UAE and Israeli companies sign deal to tackle COVID-19

Members of an Indian medical team arrive at Dubai International Airport last month. (AFP/File)
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Updated 26 June 2020

UAE and Israeli companies sign deal to tackle COVID-19

  • Two private companies in the UAE signed agreement with two companies in Israel
  • Agreement is to develop research and technology to combat COVID-19

DUBAI: Two private companies in the UAE have signed an agreement with two companies in Israel to develop research and technology to combat COVID-19.

The deal was made “in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the necessity of strengthening international cooperation and pursuing coordinated efforts in the fields of research, development, and technology in service of humanity,” the UAE state news agency WAM said.

“This scientific and medical agreement forms part of constructive cooperation aimed at addressing the COVID-19 pandemic to safeguard the health of the region’s peoples.”


Saudi Arabia looks to cut spending in bid to shrink deficit

Updated 01 October 2020

Saudi Arabia looks to cut spending in bid to shrink deficit

  • Saudi Arabia has issued about SR84 billion in sukuk in the year to date

LONDON: Saudi Arabia plans to reduce spending next year by about 7.5 percent to SR990 billion ($263.9 billion) as it seeks to reduce its deficit. This compares to spending of SR1.07 trillion this year, it said in a preliminary budget statement.

The Kingdom anticipates a budget deficit of about 12 percent this year falling to 5.1 percent next year.

Saudi Arabia released data on Wednesday showing that the economy contracted by about 7 percent in the second quarter as regional economies faced the twin blow of the coronavirus pandemic and continued oil price weakness.

The unemployment rate among Saudis increased to 15.4 percent in the second quarter compared with 11.8 percent in the first quarter of the year.

The challenging headwinds facing regional economies is expected to spur activity across debt markets as countries sell bonds to help fund spending.

Saudi Arabia has already issued about SR84 billion in sukuk in the year to date.

“Over the past three years, the government has developed (from scratch) a well-functioning and increasingly deeper domestic sukuk market that has allowed it to tap into growing domestic and international demand for Shariah-compliant fixed income assets,” Moody’s said in a statement on Wednesday. 

“This, in turn, has helped diversify its funding sources compared with what was available during the oil price shock of 2015-16 and ease liquidity pressures amid a more than doubling of government financing needs this year,” the ratings agency added.