Oil/Saudi/Russia – “Saudi Arabia and Russia signalled on Thursday they were ready to cooperate to help stabilise the oil market after calls with U.S. President Donald Trump to discuss the slump in prices triggered by the end of a deal to curb output and a collapse in demand,” Reuters reports.

GCC Banks – “The outlook for the banking systems of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar has been changed to negative from stable, said credit ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service in a report on Thursday,” Al Arabiya Business reports.

Iraq/Najaf – “The economy of Iraq’s Najaf province, the main centre of Shiism, will collapse in the next few weeks as a result of travel restrictions imposed to contain the country’s coronavirus outbreak, the governor said on Thursday,” The National reports.

Kuwait – “Kuwait’s central bank announced a stimulus package on Thursday to support vital sectors and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) amid the fallout from the coronavirus epidemic,” Gulf News/Reuters reports.

Lebanon Currency – “The battered Lebanese pound has weakened even more during a coronavirus lockdown, with banks blocking access to already scarce dollars, forcing up their price on the parallel market and the cost of imports the heavily indebted country relies on,” The Daily Star of Lebanon/Reuters reports.

Aviation – “The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged Middle East governments to support their airlines with regional revenues expected to plunge by almost 40 percent this year as the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) paralyzes global travel,” Arab News reports.

Iraq/Kurdistan – “Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of Russian gas giant Gazprom, will not reduce investment in its project in Iraqi Kurdistan despite a request from the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government KRG to do so, it said on Tuesday,” EKurd.net reports.

Israel/Aviation – “In a notification to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, El Al Israel Airlines has announced that, because of the impact of the Covid-19 virus pandemic, it is extending the suspension of its flights to May 2, 2020,” Globes reports.

Oil Price – “Crude oil futures jumped 10% on Thursday after U.S. President Donald Trump said he expected Saudi Arabia and Russia to reach a deal soon to end their oil price war,” The Peninsula/Reuters reports.

Morocco – “Bank Al-Maghrib Governor Abdellatif Jouahri announced new measures that allow Morocco’s central bank to triple resupply of funds to local banks to counter the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak,” The Arab Weekly reports.


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