GULF STATES – ECONOMICS & FINANCE
Damac awarded ‘property developer of the year’ for 2019
Damac Properties has recently been awarded the ‘Property Developer of the Year UAE 2019’ at the International Business Magazine Awards (IBM Awards).
The International Business Magazine Awards was designed and developed to recognise exceptional work globally and across industry sectors. The judging panel, comprised of experienced professionals and industry experts, have selected the winners after in-depth analysis and performance assessments. The year started strong for Damac with deliveries of 1,500 units in the first half, and over Dh480 million worth of contracts awarded. Along with the handovers at Ghalia, its first Sharia-compliant development, Damac also initiated handovers for the Claret cluster at Akoya. In 2018, Damac delivered a record 4,100 units, and are looking to beat that record this year.
“Congratulations to the entire Damac team, our agents, and all those who have been instrumental to our continued success. Our customer-centric and innovative approach to real estate is the foundation of our growth story. I am confident that this recognition will further fuel the enthusiasm of the entire group as we head into the future,” said Niall McLoughlin, senior vice president at Damac Properties.
Lulu opens new fresh market in Abu Dhabi’s Riyadh city
Lulu Group has opened a new fresh market off the city limits of Abu Dhabi in Riyadh City.
The fresh market was officially opened in the presence of Hassan Ali Al Dhahery, directory of Al Wathbha Municipality; Yusuff Ali MA, chairman of Lulu Group; Saifee Rupawala and other officials. The new express fresh market which also 179th of the group is located in Riyadh City of South Shamka in Al Wathbha. Riyadh City is home to one of the largest housing development programme under Abu Dhabi’s public housing policy and is expected to accommodate more than 200,000 UAE citizens and occupy 45 percent of Abu Dhabi’s total residential land area once the project is completed.
On the occasion, Yusuff Ali MA, chairman of Lulu Group, said: “It has been always our policy to bring unique shopping experience closer to the residents of suburban area and outskirts of main cities, rather than making them drive long distance. By 2020, Riyadh City will get a bigger hypermarket which will serve the residents of the larger part of the area with more value and convenience.”
Get the new Iphone 11 models in Dubai
Etisalat on Thursday announced it is offering the latest products from Apple, including iPhone 11 Pro Max, a new pro line for iPhone, as well as the new dual-camera iPhone 11
Etisalat is also offering Apple Watch Series 5 with Always-On Retina, allowing the watch’s display to be always visible. The new line of Apple products also include the seventh generation iPad, which will be available from September 20, 2019 at 8am at Etisalat retail stores across the UAE. Purchases of the new Apple products could also be made via the website www.etisalat.ae or My UAE Etisalat app.
Customers may opt to purchase the new Apple devices through Smart Pay and enjoy 12, 18 or 24 months flexible payments. Those purchasing any of the new iPhone 11 series on Smart Pay will benefit from a free membership of Etisalat’s unique ‘Upgrade Anytime’ programme, the first such upgrading scheme in the region.
The ‘Upgrade Anytime’ programme allows members purchasing any of the new iPhone 11 to upgrade to the latest model upon completion of 90 days of membership. It entitles them to replace their device with the same version but one with a different colour, memory capacity, display size or even to choose a different monthly installment plan.
Etisalat customers also have the opportunity to get a 40 percent discount if they opt to purchase a second Apple device (iPad, Apple Watch, Airpod or an iPhone/Airpod case), upon purchase of any of the new iPhone 11.
UAE central bank lowers interest rates by 25 basis points
The UAE Central Bank (CBUAE) has announced it will lower interest rates applied to the issuance of its certificates of deposits in line with the decrease in interest rates on US dollar, following the Federal Reserve Board’s decision.
The measure will take effect as of Thursday, September 19, 2019.
The repo rate applicable to borrowing short-term liquidity from the UAE Central Bank against certificates of deposits has also been decreased by 25 basis points.
Certificates of deposit, which CBUAE issues to banks operating in the country, are the monetary policy instrument through which changes in interest rates are transmitted to the UAE banking system.
Holiday home operators ‘win status quo’ against Emaar
Holiday home operators in Dubai are facing uncertainty as the deadline given by Emaar Properties to cease their operations in Downtown Dubai expires but no consensus evolved at a meeting with the authorities concerned, it has learnt.
The short-term market players said ambiguity and indecisive policies will hurt investor sentiments as Emaar refuses to either extend the September 19 deadline for holiday home rentals or withdraw the same.
Industry sources said the operators did meet the authorities on Wednesday and were expecting an outcome to the controversy.
“We are ready for an amicable solution, but Emaar stick to its stance,” according to a source who attended the meeting.
The operators said they are hounded by their clients who had booking in Downtown Dubai and are now looking for alternative accommodations.
“Ease by Emaar will not list properties in Downtown Dubai for home stays from September 19. This is as part of our decision not to offer holiday home operations in Downtown Dubai following requests from our residents, as several of the holiday homes were used for non-residential and non-family-related activities,” said a statement from Emaar.
