day gain in more than three months against a basket of currencies . It was steady at 90.216 on Thursday.

“The main drivers behind the precious metal – notably, the dollar and US equities – still remain too turbulent,” INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir said.

“They should have an oversized impact on price direction for gold for a little while longer.”

Asian shares flirted with six-week lows on Thursday, while US stocks finished lower on Wednesday, losing ground late in the session as a jump in Treasury yields kept investor nervousness high.

The US Federal Reserve will stick to its plan for “steady, gradual” interest-rate increases, San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams said on Wednesday despite market gyrations and strong data on US wage growth that has bond traders pricing in faster rising inflation

Hikes in interest rates lead to higher bond yields and dampen the demand for non-yielding gold. The yellow metal is also used as a hedge against inflation

“The shifting Fed narrative that is gathering hawkish following could be the most significant thorn in the Gold Bulls side,” said Stephen Innes, head of trading APAC at OANDA.

Spot gold is expected to fall more to $1,301 as it has pierced below a support at $1,316 per ounce, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust , the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, dropped 0.29 per cent to 826.90 tonnes on Wednesday from 829.27 tonnes on Tuesday.

Holdings fell for a second straight session after they marked on Tuesday their worst one-day drop since December 2016.

Dubai is fourth most visited city globally

Dubai has a set a new record for tourists visiting the emirate in 2017, recording a total of 15.79 million tourists last year, compared to the 14.9 million overnight visitors in 2016.

New data by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), showed that Dubai has consolidated its position as the fourth most visited city globally, drawing closer to its 2020 goal of welcoming 20 million visitors per year by the start of the next decade.

“Our strong 6.2 per cent growth in 2017 has allowed us to ramp up the pace towards meeting our 2020 targets, and today Dubai’s travel and tourism sector is not only well-positioned to offer a superlative destination experience across its eight core strategic propositions, but also geared to accelerate its appeal to the diverse and evolving needs of our global travellers,” said Helal Saeed Almarri, director-general of Dubai Tourism.

“Dubai is among the top four most visited cities in the world and the best performer in the Middle East and North Africa region. Recently, it has also been ranked as the world’s second most popular destination for luxury travel,” said Laurent A. Voivenel, senior vice-president of operations and development for the Middle East, Africa and India at Swiss-Belhotel International.

Voivenel noted that a number of exciting leisure, family and cultural attractions such as the Dubai Opera, City Walk, IMG Worlds of Adventure, Dubai Water Canal, Dubai Parks and Resorts, Etihad Museum, La Perle by Dragone, Deira Islands, Dubai Safari Park and Dubai Frame have all further added to the city’s appeal, as well as contributed to the steep rise in leisure tourism.

“Soon, we will have more landmark projects coming up such as the Dubai Creek, the Dubai Eye, Museum of the Future, Dubai Crocodile Park, the Warner Brothers Theme Parks and the 20 million square foot Dubai Harbour project,” he listed. “DTCM’s global promotions and marketing initiatives have not only boosted demand from existing feeder markets, but also helped to open new source markets.”

In terms of country-specific performance, India retained the top spot in 2017, contributing 2.1 million visitors, becoming the first country to cross the two million mark in a single year. The country’s performance represented a 15 per cent year-on-year increase. Saudi Arabia maintained its second rank, contributing a total of 1.53 million tourists last year. Despite an overall seven per cent year-on-year drop in visitation, it remained the highest driver of traffic volumes from within the GCC.

Coming in at third place, the UK delivered 1.27 million travellers, rising two per cent over 2016, underscoring Dubai’s enduring popularity among British travellers despite lingering uncertainty surrounding Brexit that has impacted overall outbound travel growth from this market.

Other results from some of Dubai’s remaining top 10 source markets for inbound tourism included fifth-placed China, with 764,000 tourists, up 41 per cent; while eighth-placed Russia, with 530,000 visitors, recorded a 121 per cent increase over the previous year. Both markets benefited from easier access following the introduction of visa-on-arrival facilities to Chinese and Russian citizens in late 2016 and early 2017, respectively.


