Gulf States – Economics & Finance
Steel producers-UAE seek hike in anti-dumping duty
Steel manufacturers in the UAE have called for increasing anti-dumping duty in order to safeguard local industry, according to a senior official of a leading steel manufacturer.
“It is an industry perspective to hike anti-dumping duty as more rebar and pipe producers are requesting for support from the ministry. It is a very clear mandate that there should be enough capacity to ask for this type of demand. And we have enough pipe-making and rebar-making capacity. That will allow us to survive for few years,” said Bharat Bhatia, CEO of Conares.
The UAE hiked duties on steel rebar and wire rod from five percent to 10 percent in January 2019 as part of anti-dumping measures to protect local industry.
“Anti-dumping duty cannot be imposed in one country so it has to come on a GCC level. There are a lot of jurisdictions in the region so decision will take time and not come overnight. I think we are not unreasonable in requesting hike in anti-dumping duty,” Bhatia told source in an interview on Monday.
Currently, the UAE is second largest country in the region in terms of installed steel capacity after Saudi Arabia.
Careem to stop Oman operations from Feb
Ride-hailing app Careem has decided to pull out of Oman due to tougher market conditions and regulatory challenges.
A spokesperson of the Dubai-based company, which was taken over by its bigger rival Uber, confirmed to source that the company has decided to discontinue operations from next month.
“Careem decided to discontinue operating in Oman due to the absence of the regulatory factors that provide us with a healthy investment environment. The decision came after an in-depth study and analysis of the market and expected future conditions,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
“This decision will allow Careem to focus on high-potential markets and expand services across existing markets. The operations will be closed by February 3, 2020,” said the spokesperson.
The company has been facing challenges on the regulatory front in a number of countries. Its owner Uber has been banned in some European countries due to safety and competition issues.
Etisalat most valuable consumer brand in MEA region for 3rd year
Etisalat set another milestone by retaining its top position as ‘The Most Valuable Consumer Brand’ and ‘The Most Valuable Telecom Brand’ in Middle East and Africa (MEA) by Brand Finance – as a recognition for the success and growth of the brand.
Based on the report from Brand Finance, world’s leading independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy, Etisalat boasts of an impressive portfolio of brands touching $11bn including Etisalat Misr, Mobily, Ufone, Maroc Telecom and PTCL. The brand has also demonstrated consistent performance over the years retaining its title as the most valuable telecom brand for the fourth year in a row.
The brand value increased to $8.5 billion as the most valuable consumer brand in MEA for a third consecutive year on a standalone basis. Etisalat is also the only telecom brand to retain AAA brand rating.
David Haigh, CEO, Brand Finance said: “Etisalat is the most consistent performer in the Middle East & Africa and the winner of the most valuable consumer brand title in our Global 500 for a 3rd year running.
Eng. Saleh Abdullah Al Abdooli, CEO, Etisalat Group said: “Reaching the top is hard but maintaining a leadership position is harder. With the regional leadership of Etisalat as a brand it is a testimony to our continuous efforts in digital transformation amplifying our efforts in the societies we serve by investing in new digital platforms, 5G technologies and global brand building initiatives.
Dubai property achieves supply-demand balance, prices hit lowest mark
Dubai’s top private developers believe that a demand-supply balance has been achieved to some extent, and that prices are at rock-bottom and unlikely to go down any further.
Hussain Sajwani, chairman of Damac Properties, said that the market turned the corner in 2018 when new launches started to decline.
“We launched only one project each in 2018 and 2019, as compared to 10-12 in 2015. Our new project launches are 90 percent less now, as we’re focused on deliveries. In 2019, we delivered over 6,000 units and plan to handover 8,500 this year and 9,000 next year. I believe that if the supply is stopped for a couple of years, the balance will be achieved between supply and demand,” Sajwani said.
Last year, 20,000 residential units were sold across Dubai, the Damac chairman had said earlier. This year, the developer hopes to sell 1,000 units.
“The prices won’t get cheaper in 2020-2021. The supply is getting less, and hopefully, in 2022, the prices will get much better,” he said during an interview with the CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
“Prices are rock bottom. Today, in Dubai, what you’re buying is almost at the cost of the developer or below cost,” he told in an interview.
He said that the supply has been curbed in the last couple of months as most of the big developers are not bringing in new projects.
Data by real estate consultancies show that the actual supply is less than projected, while sales have jumped substantially in the later part of last year, as properties become more affordable due to a persistent decline in prices. Data by ValuStrat revealed that a total of 24,613 residential units were confirmed to have been completed in 2019, which means that total completions represented only 58 percent of the projected residential supply for 2019.
Real estate consultancy Cavendish Maxwell has predicted that 50,000 units will be handed over in 2020, but industry players believe that the materialisation rate will remain lower than expected due to delays in deliveries.
Atif Rahman, director and partner of Danube Properties, is also not worried about the oversupply, because he believes that a balance in supply and demand has been achieved.
Conares CEO hinted that the duty can be hiked up to 15 percent in order to safeguard the domestic steel industry.
Bhatia was speaking during an agreement signing ceremony with Etihad Credit Insurance. Under the agreement, ECI will provide insurance coverage to Dubai-based steel manufacturer’s exports and help tap new markets.
