January: Key Highlights Of The GCC Economy (Part 2)

Posted on 17 January 2023

Welcome to the second part, covering key highlights in the GCC economy that you may have missed out on.


The latest CBRE report confirmed that Dubai's property market had a record year in 2022 with total transactions of 90.9k, easily surpassing the 2008 record of 81.2k. Over the year, average property prices increased by 9.5%, with apartments up 9.0% and villas 12.8% higher, as sales prices ended the year at US$ 318 per sq ft and US$ 377 per sq ft.


Dubai's hospitality sector continued to improve and ended the year on a high, with most indicators heading north in December; revenue per available room and average daily rate jumped to US$ 186 and US$ 243, 31.1% and 33.8% higher compared to pre-Covid December 2019. STR noted that "overall, tourism demand has been returning to Dubai throughout 2022.


New guidelines relating to Emirates' Skywards Miles loyalty program will see passengers having to pay more for upgrades to Business and First-Class travel. But at the same time, offering increased bonus miles for all of its Platinum, Gold, and Silver members. The transition will be completed by the end of this month. Under the change, it appears that Skywards Platinum members will earn a further 100% of the Economy Flex+ Miles – increasing from 75%, while Gold and Silver members will earn 75% and 30% – up from the previous 50% and 25%, respectively.


The total foreign assets held by the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) increased monthly by 0.41% to US$ 118.8 billion at the end of last October, mainly attributable to the monthly increase in bank balances and bank deposits abroad by 2.2%, to reach US$ 67.1 billion. This week, Goldman Sachs Group started cutting the first of a reported 3.2k positions from its 49.1k workforce (6.5%), across the firm, as in line with its peers, it is set for a challenging 2023 economic environment.

Financial Markets

Taaleem Holdings posted a 14.3% hike in its Q4 (ending 30 November), profits to US$ 14 million, driven by higher enrolments, leading to higher revenue. The Dubai school operator, the first education company to be listed on the DFM, saw quarterly revenue rise 32.4% to US$ 63 million. Taaleem, formerly known as Beacon Education, was founded in Dubai in 2004 and operated twenty-six schools in the UAE, with 28.2k pupils enrolled.

Freezone Activity

The DMCC confirmed that, by the end of 2022, it attracted over 3k new member company registrations – a year-on-year increase of 22.7%. The record growth was attributable to several factors, including the growing demand for commodities, global trade, blockchain/web3 businesses, and rising international interest. To support its claims to be the world's most extensive and best free zone, DMCC was named Global Free Zone of the Year by the Financial Times fDi Magazine for the eighth consecutive year.

Get back next week for more updates from the GCC financial markets.


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