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Dubai Gold Prices Drop To 6-Month Low, 22k Priced At Dh144

Gold prices posted a six-month low on Thursday, pressed down further by a firm dollar and as the US Federal Reserve Chair confirmed an outlook for higher interest rates in the United States.

24k gold is priced at Dh153.25 in Dubai and 22k gold can be bought at Dh144.

Spot gold fell 0.2 per cent to $1,265.72 an ounce by 0343 GMT. It hit its lowest since Dec. 21 at $1,264.21 earlier, having lost nearly 2.8 per cent over the last five sessions.

US gold futures for August delivery were down 0.5 per cent at $1,267.50 per ounce. “Precious metal (gold) is firmly in a downtrend and this is mainly due to the strength in the dollar index which is trading at a significant level,” said ThinkMarkets chief market analyst Naeem Aslam.

The dollar held near an 11-month high against a basket of currencies on Thursday, supported by a rise in US yields, while the pound struggled at its lowest level since November 2017 ahead of Bank of England’s monetary policy decision.

A stronger greenback makes dollar-denominated gold more expensive for holders of other currencies.

The dollar strength follows a remark from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell yesterday and that is driving gold down, said Yuichi Ikemizu, Tokyo branch manager at ICBC Standard Bank.

Powell on Wednesday said the US jobs market did not appear overly tight and the Federal Reserve should continue with a gradual pace of interest rate rises to balance the bank’s employment and inflation goals in a strong economy.

Saudi, Argentina To Be Added To MSCI Emerging Markets Index

Index provider MSCI said on Wednesday it will reclassify Argentina as an emerging market and begin including Saudi Arabia in that classification, sharply broadening the investor base for both countries in a move that could be supportive of their equity markets.

The decisions will be effective beginning in mid-2019.

For Saudi Arabia, there is high anticipation over the market listing of state-controlled energy company Aramco, which could be the largest publicly-traded company globally.

International investors’ expectations were that “the current privatization effort in Saudi Arabia will continue to grow the investable opportunity set available,” Sebastien Lieblich, MSCI managing director and global head of equity solutions, said in a statement.

That should contribute to an increased weight of Saudi Arabia in the Emerging Markets Index in the future, he added.

New Investment Models Are Needed To Boost Mena Oil And Gas Sector

New investment models will encourage optimal development in the oil and gas sector, Majid Jafar, CEO of Crescent Petroleum told OPEC ministers and industry leaders at the OPEC Seminar in Vienna. The private sector in MENA can be an important partner in oil and gas development, helping boost competitiveness in the industry, he added.

“We need new investment models that will create the right incentives for upstream investment in exploration in new areas, enhanced recovery from mature fields, and gas development, where the region continues to lag despite growing demand from the regional power and industry,” Mr Jafar said.

Mr Jafar, who leads the Middle East’s oldest private oil and gas company and serves as Vice-Chairman of the Crescent Group of companies, was speaking at the 7th OPEC International Seminar in Vienna, Austria. More than 750 participants, including ministers, industry leaders and experts gathered at the Imperial Hofburg Palace in Vienna to discuss the global energy outlook, market stability, oil investments, technology, and the state of the world economy.

“The region needs at least $320 billion in investment over the next five years, and the private sector can be an important partner in this effort. The Middle East has over half the world’s proven oil & gas reserves but represents only a third of the oil market and a sixth of the gas market today, so we have yet to fulfill our potential as a region” Mr Jafar said, speaking on the panel entitled “Investment in the Oil Industry”, along with the oil ministers of Iraq and Kuwait, and international industry leaders from the public and private sectors.

Bahrain Mulls Free 100 Litres Petrol For Drivers

In a move to counter the rising cost of living and fuel prices, Bahrain mulls giving its citizens 100 litres of free petrol every month.

The free proposal, which will be voted on by Council of Representatives, was submitted by the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee.

This comes in the wake of rising fuel prices hitting low and middle-income families, as per local media reports.

Many individuals rely on government subsidies to make ends meet.

Hotels Report Full Occupancy For Eid Break

Hotels across the UAE have reported that they will be enjoying full occupancies for the Eid break, as guests arrive to make the most of the weekend.

Hospitality experts have noted that visitors made bookings for the Eid break well in advance, with many even booking hotel rooms as soon as Ramadan started. They further reported that bookings accelerated during the middle of Ramadan, as families finalised their plans for the holiday.

Bassam Zakaria, GM at Kingsgate Hotel by Millennium Hotel and Resorts, told that the staff at the hotel were working day and night to make sure that the hotel is on full standby.

“We are expecting full occupancy for sure, and the majority of our guests are UAE residents and those from the GCC that are coming to enjoy the Eid festivial activities,” he said.

Kamel Zayati, GM at Al Raha Beach Hotel, says that he also expects the hotel to be operating at full capacity on the first two days of Eid.

“Visitors are looking to relax and are opting for resorts that are offering great value for money and activities that keep them entertained. To keep the kids entertained, we have scheduled to play kids movie every evening, and in the morning they can explore and hone skills such as swimming, taekwondo, and gymnastics,” he said. “We have received a lot of interest from residents and bookings are in full swing. Since it is a public holiday, we have received bookings from a mix of nationalities including UAE and GCC nationals and expats.”