Peru brings craftsmanship, exclusive designs to UAE
Peru exhibited a diverse range of inimitable home décor products with great vision and aesthetic qualities at INDEX Dubai.
The Peruvian pavilion showcased a balance between innovation and tradition with unique and high-quality decorative items designed to meet the trends and demands of the market. Sustained by Peru’s biodiversity, the variety of shapes and colors of its geography, the rich Incan heritage, and the multiple expressions of its culture; Peru home deco items respond to market trends and mixes the ancestral techniques and handmade production with exclusive designs and limited edition.
Commenting on the participation in the INDEX Dubai 2019, Alvaro Silva Santisteban, Director of the Trade, Tourism & Investment Office Peru in the UAE, said, “The relationship between Peru and the UAE continues to go from strength to strength. Exports from Peru to the UAE continue to grow, with export figures from January to July this year topping USD 429 million, breaking all earlier records within the same period. The UAE has become a market for Peruvian companies and trade.”
“In recent years, our traditional export markets have been concentrated within the Americas and Europe. However, after major efforts our trade has evolved and diversified both in products and services as well as in markets. Where a communicational process, both home and locally towards understanding the depth of the markets, was of essences. At first, it was a challenge to get involvement, but once the potential and an array of possibilities were interiorized companies were eager to enter,” he added.
Record 118,000 visitors to Ras Al Khaimah in August
The emirate of Ras Al Khaimah saw a record number of visitors amounting to 118,000, in August this year.
Raki Philips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said that more visitors are now choosing the UAE’s northernmost emirate to visit and “enjoy its fascinating history, traditional culture, magnificent landscapes and world-class hotels and resorts.”
Reports revealed that the emirate has witnessed a five percent growth in overall visitor arrivals year to date, with the peak reaching 117,995 visitors in August 2019.
“An 8.4 percent increase in domestic visitor arrivals has also been reported indicating a rise in the emirate’s popularity as a preferred staycation destination amongst UAE residents,” Philips said.
As for international markets Poland, Russia, India, Kazakhstan and Czech Republic have significantly contributed to the record-breaking number of visitors recorded month to date August 2019 “with growth percentages of 26.6 percent, 25.3 percent, 13.7 percent, nine percent and 8.3 percent respectively.
Hotels and resorts also reported a 3.7 percent increase in occupied rooms, Philips stated. “This propels a 3.1 percent growth in occupancy rates compared to the same period last year.”
Earlier this year, a host of attractive summer offers have been announced as part of the emirate’s ongoing destination marketing campaign – “Kids go Free” – which highlights the hidden gems, diverse attractions and adventures on offer across the emirate.
UAE among top Arab nations for social progress
The UAE has retained its top ranking among the GCC states in the 2019 Social Progress Index, which takes into account 51 indicators including nutrition, shelter, safety, education, health, personal rights, and inclusiveness.
Ranked 61st with 69.84 points score, the UAE was rated higher than Russia, Qatar, Jordan, Turkey, Oman, India, and China. However, the country’s ranking fell 16 places from 45th position last year, revealed data compiled by the Social Progress Imperative – a US-based non-profit organisation.
The UAE has been bracketed along with several resource-rich countries including Russia (62nd, 69.71 points), Qatar (64th, 69.37 points), and Kazakhstan (69th, 68.20).
The UAE achieved the top score with a first rating in a number of sub-indexes including undernourishment of population, access to electricity and mobile telephone subscription. The emirates also scored highly in vulnerable employment, perceived criminality, discrimination and violence against minorities, Internet users, access to online governance, quality of electricity supply and primary school enrollment of children and corruption sub-indexes. Regionally, the UAE is followed by Jordan, Qatar, Oman, Algeria, Morocco, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia among the Arab countries. Among other major countries, Turkey was ranked 72nd, China 89th, the Philippines 94th, Egypt 96th, India 102nd and Pakistan 125th.
The top 10 positions are dominated by Scandinavian countries, led by Norway, which ranked first on the 2019 Social Progress Index with a score of 90.95, followed by Denmark, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, New Zealand, Germany, Canada and Japan.
Michael Green, CEO of Social Progress Imperative, said that the results of the 2019 index showed that social progress is not advancing quickly or widely enough.
“Our current projection is that the world will not successfully fulfil the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals until 2073. Even the most prosperous countries have areas of weakness that they need to address and it should be of great concern to all, that rights are declining – including in the US,” Green said.
Since the first Social Progress Index in 2014, the US has consistently shown underperformance relative to its GDP per capita. This is exceptional among leading economies. That trend continues in 2019 as the US ranks 26th in the world on social progress, below Slovenia and Estonia and the lowest of the G7.
Michael E Porter, professor at Bishop William Lawrence University, said that the US economy is still growing, the headline unemployment rate is at near-historic lows, and the stock market remains near highs. But, a deeper look paints a very different picture.
“America is mired in a social progress recession. Far from a leader, the reality is that America’s quality of life is lagging in the opportunities available for many citizens in areas such as personal safety and maternal mortality, among many others. The fact is that our country is failing on many of the aspirations and principles we hold most dear. And it’s getting worse,” he said.