DP World container volumes up 10%

Global ports operator DP World Limited recorded 10.1 per cent growth in gross container volumes by handling 70.1 million twenty-foot equivalent units across its global portfolio of container terminals in 2017. DP World Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem said the growth was driven by improved trading environment and market share gains. “Our global portfolio once again delivered ahead-of-market growth in 2017 and has seen strong performance across all three regions. Over the years, we have deployed the relevant deep-water capacity in key markets, focusing on a diversified portfolio which continues to benefit from the recovery in global trade,” he said. Sulayem said the ports operator would see stable performance in the UAE as volumes continued to grow in the fourth quarter of 2017 amidst uncertainty in the region and tougher year-over-year comparables. “The performance across our other terminals in the Middle East & Africa remains strong in addition to Europe and the Americas.” In 2018, DP World, DP World, which operates 78 marine and inland terminals around the world, expects to continue to grow ahead of the market and see increased contributions from our new developments, said Sulayem. “We continue to seek opportunities in complementary sectors in the global supply chain and will maintain capital expenditure discipline by bringing on capacity in line with demand. Given the strong volume performance of our portfolio, we are well placed to meet full year 2017 market expectations.” In the fourth quarter, the global portfolio grew 10.3 per cent year-on-year on a reported basis and 9.9 per cent on a like-for-like basis with consistent performance across all three DP World regions and particularly strong contributions from our terminals in Europe, Americas and Middle East and Africa. The UAE handled 15.4 million TEU in 2017 up by four per cent year-on-year. Last month, DP World and India’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), announced the creation of a fund to invest up to $3 billion in the transport and logistics sectors in India. In December, DP World acquired a further 66.67 per cent stake in Brazil’s Embraport, making it the sole owner of the largest private multi-modal port terminal in Latin America’s largest container port. A series of acquisitions and technology tie-ups saw the global trade enabler expand its business horizons across the world. This included over $1 billion in capital expenditure during 2017.

UAE to grow faster at 3.8% on higher oil prices and reforms

Increases in oil prices coupled with easier fiscal consolidation and reforms will help the UAE, the most diversified economy in the GCC, to register a higher growth of 3.8 per cent in 2018, world-leading trade credit management company said on Tuesday. While economic diversity has made the second largest Arab economy an outperformer in the region by averting a fall into recession in the current era of lower energy prices, the UAE stands to benefit from big international events such as the Dubai Expo 2020 and the Qatar 2022 World Cup as they will spur tourist traffic to the region, analysts at Coface said as they forecast global economy to peak at 3.2 percent in 2018. The UAE growth projection by Coface is among the most upbeat compared to forecasts made by the International Monetary Fund and other organisations while close to the 3.9 per cent predicted by the Central Bank. The Washington-based fund has projected UAE’s real GDP to surge to 3.4 per cent in 2018 from a 1.3 per cent in 2017. A joint report by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and Oxford Economics said the UAE would record 3.6 per cent growth in 2018 from 1.7 per cent in 2017. In its annual “Country and Sector Risks Analysis 2018,” Coface said Saudi Arabia, Arab world’s largest economy, would grow at 1.2 per cent in 2018, Bahrain two per cent, Oman 3.8 per cent, and Kuwait 3.1 percent. “In the UAE, private consumption will likely remain among the main growth driver in 2018, sustained by household consumption and higher international tourism,” said the report. The introduction of VAT from January 2018 is not expected to represent a significant drag on UAE’s growth. “However, subdued oil prices will likely prevent the economy from recording growth rates as high as pre-2014 levels,” it said. With the slow recovery in oil prices since early 2017, the budget deficit will start to narrow. This is set to result in higher spending on infrastructure, construction, and investment, world’s leading credit insurer said. Globally, Coface forecasts a growth of 3.2 per cent in 2018. In emerging countries, the recovery is expected to be stronger (with growth of 4.6% according to Coface) and above all more synchronized.

UAE, Malaysia forge stronger ties

The UAE is intensifying its efforts to promote its relations with Southeast Asian countries, which are among the fastest growing economies in the world with growth rates exceeding six per cent for some economies. This includes Malaysia, which already enjoys decades of strong links with the UAE, officials at the UAE-Malaysia Business & Investment Forum in Kuala Lumpur said. Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, the UAE Minister of Economy, noted that the relationship between the UAE and Malaysia is established on a strong base, given the similar trends and drivers of economic growth in both countries, including manufacturing, new technologies, service and international trade sectors, innovation, research and development, as well as open trade policies and a strong small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sector.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the event, Al Mansouri added that the two countries have emerged as leading models for an Islamic economy, which welcomes the creativity and contributions of different cultures from around the world.

He clarified that the UAE is currently Malaysia’s largest trading partner among the GCC countries, where the volume of trade exchange between the two countries stood at Dh15.4 billion in 2016. Malaysia’s direct investments in the UAE by the end of 2015 have amounted to Dh1.6 billion, while the value of the UAE’s investments in Malaysia for the same period amounted to about Dh8.7 billion. Al Mansouri also discussed the importance of Malaysia’s participation in Dubai Expo 2020, which represents major opportunities for various companies from all over the world.

The forum is a major initiative by the UAE Ministry of Economy in cooperation with the Malaysian Ministry of International Trade and Industry. Al Mansoori noted during his speech that the forum will discuss several topics through seminars and round tables particularly in strategic sectors that are of mutual interest from both parties and will also include a signing of cooperation agreements. One of the key focal points of the event would be the promotion of halal trade between the UAE and Malaysia, which intends to expand capabilities and expertise in this sector following Malaysia’s recognition of the ‘UAE Halal Control System Global Practices.’

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