GULF WEEKLY: Oil tanks, Iran deal reverberates, Riyadh Air is launched, UAE surplus at 11% of GDP

GULF COUNTRIES - Report 17 Mar 2023 by Justin Alexander

A skimmable summary overlaid with our analysis and links. Headlines:
* Oil dropped sharply to $72, the lowest since 2021, partly due to derivatives market factors.
* Gulf banks are insulated from the current crisis but Saudi and Qatar own 17% of Credit Suisse.
* Moody’s sees the Saudi-Iran rapprochement as a credit positive for the region.
* The Saudi finance minister suggested that investments in Iran could happen quickly.
* Iran’s SNCS head visited the UAE president, possibly preparing the way for a visit by Raisi.
* There were even hints of openness to a restoration of Bahrain-Iran diplomatic relations.
* The Saudi fiscal surplus from last year is likely to be allocated largely to SAMA reserves.
* Riyadh Air was established by PIF to facilitate its tourism strategy and it ordered 72 planes.
* The UAE’s preliminary fiscal outturn delivered a surplus of 11% of GDP on flat spending.
* Adnoc Gas ended its first week up 21%, and’s IPO was massively oversubscribed.
* The UAE withdrew its bid to host the 2026 IMF/World Bank meeting and backed Qatar’s bid.
* Oman’s debt was reduced further, to $45bn in January, and it posted another monthly fiscal surplus.
* Gulf states, particularly KSA and Qatar, improved their rankings in the Global Innovation Index.
* Databank updates: Saudi/Qatar inflation, Oman and UAE fiscal.

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