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Daily brief: Top 7 business stories November 2, 2016

Here are the top 7 business stories you need to know today.

Saudi Aramco chief expects oil price spike in 2017

Saudi Aramco, the state-owned producer, expects oil prices to rebound during the first half of 2017, the firm’s CEO Amin Nasser said Tuesday.

“The gap between supply and demand is closing… Our anticipation now is that it will be balanced by the first half of 2017,” Nasser told a conference.

“That will see an adjustment upwards in terms of prices,” Reuters reported him as saying.

Egyptian council approves measures to boost investments

Egypt’s Investment Council approved a total of 17 measures boost investments in the country. The country has been trying to restore investment growth since 2011, when political turmoil scared off tourists and investors alike.

One of these measures included an extended suspension of capital gains tax on shares, and tax exemptions for producers in strategic sectors.

Libya oil output revealed

Libya is now producing 590,000 barrels per day (bpd), a production level similar to what it achieved late last month, the National Oil Corporation said in a statement on Tuesday.

The NOC also said it hopes production, excluding that of NOC partners, would rise to reach 800,000 bpd in 2017, given the convenient operating conditions.

Standard Chartered eyes Africa, Brunei for Islamic growth

The Islamic banking division at Standard Chartered is seeking banking licenses in three African countries: Nigeria, Botswana and Zambia, to offer its services to the continent’s largest Muslim communities, Reuters reported.

The division, Standard Chartered Saadiq, could enter one of the markets by early 2017, Mohammad Ali Allawalla, head of Islamic banking for retail clients at the bank, told Reuters on the sidelines of a media briefing on Tuesday.

Qatar privatising strategic services

As it seeks to ease the burden of its finances, the State of Qatar is shifting some state-run health and education services to the private sector, the country’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, said on Tuesday, outlining the country’s economic agenda for the next five years.

Kuwait plans to end subsidies by 2020

Kuwait plans to end all forms of public subsidies by 2020, as the country is hit by financial stresses due to low oil prices and other economic challenges, local media reported.

According reports, a committee has been set up by the Finance ministry to review all public subsidies, and begin to gradually reduce them to ultimately completely end all subsidies by 2020.

Qatar aims to fully comply with labour reform by year end

The State of Qatar said it expects business to be 100 per cent compliant with labour reform designed to ensure timely salary deliveries to its migrant workers by end of year, a senior labour ministry official told AFP.

The country introduced its Wage Protection System last year and recent government data show that 85 per cent of the country’s 2.1 million workforce are now paid electronically.

“Our aim is to have 100 per cent compliance by the end of the year,” Mohammad Ali Al Meer, the director of Qatar’s labour inspection department, was quoted as saying.