Top 10 Countries Where People Are Kindest To Strangers


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Source: CAF World Giving Index 2016

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Gulf Stock Markets Enter Bull Market


Gulf Stock Markets Enter Bull Market

  • Doha’s benchmark gauge advances more than 20% since Jan. 18 2016;
  • Saudi shares up 17% from low;
  • Trading in Kuwait rises;
  • Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index entered a so-called bull market on Mar. 06 2016 and Dubai’s DFM General Index reached the milestone in February;
  • Bloomberg’s GCC 200 Index, a gauge of the biggest and most liquid companies in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), went above its 100-day moving average in early March 2016 for the first time since July 2015.

 

 

 

Saudi Arabia is burning through its foreign reserves at a record rate as the kingdom seeks to maintain spending plans despite lower oil prices


  • The latest data from the IMF show Saudi Arabia’s foreign reserves dropped by $16bn to $708bn in March 2015.
  • This has mainly been driven by public sector bonuses paid by King Salman after he came to power in January 2015.
  • This latest spend follows a fall of $20bn in February 2015.
  • Saudi Arabia has spent $47bn of foreign reserves since October 2014.

Saudi Arabia is burning through its foreign reserves

Source: FT.com

Oman’s real economic growth projected at 3.2 per cent


Oman’s real gross domestic product (GDP) growth is projected at 3.2 per cent and 3.4 per cent in 2015 and 2016, respectively, by global rating agency Standard & Poor’s.

This is against the agency’s GDP growth projection of 2.5 per cent in both years for Saudi Arabia, 4 per cent and 4.5 per cent for Qatar, 1 per cent and 2.3 per cent for Kuwait and 1 per cent and 2 per cent in 2015 and 2016 for Abu Dhabi, respectively.

The Sultanate’s nominal GDP is projected at $75 billion and $82 billion in 2015 and 2016, respectively, while real per capita GDP is estimated at $18,231 and $19,124 for these two years, respectively.

Read More . . . 

Source: Times of Oman, 25th Feb 2015

 

 

 

Oman Ranks as the 56th Highest Human Development Nation


According to the 2014 United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) Human Development Index (HDI) report, Oman has been ranked 56th out of 169 countries, putting it in the category of a high human development nation. In the report, the HDI is explained as a “composite index measuring average achievement in three basic dimensions of human development — a long and healthy life, knowledge and a decent standard of living.”
“Oman spends lot of money on health and education and these services are provided for free,” says Shamsa al Harthy, Director of Associations and Community Clubs at the Ministry of Social Development. She explains that this is one of the biggest factors which has contributed towards Oman’s good ranking in the international index.
“Education is not compulsory by law but people still choose to put their children in schools voluntarily. The government is trying to close the gender gap in education by encouraging both boys and girls to enroll in school from class 1 to 12,” she says.
Ahmed al Mukhaini, an independent researcher and public policy analyst, who has done a lot of work regarding Oman’s educational system, thinks that while Oman has fared well in the index, it can do better in the future.
“In terms of general education, Oman has done very well and it is doing very well,” he says. “But in terms of tertiary education, Oman has some challenges and the main one is qualitative education as was recognised by the World Bank and the Ministry of Education in a 2012 study.”

Source: Oman Daily Observer – read more

Oman’s Budget Expenditure for 2015 at an All-Time High


On 1 January 2015, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos issued a Royal Decree 1/2015 approving the State General Budget for the fiscal year 2014 with approved spending of RO14.1 billion (approx. US$36.6 billion). This amount is an increase of 4.5% over 2014 and represents the largest-ever budgeted expenditure. In addition, the Government assured continued support for completion of announced major projects. The Government also plans to privatize state-owned companies over the next three years (2015-17). It will also reduce expenditures on participation and subsidies by 19% as compared to 2014.

Source: Ernst & Young

 

 

 

Oman’s Stock Exchange Falls Most in Five Years because of Oil Prices


Muscat: Muscat Securities Market (MSM) witnessed the biggest fall in share index among Gulf bourses, when the general index fell sharply by 6.21 per cent or 430.89 points to close at 6,505.99.

Oman crude oil prices touching a five-year low at $69 per barrel is cited as the major reason for the severe fall, although the recent rise in natural gas prices also affected the market sentiment. Opec on Thursday maintained its output ceiling unchanged despite sliding crude prices.

Local bourse witnessed one of the biggest falls in a single session in more than three years amid weak investor sentiment.  Read more . . .

Source: Times of Oman

 

 

 

Oman is one of 39 countries spared the impact of terrorism


Muscat: Oman’s focus on security, nonviolence and peaceful coexistence is the reason it is one of 39 countries spared the impact of terrorism, experts believe.

According to the second edition of the Global Terrorism Index (GTI), Oman and Qatar are the only two countries in the region where terrorism has had no impact.

The report by GTI comes at a time when terrorism has grown significantly in intensity and reached countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria.

First launched by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) in 2012, GTI ranks countries by the impact of terrorist activities as well as by analysing the economic and social dimensions associated with terrorism.

The index profiles 162 countries, covering 99.6 per cent of the world’s population, and examines trends from 2000 to 2013. The indicators used include the number of terrorist strikes, fatalities, injuries and property damage.

