Investment Corporation of Dubai, which has stakes in companies including Emirates NBD and Emirates, reported 12.4 per year-on-year rise in 2017 profit. Pawan Singh / The National
Investment Corporation of Dubai, which has stakes in companies including Emirates NBD and Emirates, reported 12.4 per year-on-year rise in 2017 profit. Pawan Singh / The National

UAE, Saudi non-oil conditions improve in May, says Emirates NBD



The UAE and Saudi Arabia experienced a resurgence in non-oil business conditions in May, according to the latest Emirates NBD surveys, a turnaround from dips earlier this year and, for Saudi Arabia, an all-time low recorded in April.

The headline seasonally adjusted Emirates NBD UAE Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) – a composite indicator designed to give an accurate overview of operating conditions in the non-oil private sector economy – rose to 56.5 in May, from 55.1 in April. The figure was indicative of a “sharp improvement” in UAE business conditions, above the long-run average, Dubai's biggest bank said.

“The strong PMI reading in May was partly due to a rebound in export orders - reflecting improved external demand conditions - as well as significant price discounting domestically,” said Khatija Haque, head of Mena research at Emirates NBD.

The UAE PMI has been rising steadily since March, when it hit a 10-month low, declining to 54.8 from 55.1 in February. The May reading was the highest in four months.

GCC economic growth is expected to pick up in 2018 and 2019, after bottoming out last year, as the price of oil rebounds and non-oil business activity recovers, according to the International Monetary Fund’s regional outlook published in April. Average GDP growth for the region is expected to rise to 1.9 per cent in 2018 and 2.6 per cent in 2019 after contracting 0.2 per cent in 2017, the fund said.

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In the UAE, the improved PMI reading was driven by new export business reaching a 30-month high alongside reports of stronger demand from neighbouring GCC countries, Emirates NBD said. Firms surveyed by the bank also reported the highest level of confidence in the market this year since the index began in 2012 – the result of more robust market conditions, new project wins and strong growth impetus linked to Expo 2020 Dubai, according to the bank.

Reflecting this renewed confidence, firms hired additional staff at the fastest pace in four months, however, the rate of growth was only slight overall, remaining below the long-run average due to ongoing cost optimisation.

Firms also reported a reduced level of input cost inflation in May, although profit margins remained under pressure, the bank said.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia saw its strongest expansion in three months, rising to 53.2 in May from a record low of 51.4 in April, Emirates NBD said on Tuesday.

Ms Khatija said the Saudi index is “still low by historical standards” and reflects a slower rate of growth in the non-oil private sector than last year.

“The survey data suggests that government spending and higher oil prices year-to-date are not boosting economic activity as much as they have in the past, although firms remained highly optimistic about their future prospects,” she said.

Output growth at non-oil private sector companies accelerated in May, according to the survey, and the pace of expansion overall was robust, with many firms reporting an uptick in business activity and new work.

“Following the first recorded contraction in stocks of purchases in April, May data signalled a return to growth…albeit small,” Emirates NBD said.

Input price inflation eased during the month, but output charges rose for the first time since January, ending a three-month phase of price discounting. Meanwhile, inflows of new orders from abroad deteriorated for the fourth month in a row, while job creation fell to its lowest level in six months and below the historical trend.

That said, companies do not appear to be shedding staff, Emirates NBD said. The majority of respondents reported no change in payroll numbers in May, and overall sentiment expressed by non-oil private sector firms was positive with regard to future growth.

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

Essentials

The flights
Emirates flies direct from Dubai to Seattle from Dh6,755 return in economy and Dh24,775 in business class.
The cruise
UnCruise Adventures offers a variety of small-ship cruises in Alaska and around the world. A 14-day Alaska’s Inside Passage and San Juans Cruise from Seattle to Juneau or reverse costs from $4,695 (Dh17,246), including accommodation, food and most activities. Trips in 2019 start in April and run until September. 
 

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

SPECS

Engine: Two-litre four-cylinder turbo
Power: 235hp
Torque: 350Nm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Price: From Dh167,500 ($45,000)
On sale: Now

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

States of Passion by Nihad Sirees,
Pushkin Press

The rules of the road keeping cyclists safe

Cyclists must wear a helmet, arm and knee pads

Have a white front-light and a back red-light on their bike

They must place a number plate with reflective light to the back of the bike to alert road-users

Avoid carrying weights that could cause the bike to lose balance

They must cycle on designated lanes and areas and ride safe on pavements to avoid bumping into pedestrians

How to join and use Abu Dhabi’s public libraries

• There are six libraries in Abu Dhabi emirate run by the Department of Culture and Tourism, including one in Al Ain and Al Dhafra.