Linda Abdul Hay, director of Public Relations at Atlantis The Palm, also pointed out that it was important to have a mix of activities that different guests can enjoy. Visitors can look forward to a range of activities at the hotel, during the Eid break, including Aquaventure Waterpark, The Lost Chambers Aquarium, different diving experiences at the Ambassador Lagoon, Sea Lion Point, and Dolphin Bay.

“Eid is a time to celebrate with family and friends, and visitors generally look for activities that help them spend time together, whilst breaking free from the usual chores,” she said. “With world-class facilities ranging from entertainment to shopping and relaxation, visitors favor staying at Atlantis, The Palm. It gives them an opportunity to experience not just the adrenaline rush at our entertainment facilities, but also witness a divine relaxation at our premium suites and spa and indulge in some culinary delights at our top-rated restaurants.”

While many guests will have booked their stays well in advance, taking advantage of the special offers listed on the hotel websites, Kevin Lawless, GM at Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort, says that it is not uncommon to see walk-ins.

“Residents are making bookings, and we have seen an influx in bookings and inquiries during the last week of Ramadan. The majority of bookings are from UAE residents, but we are expecting walk-ins from the GCC, mainly Saudi nationals during the Eid holidays. We have beach and recreational activities for adults, as well as play areas and entertainment for kids. Additionally, we planned for an Eid day Brunch and BBQ night.”

“We tend to receive guests mainly from Saudi Arabia, followed by the UAE, and Kuwait,” revealed Glenn Nobbs, GM of Copthorne Hotel Dubai. “This year we have extended our promotions to Oman, so we are looking forward to an increase in visitation from across the border too. With the current booking trend, I think we will realistically reach about 90-95 per cent occupancy. Given our location, we tend to find that our guests like to spend a lot of time relaxing by the pool, visiting friends and family, and enjoying the special shopping discounts.”

Abu Dhabi Economy To Pick Up Gradually

Global ratings agency S&P on Sunday affirmed Abu Dhabi’s “AA” long-term and expects growth will gradually pick up and that the its fiscal position will remain strong over the next two years.

Following 0.5 per cent contraction in real terms in 2017 due to the Opec’s oil production cuts, S&P forecast gradual rising real GDP growth of the emirate on the back of recovering oil prices and production, and a revival in investment.

“We project that Abu Dhabi’s economic growth will rise gradually to three per cent by 2021 from 1.3 per cent in 2018, supported by increased oil production, planned spending on investment projects, and recovering domestic credit growth bolstered by higher oil prices and improving demand in the region,” said Zahabia Gupta, primary credit analyst at S&P.

Gupta said the Abu Dhabi government’s large net asset position will provide a considerable buffer against the impact of commodity market and other volatility on the economy.

While regional geopolitical developments will have a limited impact on Abu Dhabi, S&P said in a note issued on Sunday.

“We also expect Abu Dhabi’s considerable fiscal buffers will be sufficient to offset the potential financial impact of rising regional political risks. Following several years of expenditure rationalisation, we expect the government to moderately increase spending to support a revival in growth,” the report noted. Earlier this month, the Abu Dhabi government announced a stimulus package of Dh50 billion – approximately 1.6 per cent of GDP annually – over the next three years to encourage new industries and improve the business operating environment. Abu Dhabi will maintain, according to S&P, an extremely strong net fiscal asset position, averaging almost 235 per cent of GDP in 2018-2021 which is one of the highest net government asset ratios among the sovereigns. Gupta sees a strong fiscal position over the next few years, supported by rising revenues and relatively smaller increases in expenditures.

“We expect the general government fiscal surplus to average eight per cent of GDP over 2018-2021. We particularly project a higher surplus of 9.7 per cent during 2018, owing to S&P’s assumption of a peak in oil prices at $65/bbl.”

S&P also assumes gradually rising oil production from 2019 to drive an increase in oil revenues, while higher non-oil revenues will be supported by the recent introduction of VAT of 5 per cent and excise taxes on tobacco and certain beverages in October 2017.

The global ratings agency last month revised its oil price forecasts. It now assume an average Brent oil price of $65 per barrel in 2018, $60 per barrel in 2019, and $55 per barrel over 2020-2021.

What Makes The Uae Government A Leadership You Can Trust

If you’re anything like me, you have an inbox full of data privacy protection updates. Every app is waking up to practices that took over their customers’ data and reasserting some control. I feel gratitude for the cleaning house on how my data is used, and that someone has taken the time to tell me about it.

What if government did the same, and kept service recipients informed about how their data from interactions with government are being used? In a rapidly-changing world of data proliferation, governments have been slow to leverage the power of data to produce knowledge for action, and have failed to manage communication about privacy policies in a way that builds trust.

This is a critical lapse that must be addressed if we are to be successful in creating more effective government services. Without trust and confidence, fears will become barriers to data access, knowledge will stay lost in the bowels of administrative data repositories, and the secrets for improved services will remain hidden.

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