UAE bourses have climbed in recent weeks, in part because of speculation over MSCI's decision. Sammy Dallal / The National
UAE bourses have climbed in recent weeks, in part because of speculation over MSCI's decision. Sammy Dallal / The National

Country on tenterhooks over MSCI's market upgrade call



The nation's stock markets have already priced in an MSCI upgrade to "emerging markets" status for the UAE, even as analysts say the decision expected imminently is too close to call.

The US compiler of influential investment indexes will announce at 1am local time if the Emirates should have "emerging" rather than "frontier" market status. In its review last June, MSCI listed several improvements the UAE needed to make to merit the new classification. Analysts say minor changes have been made since then.

"All the reasons and excuses MSCI had for not upgrading the country are still there," said Zin Bekkali, the chief executive of Silk Invest, an emerging and frontier markets fund company based in London.

UAE bourses have climbed in recent weeks, in part because of speculation over MSCI's decision, with Dubai shares rising 16 per cent in value since the end of March and the Abu Dhabi measure adding 10 per cent over the same period.

One of the criteria MSCI identified was increased foreign ownership in listed companies. But last week, a senior Ministry of Economy official said there were no plans to raise the ownership limit. Foreign ownership is capped at 49 per cent of listed firms but some major companies, such as the leading telecommunications operator Etisalat, only allow UAE nationals to own their shares .

Just 3.3 per cent of UAE stocks are held by foreign investors, according to a research note from Al Ramz Securities last month.

MSCI also required local bourses to implement a new settlement system, called delivery-versus payment (DvP), in which payment is made the same day securities are delivered. The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange and Dubai Financial Market have said in recent months the necessary procedures were in place, but brokerages have struggled to implement the system successfully. Nasdaq Dubai postponed implementation until next month.

MSCI, which will announce its decision on whether to raise Qatar to emerging market status at the same as it reveals its UAE decision, establishes indexes that help guide the investment decisions of international fund managers.

Because emerging markets are considered better regulated and more liquid than frontier markets, they attract more outside investment.

Industry experts and analysts have estimated the UAE could attract anywhere from a few hundred million dollars to US$1.5 billion (Dh5.51bn) in fresh investment if the Emirates is awarded the upgrade. However, analysts said the effect would not be immediate because fund managers have up to a year to adjust their allocations.

"The impact is not going to be massive but it will certainly raise the standards" of local markets if they are upgraded, said Fathi ben Grira, the chief executive at Mena Corp brokerage, which estimates $1.5bn of new investment will come into the UAE if it becomes an emerging market.

Mr Bekkali agreed an upgrading would be positive but cautioned it would not be the silver bullet some retail investors were hoping for. "It would be good to engage with index providers to appeal to international investors, but that won't solve the deeper issue of illiquid markets," he said.

Given the lack of some major changes in categories cited as required by MSCI last year, several market-watchers said they were wary of the UAE's chances. "I won't be staying up for it, to be honest," said an executive at an international bank, who was sceptical of a positive result.

If the UAE gets the promotion, it will have a weighting of about 0.3 per cent on MSCI's emerging market index. That compares to 16.4 per cent for Brazil and 17.4 per cent for China.

Morocco and Egypt are the only markets in the Middle East classified as emerging, but their weighting on the MSCI's index is also less than 1 per cent.

Yesterday, the UAE markets lost some of their recent gains as Dubai fell to its lowest point in two weeks, down 1.7 per cent. Abu Dhabi's market closed down 0.7 per cent.

Types of policy

Term life insurance: this is the cheapest and most-popular form of life cover. You pay a regular monthly premium for a pre-agreed period, typically anything between five and 25 years, or possibly longer. If you die within that time, the policy will pay a cash lump sum, which is typically tax-free even outside the UAE. If you die after the policy ends, you do not get anything in return. There is no cash-in value at any time. Once you stop paying premiums, cover stops.

Whole-of-life insurance: as its name suggests, this type of life cover is designed to run for the rest of your life. You pay regular monthly premiums and in return, get a guaranteed cash lump sum whenever you die. As a result, premiums are typically much higher than one term life insurance, although they do not usually increase with age. In some cases, you have to keep up premiums for as long as you live, although there may be a cut-off period, say, at age 80 but it can go as high as 95. There are penalties if you don’t last the course and you may get a lot less than you paid in.