• Libraries are free to visit and visitors can consult books, use online resources and study there. Most are open from 8am to 8pm on weekdays, closed on Fridays and have variable hours on Saturdays, except for Qasr Al Watan which is open from 10am to 8pm every day.

• In order to borrow books, visitors must join the service by providing a passport photograph, Emirates ID and a refundable deposit of Dh400. Members can borrow five books for three weeks, all of which are renewable up to two times online.

• If users do not wish to pay the fee, they can still use the library’s electronic resources for free by simply registering on the website. Once registered, a username and password is provided, allowing remote access.

• For more information visit the library network's website.

Tips from the expert

Dobromir Radichkov, chief data officer at dubizzle and Bayut, offers a few tips for UAE residents looking to earn some cash from pre-loved items.

  1. Sellers should focus on providing high-quality used goods at attractive prices to buyers.
  2. It’s important to use clear and appealing photos, with catchy titles and detailed descriptions to capture the attention of prospective buyers.
  3. Try to advertise a realistic price to attract buyers looking for good deals, especially in the current environment where consumers are significantly more price-sensitive.
  4. Be creative and look around your home for valuable items that you no longer need but might be useful to others.
Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

Despacito's dominance in numbers

Released: 2017

Peak chart position: No.1 in more than 47 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Lebanon

Views: 5.3 billion on YouTube

Sales: With 10 million downloads in the US, Despacito became the first Latin single to receive Diamond sales certification

Streams: 1.3 billion combined audio and video by the end of 2017, making it the biggest digital hit of the year.

Awards: 17, including Record of the Year at last year’s prestigious Latin Grammy Awards, as well as five Billboard Music Awards

Company profile

Company: Verity

Date started: May 2021

Founders: Kamal Al-Samarrai, Dina Shoman and Omar Al Sharif

Based: Dubai

Sector: FinTech

Size: four team members

Stage: Intially bootstrapped but recently closed its first pre-seed round of $800,000

Investors: Wamda, VentureSouq, Beyond Capital and regional angel investors

Crazy Rich Asians

Director: Jon M Chu

Starring: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeon, Gemma Chan

Four stars

The biog

From: Upper Egypt

Age: 78

Family: a daughter in Egypt; a son in Dubai and his wife, Nabila

Favourite Abu Dhabi activity: walking near to Emirates Palace

Favourite building in Abu Dhabi: Emirates Palace

Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance: the specs

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 plus rear-mounted electric motor

Power: 843hp at N/A rpm

Torque: 1470Nm N/A rpm

Transmission: 9-speed auto

Fuel consumption: 8.6L/100km

On sale: October to December

Price: From Dh875,000+(estimate)

The biog

Favourite book: Animal Farm by George Orwell

Favourite music: Classical

Hobbies: Reading and writing

 

Neymar's bio

Total club appearances 411

Total goals scored 241

Appearances for Barca 186

Goals scored for Barca 105

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo

Power: 268hp at 5,600rpm

Torque: 380Nm at 4,800rpm

Transmission: CVT auto

Fuel consumption: 9.5L/100km

On sale: now

Price: from Dh195,000

SPEC SHEET: SAMSUNG GALAXY Z FOLD 4

Main display: 7.6" QXGA+ Dynamic Amoled 2X, 2176 x 1812, 21.6:18, 374ppi, HDR10+, up to 120Hz

Cover display: 6.2" HD+ Dynamic Amoled 2X, 2316 x 904, 23.1:9, 402ppi, up to 120Hz

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, 4nm, octa-core; Adreno 730 GPU

Memory: 12GB

Capacity: 256/512GB / 1TB

Platform: Android 12, One UI 4.1.1

Main camera: Triple 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.2) + 50MP wide (f/1.8) + 10MP telephoto (f/2.4), dual OIS, 3x optical zoom, 30x Space Zoom, portrait, super slo-mo

Video: 8K@24fps, 4K@30/60fps, full-HD@30/60fps, HD@30fps; slo-mo@60/240/960fps; HDR10+

