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Haysam El Masri

Report sees silver lining for GCC economies

DUBAI, February 15, 2021

New opportunities thrown up the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic offers silver lining for the region as business rules are being rewritten with scaling up of technology to better serve customers, while regulators and policy makers draft new regulatory policies and reforms which will go a long way in increasing competitiveness, says a report.
 
Ento Capital, a DFSA regulated financial firm headquartered in DIFC, Dubai-UAE has released their “GCC Pre & Post COVID-19 Market Analysis Report for Q4 2020”. The report highlights the pre and post Covid-19 impact on GCC markets and the implications for economic development as well as the effects on economic disruption, its financial impact on firms and financial markets.
 
The report takes a deeper look at oil markets, tax reforms, privatisation and access to capital markets as well as the post Covid-19 opportunities in healthcare sector, pharmaceuticals, agriculture and food security, petrochemicals and financial technology, logistics supply chain, education.
 
Ento Capital Chief Executive Officer Haysam El Masri said: “Covid-19 has brought structural changes in the way we conduct business, while also impacting the social fabric. Certain sections of the economy have come under extreme stress because of these changes. Respective governments have announced sizeable fiscal and monetary packages to help the economies tide through these uncertain times. As such our report aims to help readers wade through this complex assessment of impact on the GCC economies and the business environment.” 
 
El Masri  added:, “We have published this report as we feel it is imperative that investors and readers learn about the impact of Covid-19 yet also understand the new opportunities that avail them specifically when it comes to new technologies, the healthcare sector and education. Our research aims to benefit institutional, family offices and investors in their search for the next great opportunity.”
On the reforms, the report highlights that GCC countries carried out so far 35 new reforms which include foreign ownership amendments, new bankruptcy laws and others making the region extremely competitive. GCC counties have also posted improved performances on the Ease of Doing Business Index. The report explains how the sectors like healthcare, pharmaceuticals, agriculture and food security, petrochemicals, FinTech, logistics and supply chain, education and credit offer rich opportunities especially in the context of post Covid world. 
 
El Masri states: “Preventive medicine, need for more hospital beds, mandatory insurance is set to drive the demand for investment in the healthcare facilities as well as telemedicine which have also gained traction. Complementary to that, the pharmaceutical sector is expected to double in size by 2028 due to urbanization, ageing population, and a rise in chronic lifestyle-related diseases. The pandemic has compelled the GCC markets to work on food security. GCC is making continuous efforts to support local producers help explore innovative farming methods given the natural resource constraints.” 
 
The report sheds light on the importance of privatisation which can help GCC governments off-load a huge chunk of capital expenditure utilizing Private Public Partnerships. 
 
El Masri continues: “These privatisation projects can unlock a sizeable amount of revenues from the sale of public assets and divert those funds towards value-additive sectors and can further bolster economic growth. This in turn provides local and international investors access to past growing GCC markets.” 
 
As for the banking sector the report explains that the region will witness consolidation as a viable solution to the credit risk as well as interest rate risk facing the banking sector today. This gives light to the importance of FinTech in driving innovation and efficiencies across multiple sectors in the GCC, in addition to the importance of logistics and supply chain with the proliferation of e-commerce in the region. Lastly, education sector offers immense opportunities with the structural shift to E-learning and increase in course offerings carried through the internet. 
 
In conclusion, the report states that while there have been extensive shifts in overall business and economic environment due to Covid-19, capital markets have bounced back relatively quickly, oil price volatility seems to be tapering off. The report sees increased IPOs in the region as well as strong deal making trends. The introduction of derivatives in KSA will also add a new dimension to the trading landscape. 
 
“While global governments around the world invested in finding a vaccine, this will help in making a V shaped recovery highly possible,” El Masri added. -TradeArabia News Service 
 



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