UAE to boost strategic stockpile, says vice president

Police car patrols Al Ras district, famous for its gold and spice markets, after a full lockdown, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, March 31, 2020. (REUTERS)
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Updated 06 April 2020

UAE to boost strategic stockpile, says vice president

  • Emirati central bank to guarantee liquidity in banking system, boosting its stimulus package to $70 bn

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates will reinforce its stockpile of strategic goods and will waive residency visa fines for the rest of the year in response to the coronavirus outbreak, its vice president said on Sunday.

Tweeting after a Cabinet meeting, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, who is also the UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai, said authorities had directed factories to support the health sector’s needs in the country, which has recorded 1,505 infections and 10 deaths.
Dubai imposed a two-week lockdown on Saturday night, tightening an overnight curfew that the whole of the UAE has been under for 10 days. Daily new cases have increased recently as testing has been stepped up.
The UAE central bank also announced new measures on Sunday to guarantee liquidity in the banking system, boosting its stimulus package to a total of $70 billion from a previously announced $27 billion.
Meanwhile in neighboring Kuwait, the governor of the central bank said the country’s banks can continue to distribute dividends for 2019 and it is early to ask them to suspend dividends for 2020.

FASTFACT

• Tweeting after a Cabinet meeting, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, who is also the UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai, said authorities had directed factories to support the health sector’s needs in the country, which has recorded 1,505 infections and 10 deaths.

• In neighboring Kuwait, the governor of the central bank said the country’s banks can continue to distribute dividends for 2019 and it is early to ask them to suspend dividends for 2020.

“The exchange rate system is excellent and there is no fear for the Kuwaiti dinar,” said Mohammad Al-Hashel, adding that banks’ average capital adequacy ratio was above 18 percent. The minimum ratio has been reduced to 10.5 percent, the governor said.
Last week, the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) announced a stimulus package to support vital sectors and small and medium enterprises amid the fallout from the coronavirus epidemic.
The measures will raise banks’ lending by 5 billion dinars ($16 billion), the Kuwait Banking Association said last week.
Hashel said banks had agreed to refrain from liquidating collateral assets like real estate or stocks, unless customers ask for it, “to avoid any serious decline in the markets.”
Banks should not be “very strict” in refraining from lending, he said.
He added monetary policy measures taken so far were adequate, but the central bank was ready to act again if necessary.


Bayut and Dubizzle merge to create a Dubai-based unicorn company

Updated 4 min 59 sec ago

Bayut and Dubizzle merge to create a Dubai-based unicorn company

  • The two owner companies will also run a $150 million investment round
  • EMGP will continue operating both Bayut and Dubizzle in the UAE

DUBAI: The owners of UAE technology firms Bayut and Dubizzle have announced a merger which will form a $1 billion Dubai-based unicorn company, state news agency WAM reported on Tuesday.
Emerging Markets Property Group, EMPG, and OLX Group will also run a $150 million investment round as part of the agreement to merge their MENA and South Asia operations.
Unicorn companies are privately held startups valued at over $1 billion.
The merger makes OLX, EMGS’s largest single holder with 39 percent of shares. EMGP will continue operating both Bayut and Dubizzle in the UAE, and the merger will bring OLX entities in Egypt, Lebanon, Pakistan and several GCC countries into the company’s reach.
“This merger of EMPG and OLX will allow us to better serve our customers, given that both operate brands with a strong following and will allow us to leverage existing tech and data to paint a more accurate picture of the state of affairs in the real estate industry across the region. At the same time, we will be making significant technology investments to provide more value to all users of property, automotive and other segments of the Dubizzle and OLX platform,” Head of EMGP MENA Haider Ali Khan said.
The cumulative value of properties sold in the UAE, Egypt, Lebanon and Pakistan through the websites is estimated at $8.984 billion, offering a possible commission pool of above $1.9 billion for real estate agents.
Meanwhile, Ali Maabereh, head of mergers and acquisition (M&A) at KMPG in Saudi Arabia said M&A activity will increase in GCC countries amid the coronavirus pandemic as SMEs and several large corporates will look for capital injections to satisfy working capital needs.
“The current pandemic is creating a lot of uncertainties and contradictions in what to expect after the dust settles. The expected key impacts on companies are shortages of liquidity and working capital requirements. Though companies might be running a healthy P&L, there will be significant pressure on working capital requirements,” he said.