Cover camera: 10MP (f/2.2)

Inner front camera: Under-display 4MP (f/1.8)

Battery: 4400mAh, 25W fast charging, 15W wireless charging, reverse wireless charging, 'all-day' life

Connectivity: 5G; Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC (Samsung Pay)

I/O: USB-C

Cards: Nano-SIM + eSIM; 2 nano-SIMs + eSIM; 2 nano-SIMs

Colours: Graygreen, phantom black, beige, burgundy (online exclusive)

In the box: Fold 4, USB-C-to-USB-C cable

Price: Dh6,799 / Dh7,249 / Dh8,149

Health Valley

Founded in 2002 and set up as a foundation in 2006, Health Valley has been an innovation in healthcare for more than 10 years in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
It serves as a place where companies, businesses, universities, healthcare providers and government agencies can collaborate, offering a platform where they can connect and work together on healthcare innovation.
Its partners work on technological innovation, new forms of diagnostics and other methods to make a difference in healthcare.
Its agency consists of eight people, four innovation managers and office managers, two communication advisers and one director. It gives innovation support to businesses and other parties in its network like a broker, connecting people with the right organisation to help them further

The biog

Most memorable achievement: Leading my first city-wide charity campaign in Toronto holds a special place in my heart. It was for Amnesty International’s Stop Violence Against Women program and showed me the power of how communities can come together in the smallest ways to have such wide impact.

Favourite film: Childhood favourite would be Disney’s Jungle Book and classic favourite Gone With The Wind.

Favourite book: To Kill A Mockingbird for a timeless story on justice and courage and Harry Potters for my love of all things magical.

Favourite quote: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill

Favourite food: Dim sum

Favourite place to travel to: Anywhere with natural beauty, wildlife and awe-inspiring sunsets.

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

ANDROID VERSION NAMES, IN ORDER

Android Alpha

Android Beta

Android Cupcake

Android Donut

Android Eclair

Android Froyo

Android Gingerbread

Android Honeycomb

Android Ice Cream Sandwich

Android Jelly Bean

Android KitKat

Android Lollipop

Android Marshmallow

Android Nougat

Android Oreo

Android Pie

Android 10 (Quince Tart*)

Android 11 (Red Velvet Cake*)

Android 12 (Snow Cone*)

Android 13 (Tiramisu*)

Android 14 (Upside Down Cake*)

Android 15 (Vanilla Ice Cream*)

* internal codenames

Meatless Days
Sara Suleri, with an introduction by Kamila Shamsie
​​​​​​​Penguin 

How it works

Each player begins with one of the great empires of history, from Julius Caesar's Rome to Ramses of Egypt, spread over Europe and the Middle East.

Round by round, the player expands their empire. The more land they have, the more money they can take from their coffers for each go.

As unruled land and soldiers are acquired, players must feed them. When a player comes up against land held by another army, they can choose to battle for supremacy.

A dice-based battle system is used and players can get the edge on their enemy with by deploying a renowned hero on the battlefield.

Players that lose battles and land will find their coffers dwindle and troops go hungry. The end goal? Global domination of course.

Women & Power: A Manifesto

Mary Beard

Profile Books and London Review of Books 

The five types of long-term residential visas

Obed Suhail of ServiceMarket, an online home services marketplace, outlines the five types of long-term residential visas:

Investors:

A 10-year residency visa can be obtained by investors who invest Dh10 million, out of which 60 per cent should not be in real estate. It can be a public investment through a deposit or in a business. Those who invest Dh5 million or more in property are eligible for a five-year residency visa. The invested amount should be completely owned by the investors, not loaned, and retained for at least three years.

Entrepreneurs:

A five-year multiple entry visa is available to entrepreneurs with a previous project worth Dh0.5m or those with the approval of an accredited business incubator in the UAE.  

Specialists

Expats with specialised talents, including doctors, specialists, scientists, inventors, and creative individuals working in the field of culture and art are eligible for a 10-year visa, given that they have a valid employment contract in one of these fields in the country.

Outstanding students:

A five-year visa will be granted to outstanding students who have a grade of 95 per cent or higher in a secondary school, or those who graduate with a GPA of 3.75 from a university. 

Retirees:

Expats who are at least 55 years old can obtain a five-year retirement visa if they invest Dh2m in property, have savings of Dh1m or more, or have a monthly income of at least Dh20,000.


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