Conares’ major markets are US, Canada, Australia, Europe and Singapore. It is looking at tapping some more markets in Africa.
Massimo Falcioni, CEO of Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI), said the government agency sees need for growth of UAE manufacturers because markets are very competitive locally and globally.
“Even steel industry is very competitive. The market grew 5 to 15 percent in the last 5-6 years not only because of support provided by Conares but also because of foreign demand of steel and its elements manufactured in the UAE. So we want to support Conares’ future expansion,” Falcioni added.
Accountants, AI developers top roles in UAE
Accountants, risk managers, and artificial intelligence (AI) experts are among the most sought after roles in the UAE in 2020, new research by Robert Half has shown.
As businesses prepare for the impact that a resurgent UAE economy will have on the war for talent, Robert Half has shared a list of the UAE’s top 10 in-demand roles for the first half of 2020, and the trends expected to influence the jobs market. According to Robert Half UAE’s 2020 Salary Guide, management accountants take up the top spot, followed by chief financial officers (CFOs), and risk managers.
The findings showed that demand for accounting professionals is growing in the UAE, as start-ups and large multinational companies seek professionals with accountancy experience to establish and develop their financial processes. With a talent deficit threatening hiring strategy across the finance and accounting sector, organisations are looking for CFOs to lead from the top and deliver business targets, with a focus on market regulation and increased return on investment. One of the most in-demand professions is risk managers, as awareness of the dangers posed by new technologies and processes becomes a priority.
Heads of digital transformation took the next spot on the list, followed by AI developers. HR business partners, talent acquisition specialists, legal counsel, legal assistants, and security analysts respectively rounded up the remaining five spots in the top 10 list.
“With economic growth in the UAE set to accelerate this year, it is unsurprising to see faster evolution of the workplace. As companies adjust to the challenges and opportunities presented to their business, the need not only for top talent, but a meaningful ‘business fit’ for candidates, intensifies,” said Gareth El Mettouri, associate director of Robert Half UAE. “Employers are seeking candidates with specialist skills, industry experience, and systems knowledge. The most in-demand of these being mid-level, specialised roles such as security analysts and AI developers.”
Adnoc and Eni sign strategic framework contract
The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) has signed a strategic framework agreement with Italy’s energy company, Eni, to explore new opportunities for collaboration in carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS), and additional strategic opportunities in research and development (R&D) across the oil and gas value chain.
The agreement brings together two leading energy producers and harnesses their world-class talent and technologies to unlock value in areas of strategic importance to both companies while reinforcing their existing partnerships across the oil and gas value chain. It also builds on Adnoc’s recently announced sustainability goals, particularly its commitment to decrease its greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity by 25 percent by 2030, enabled by its industry-leading CCUS program.
The framework agreement was signed by Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Adnoc group CEO, and Claudio Descalzi, CEO of Eni.
Dr. Al Jaber said: “We are pleased to sign this strategic framework agreement with Eni that builds on our successful partnerships across the oil and gas value chain. Importantly, the agreement underscores Adnoc’s targeted approach to value-add partnerships that is enabling us to unlock and maximize value from Abu Dhabi’s substantial hydrocarbon resources as we deliver our 2030 smart growth strategy. We look forward to swiftly developing this framework agreement to another new mutually beneficial partnership with Eni as the agreement offers significant potential for exciting and sustainable growth opportunities.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Adnoc and Eni will jointly explore opportunities for collaboration in relation to innovative geomechanical and geochemical workflows for CCUS programs as well as in advanced analysis and modeling of thermally induced fractures in oil and gas reservoirs. Geomechanics refers to the study of how subsurface rocks deform or fail in response to changes in stress, pressure, and temperature, while geochemistry relates to the study of the chemical composition of the earth’s crust. Both geomechanics and geochemistry relate to the development of CCUS programs.
In UAE emirates NBD marks sustainability milestone
Emirates NBD has announced that three of its branches in the UAE have been awarded LEED Gold certification, making it the first bank in the Mena region to launch LEED Gold-certified branches.
Emirates NBD’s branches in Arabian Centre, Umm Suqeim, and the Burj Khalifa branch have secured the prestigious LEED Gold certification, marking a significant milestone in the bank’s sustainability journey.
Commenting on the announcement, Ahmed AlSheryani, executive vice president, head of Procurement & Realty Services, Emirates NBD, said: “We are pleased to receive LEED Gold certification for three Emirates NBD branches in Dubai, an achievement that further aligns our ongoing sustainability efforts with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), UAE Vision 2030, and the Dubai Declaration for Sustainable Finance. Emirates NBD remains committed to operating in a sustainable manner in complete alignment with international guidelines, industry best practice and the national vision.”
The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system, developed by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), is the foremost program for buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human health performance.
“LEED is a transformative tool that ensures a building is designed and operating to achieve high performance in key areas of human and environmental health while enhancing the triple bottom line – people, planet and profit,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC. “By prioritising sustainability, Emirates NBD is leading the way in its industry and helping USGBC continue toward our vision of a sustainable built environment within a generation.”