Critical illness cover: this pays a cash lump sum if you suffer from a serious illness such as cancer, heart disease or stroke. Some policies cover as many as 50 different illnesses, although cancer triggers by far the most claims. The payout is designed to cover major financial responsibilities such as a mortgage or children’s education fees if you fall ill and are unable to work. It is cost effective to combine it with life insurance, with the policy paying out once if you either die or suffer a serious illness.

Income protection: this pays a replacement income if you fall ill and are unable to continue working. On the best policies, this will continue either until you recover, or reach retirement age. Unlike critical illness cover, policies will typically pay out for stress and musculoskeletal problems such as back trouble.

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Company name: baraka
Started: July 2020
Founders: Feras Jalbout and Kunal Taneja
Based: Dubai and Bahrain
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $150,000
Current staff: 12
Stage: Pre-seed capital raising of $1 million
Investors: Class 5 Global, FJ Labs, IMO Ventures, The Community Fund, VentureSouq, Fox Ventures, Dr Abdulla Elyas (private investment)

SPEC SHEET

Processor: Apple M2, 8-core GPU, 10-core CPU, 16-core Neural Engine

Display: 13.3-inch Retina, 2560 x 1600, 227ppi, 500 nits, True Tone, wide colour

Memory: 8/16/24GB

Storage: 256/512GB / 1/2TB

I/O: Thunderbolt 3 (2), 3.5mm audio; Touch Bar with Touch ID

Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0

Battery: 58.2Wh lithium-polymer, up to 20 hours

Camera: 720p FaceTime HD

Video: Support for HDR with Dolby Vision, HDR10, ProRes

Audio: Stereo speakers with HDR, wide stereo, Spatial Audio support, Dolby support

In the box: MacBook Pro, 67W power adapter, USB-C cable

Price: From Dh5,499

Kill Bill Volume 1

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Uma Thurman, David Carradine and Michael Madsen
Rating: 4.5/5

The Two Popes

Director: Fernando Meirelles

Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Jonathan Pryce 

Four out of five stars

Mountain Boy

Director: Zainab Shaheen

Starring: Naser Al Messabi

Rating: 3/5

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Director: Colin Trevorrow

Stars: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt

Rating: 4/5

SPEC SHEET: APPLE M3 MACBOOK AIR (13")

Processor: Apple M3, 8-core CPU, up to 10-core CPU, 16-core Neural Engine

Display: 13.6-inch Liquid Retina, 2560 x 1664, 224ppi, 500 nits, True Tone, wide colour

Memory: 8/16/24GB

Storage: 256/512GB / 1/2TB

I/O: Thunderbolt 3/USB-4 (2), 3.5mm audio, Touch ID

Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3

Battery: 52.6Wh lithium-polymer, up to 18 hours, MagSafe charging

Camera: 1080p FaceTime HD

Video: Support for Apple ProRes, HDR with Dolby Vision, HDR10

Audio: 4-speaker system, wide stereo, support for Dolby Atmos, Spatial Audio and dynamic head tracking (with AirPods)

Colours: Midnight, silver, space grey, starlight

In the box: MacBook Air, 30W/35W dual-port/70w power adapter, USB-C-to-MagSafe cable, 2 Apple stickers

Price: From Dh4,599

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Clinicy
Started: 2017
Founders: Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman, Abdullah bin Sulaiman Alobaid and Saud bin Sulaiman Alobaid
Based: Riyadh
Number of staff: 25
Sector: HealthTech
Total funding raised: More than $10 million
Investors: Middle East Venture Partners, Gate Capital, Kafou Group and Fadeed Investment

Founders: Ines Mena, Claudia Ribas, Simona Agolini, Nourhan Hassan and Therese Hundt

Date started: January 2017, app launched November 2017

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: Private/Retail/Leisure

Number of Employees: 18 employees, including full-time and flexible workers

Funding stage and size: Seed round completed Q4 2019 - $1m raised

Funders: Oman Technology Fund, 500 Startups, Vision Ventures, Seedstars, Mindshift Capital, Delta Partners Ventures, with support from the OQAL Angel Investor Network and UAE Business Angels

Bridgerton season three - part one

Directors: Various

Starring: Nicola Coughlan, Luke Newton, Jonathan Bailey

Rating: 3/5

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THE BIO

Born: Mukalla, Yemen, 1979

Education: UAE University, Al Ain

Family: Married with two daughters: Asayel, 7, and Sara, 6

Favourite piece of music: Horse Dance by Naseer Shamma

Favourite book: Science and geology

Favourite place to travel to: Washington DC

Best advice you’ve ever been given: If you have a dream, you have to believe it, then you will see it.

