Middle East-North Africa Top Business Stories – March 29, 2020

GCC/MENA Slowdown – “Oil exporting countries in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena), especially the GCC countries are expected to experience a drastic slowdown in economic growth due to the impact of coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) and a plunge in oil prices and global oil demand, according Institute of International Finance (IIF),” Gulf News reports.

Lebanon Debt – “Lebanon’s economic model of a high interest rate regime that attracted billions of dollars in deposits is “broken” and the country is committed to carrying out a four-point recovery plan that it hopes to finalise before the end of the year,” The National reports.

Lebanon/Coronavirus – “Lebanon’s confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) tally jumped to 412 on Saturday, prompting one medical expert to warn the country faces its peak infection rate next week,” Arab News reports.

Tourism – “The Arab Tourism Organization estimated the decline in the sector’s revenues at $30.6 billion in Arab countries by the end of April, if the pandemic is not controlled,” Egypt Today reports.

Qatar/Aviation – “Qatar Airways will have to seek government support eventually, Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker told Reuters on Sunday, warning the Middle East carrier could soon run out of cash needed to continue flying,” Daily Sabah reports.

Iran/Aviation – “Iranians airlines have canceled nearly 90 percent of their flights planned for a holiday season after the novel coronavirus pandemic caused many travelers to stay home,” Iran Daily reports.

Iraq Economy – “Iraq is cratering on almost every front. Oil revenues, the government’s main source of income, have plummeted as the world price of oil has crashed and the government has resorted to asking for donations to help it weather the pandemic,” The New York Times reports.

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