The Briefing

Weekly business & investment updates curated for you.

Erbil Rotana

Bahrain — Bahrain's government cancelled a $750 million bond sale after Standard & Poor's downgraded its rating of the kingdom's debt to junk status, underlining the financial pressures on Gulf states in an era of cheap oil prices.

Brazil — Royal Dutch Shell , Europe's largest oil company, expects to make robust investments in Brazil's offshore resources, hoping to quadruple oil and gas output there by the end of the decade.

China — China's January trade performance was worse than expected as tepid demand persisted both at home and abroad, raising expectations of further government measures to arrest the slowdown and to quell market jitters. January exports fell 11.2 percent from a year earlier - the seventh straight month of decline, while imports tumbled 18.8 percent - the 15th month of decline, both far worse than expected.

China — China attracted 88.25 billion yuan ($13.42 billion) in foreign direct investment in January, up 3.2% from a year earlier, the commerce ministry announced. The country's FDI in the services sector rose 5.7% from a year earlier to 59.6 billion yuan.

China — Volkswagen will invest $4.5 billion in China this year, as spending plans for new SUVs and plug-in models are spared from cuts the carmaker makes elsewhere in the wake of its emissions scandal.

China — China's state planner approved 21 fixed-asset investment projects totaling $8.29 billion in January, a spokesman for the organization said at a press briefing in Beijing.

Dubai — Aviation, logistics, Islamic finance, energy, hospitality, retail and real estate are key sectors in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) that offer opportunities for GCC investment.

Egypt — The Electricity and Renewable Energy Ministry released a statement stating that energy subsidies will be reduced by 50% by 2020, and are expected to be pulled by 2025.

Ethiopia — U.S. investments in Ethiopia climbed to $4 billion last year helped by several companies taking advantage of the renewed Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to venture into the East African nation.

India — Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal said he expects nearly $1 trillion investment in the power sector, which includes coal renewables, by 2030. During the last five years, production of coal has increased from 566 MT in 2013-14 to 612 MT in 2014-15 and grown at compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) 8.25% from 1.7%.

India & US— Over 50 American firms are expected to invest $27 billion in India by 2017 as against $15 billion invested since May 2014.

Iran — Iran has invited India to invest in infrastructure projects worth $8 billion following the lifting of the sanctions imposed by the West and offered the country a stake in expansion of the second phase of Tehran's Imam Khomeini international airport.

Israel — Israel's 'high-tech revolution' is in trouble as R&D investment flat-line and a shortage of high-skilled workers grows, according to a report released by Finance Ministry.

Kazakhstan — Kazakhstan is trying to diversify its economy and attract foreign direct investment to boost growth as low oil price hurts its economy.

Malaysia — Malaysia's economy grew 4.5% in the final quarter (Q4) of 2015, bringing the full year gross domestic product (GDP) growth to 5% as against 6% in 2014.

Mexico — Mexico will see $20 billion in investment in renewable energy projects from the private sector. The investment will be focused on wind farms.

Mongolia — Mongolia’s gross domestic product slowed in 2015 to the weakest pace since 2009, as foreign investment dried up amid protracted disputes with investors, dragging down an economy already battered by weak commodities prices.

Nigeria — Nigeria is in talks with oil majors and banks to raise capital for new drilling and to repay up to $4 billion in debt that the state oil firm has accumulated over years of mismanagement. The country aims to increase output to up to 2.5 million barrels per day by the end of 2016. Currently, the OPEC member pumps 2.3 million bpd.

Norway — Statoil announced the launch of a new $200 million investment fund to help drive a strong renewable energy growth strategy. The transition to a low carbon society creates business opportunities, and Statoil aims to drive profitable growth within this space, Irene Rummelhoff, Statoil's vice president in charge of new energy solutions, said in a statement.

Oman — BP and Oman Oil agreed to expand an exploration and production sharing agreement of the Khazzan natural gas field to include a second development phase, at an estimated cost of $16 billion for the entire project.

Oman — Muriya Tourism Development Company, the Sultanate’s leading integrated tourism project developer, plans to invest $500 million for completing high-end hotels and other facilities in its two major destinations — Salalah and Jebel Sifah.

Peru — Enel SpA’s renewable-energy unit will invest about $400 million in building 326 megawatts of new capacity in Peru after Italy’s largest utility won a tender issued by the Peruvian government.

Qatar — The US is very enthusiastic about Qatar's proposed $35 billion investment plan in the world's largest economy and it is expecting even more than the amount committed by Qatar.

Thailand — Thailand's economy is expected to maintain growth momentum this year, with economists projecting a wide range of growth in gross domestic product. The National Economic and Social Development Board today unveiled the 2016 projection at the range of 2.8-3.8 per cent, or the average of 3.3 per cent. This is lowered from the previous projection of 3-4 per cent.

Turkey — The first steps have been taken to establish an investment fund that will develop financing for Turkish small and medium scaled enterprises’ (SMEs) innovative initiatives, during a joint meeting with the World Bank in Ankara.

UAE — UAE ranked first among Arab countries in the global investment index for 2015, according to the Economy Ministry report. The UAE's non-oil foreign trade reached $476.4 billion in 2015, a growth of up to 10 per cent from 2014.

UAE — The United Arab Emirates central bank’s foreign assets fell by $12 billion in January from the previous month as the Arab world’s second-biggest economy grapples with falling oil prices and bets against its currency.

The Briefing

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