Read More . . .

Source: Times of Oman

Oman’s Foreign Assets at an All-Time High


 

Foreign exchange reserves held by Oman reached an all-time high of RO 7,166.30 million in May this year. Later in the year, the reserves decreased to RO 6,705.60 million in July, 2014 from RO 7,109.50 million in June, 2014. The reserves averaged RO 3,633.02 million from 2002 until 2014. Read more . . .

Source: Oman Daily Observer

 

 

 

Oman Ranks as the 40th most ready ICT country in the World. Finland #1, Singapore #2, Sweden #3


 

  • According to the Global Information Technology Report 2014 issued by the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Sultanate of Oman stood 5th among the Arab countries on the Network Readiness Index (NRI), which measures the readiness of the information technology of the countries that use ICT as a mean for enhancing economic growth and social welfare.
  • The Sultanate of Oman won 4.56 points and came 40th on the global ranking, thus maintaining the same ranking in 2013.
  • The index included 148 countries with Finland on the top, followed by Singapore, Sweden, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and USA.
  • Chad, Burundi and Myanmar got the lowest ranking.

Source: Global Information Technology Report 2014 issued by the World Economic Forum in Davos

 

Oman’s Population passes 4 million for the first time


 

  • According to The National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), OMAN, The population of Oman exceeded the 4 million mark on April 1, 2014.
  • As of April 2, the total population of Oman has reached 4,000,345.
  • Omanis constitute 55.8 per cent of the population with 2,232,949 Omanis.
  • Expatriates comprise 44.2 per cent of the total population with 1,767,396 expatriates in the Sultanate.
  • Muscat has highest number of expats at 62%.

Oman-Population-Graph-23-04-14

Source: National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), OMAN

 

World-class Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Processing Plant to be Established in Oman


MUSCAT — Oman Gas Company (OGC), the Sultanate’s gas transportation utility, yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for setting up a world-class Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) processing plant at Salalah Free Zone (SFZ), as well as for establishing related storage and export facilities at the Port of Salalah. The state-of-the-art plant, which is proposed to be designed and built in compliance with strict HSE principles, will allow for the very high recovery of propane, butane and condensates from natural gas flowing through OGC’s southern gas grid. Around 1,000 people will be engaged in the construction of the complex which, when operational, will provide employment to some 170 highly skilled technical staff. Read More…

Source: Oman Daily Observer

Oman’s Exports to India at $2.5bn


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Oman’s export to India which had been showing signs of faltering after attaining a peak of over $4,000 million in 2010-11 has again taken an upward trajectory, thanks to the Sultanate’s resolute bid to have export as a key factor to secure a robust growth to its economy. India’s latest export-import data from its union Ministry of the Commerce and Industry shows that Oman’s net exports to India has been worth over $2,572.42 million during April-December of fiscal 2013-14 and has already surpassed its export worth $2,009.72 million during the fiscal 2012-13 by over $500 million. A rough arithmetical calculation based on Omani exports worth $2,572.42 million to India in barely nine months of fiscal 2013-14 would show that the Sultanate might already have bypassed its export benchmark worth $3,395 million of 2011-12, though still falling a trifle short of its 2010-11 peak of $4,000.07 million by around $500 million. Read more . . .

Source: Oman Daily Observer

 

 

 

Global Debt hits $100 Trillion


  • In its latest quarterly report, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), draws notice to the considerable amount of debt globally that has been continuously rising since records began.
  • According to the BIS, global debt has risen from under $40trn since 2001 to a massive $100trn towards the end of 2012. Here’s the chart:

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Source: FT.com

Gulf Nations are Top of the Frontier Markets


  • Gulf nations are topping the frontier market list in February, which is published by Bloomberg and evaluates 19 measures of the investing climate in young economies.
  • Qatar, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia top the frontier market list beating out other up and coming economies such as Croatia, Argentina, and Romania.
  • Whilst Brent crude continues to trade over $100 per barrel ( and for the third straight year), these producing nations are receiving huge oil revenues and use this income to diversify their economies.
  • Such Gulf nations like Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia could now be regarded as “emerging” market economies as opposed to “frontier” market economies.

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Oman Ranks as the 48th Freest Economy in the World


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  • According to The Index of Economic Freedom, which is an annual index and ranking made by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal since 1995 to measure the degree of economic freedom in the world’s nations, Oman’s fiscal freedom including investment and it’s score of 67.4 in the 2014 report makes it the 48th freest economy in the world.
  • “Overall economic freedom remains constrained by state involvement in the economy through public enterprises.” This statement is according to the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal.
  • Oman’s economy has been rated “moderately free” for the past 19 years.
  • Of the six-nation grouping in the index, only Saudi Arabia advanced by five notches to a global ranking of 77.
  • Kuwait sustained the biggest drop, by 10 notches to 76th, ahead only of Saudi Arabia within the GCC.
  • Like Oman, Qatar also experienced declines by three notches, mainly reflecting the steady involvement of the state in the economy.
  • Bahrain lost a single position due to questionable practices.
  • The 2014 report by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal, covering 178 countries, finds economic freedom advancing worldwide despite challenging economic and political environments.

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