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Daily brief: Top 7 business stories October 31, 2016

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

UAE adopts federal budget of AED248 billion for 2017-2021

The cabinet of the United Arab Emirates has adopted a federal budget totalling AED248 billion for the for the five-year period from 2017 to 2021.

“Utilising financial resources to achieve the highest degree of prosperity and welfare of the citizens and residents is a priority, underlining education, health and community welfare as key pillars for the development of the society,” said His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Middle East funds more bullish on Saudi Arabia after bond issue

Middle Eastern funds have become more positive towards Saudi Arabian equities after the kingdom’s mammoth international bond sale earlier in October, while they are losing confidence in Egypt, a monthly Reuters poll found.

Egypt cancels treasury bill auctions

In a move signalling more moderate rate hikes, Egypt cancelled its three- and nine-month treasury bill auctions, central bank data showed, according to Reuters.

No reason was given yet for the cancellation, neither by the bank nor the ministry; however, bankers told Reuters that yields asked for were found to be too high by the government.

Construction costs drop in Saudi Arabia: executive

As cuts in state spending reduce pressure on building materials supplies in the United Kingdom, this has translated in more competitive pricing among construction firms, Fahd Al Rasheed, group CEO of the Emaar Economic City (EEC), told Reuters in an interview.

“Local production levels for all building materials – as well as imports – were set for a time in contracting,” which has caused oversupply, Rasheed said in an interview in Dubai.

“Also, now that the number of contracts being issued by the government is much lower, contractor capacity has also improved, leading to contractors lowering their margins to compete for new work,” he added.

Dubai Financial Market reports 22 per cent profit drop in Q3

Dubai Financial Market (DFM), the Gulf’s only listed stock exchange, reported a 22 percent fall in third-quarter net profit. It achieved a net profit of AED35.4 million in the three months ending September 30, down from AED45.4m a year earlier.

Qatar, Belarus sign MoUs to boost cooperation

Qatar and Belarus signed several memoranda of understanding and agreements following official talks held between Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and the visiting President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko.

Qatar’s Ooredoo Q3 profit drops 51 per cent

Qatar’s telecom operator, Ooredoo, reported a 51 per cent drop in profit for the third quarter of 2016. The reported earnings for the firm, which operates in nearly a dozen areas across the Middle East, Africa and Asia regions, made a net profit of QAR370 million in the three months to September 30, compared with QAR755.8m earned during the same time last year.