The specs

Engine: 0.8-litre four cylinder

Power: 70bhp

Torque: 66Nm

Transmission: four-speed manual

Price: $1,075 new in 1967, now valued at $40,000

On sale: Models from 1966 to 1970

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo

Power: 247hp at 6,500rpm

Torque: 370Nm from 1,500-3,500rpm

Transmission: 10-speed auto

Fuel consumption: 7.8L/100km

Price: from Dh94,900

On sale: now

SPECS

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

WHAT MACRO FACTORS ARE IMPACTING META TECH MARKETS?

• Looming global slowdown and recession in key economies

• Russia-Ukraine war

• Interest rate hikes and the rising cost of debt servicing

• Oil price volatility

• Persisting inflationary pressures

• Exchange rate fluctuations

• Shortage of labour/skills

• A resurgence of Covid?

The specs: 2018 Opel Mokka X

Price, as tested: Dh84,000

Engine: 1.4L, four-cylinder turbo

Transmission: Six-speed auto

Power: 142hp at 4,900rpm

Torque: 200Nm at 1,850rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 6.5L / 100km

It

Director: Andres Muschietti

Starring: Bill Skarsgard, Jaeden Lieberher, Sophia Lillis, Chosen Jacobs, Jeremy Ray Taylor

Three stars

Get Out

Director: Jordan Peele

Stars: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford

Four stars

The specs

Engine: 4-cylinder 2.0L TSI
Transmission: Dual clutch 7-speed
Power: 320HP / 235kW
Torque: 400Nm
Price: from $49,709
On sale: now

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  • High fever
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  • Severe headache
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If symptoms occur, they usually last for two-seven days

Hot Seat

Director: James Cullen Bressack

Stars: Mel Gibson, Kevin Dillon, Shannen Doherty, Sam Asghari

Rating: 1/5

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

The specs: 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor

Price, base / as tested Dh220,000 / Dh320,000

Engine 3.5L V6

Transmission 10-speed automatic

Power 421hp @ 6,000rpm

Torque 678Nm @ 3,750rpm

Fuel economy, combined 14.1L / 100km

Company profile

Name:+Thndr

Started:+October 2020

Founders:+Ahmad Hammouda and Seif Amr

Based: Cairo, Egypt

Sector: FinTech

Initial investment: pre-seed of+$800,000

Funding stage: series A;+$20 million

Investors: Tiger Global, Beco Capital, Prosus Ventures, Y Combinator, Global Ventures, Abdul Latif Jameel, Endure Capital, 4DX Ventures, Plus VC, Rabacap and MSA Capital

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

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

MATCH INFO

Burnley 1 (Brady 89')

Manchester City 4 (Jesus 24', 50', Rodri 68', Mahrez 87')

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: BorrowMe (BorrowMe.com)

Date started: August 2021

Founder: Nour Sabri

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: E-commerce / Marketplace

Size: Two employees

Funding stage: Seed investment

Initial investment: $200,000

Investors: Amr Manaa (director, PwC Middle East)

Company profile

Name: Belong
Based: Dubai
Founders: Michael Askew and Matthew Gaziano
Sector: Technology
Total funding: $3.5 million from crowd funding and angel investors
Number of employees:
12

THE SPECS

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid LE

Engine: 1.8 litre combined with 16-volt electric motors

Transmission: Automatic with manual shifting mode

Power: 121hp

Torque: 142Nm

Price: Dh95,900

KEY HIGHLIGHTS

Healthcare spending to double to $2.2 trillion rupees

Launched a 641billion-rupee federal health scheme

Allotted 200 billion rupees for the recapitalisation of state-run banks

Around 1.75 trillion rupees allotted for privatisation and stake sales in state-owned assets

Janet Yellen's Firsts

  • In 2014, she became the first woman to lead the US Federal Reserve 
  • In 1999, she became the first female chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers 
The specs

Engine: 2.3-litre 4cyl turbo
Power: 299hp at 5,500rpm
Torque: 420Nm at 2,750rpm
Transmission: 10-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 12.4L/100km
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh157,395 (XLS); Dh199,395 (Limited)


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