How is COVID-19 impacting trade and business in the GCC?

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Edited by Ikhlas Kechroud

IFMPC London

The coronavirus pandemic has become an unprecedented global challenge that has caused economies around the world to suffer, disrupting trade, the travel industry and destroying stock markets worldwide. And the impact on the oil and gas industry has been equally damaging and thus countries in the GCC region have been rendered vulnerable.

While the GCC is not closed for business, trade is constrained by the COVID-19 related restrictions being out in place. Therefore, all local businesses engaged in trade are at risk. In particular, the china-GCC trade has hit the region hard with 20% drops in oil demand from China – a significant number considering China is not only chief buyer of oil from the gulf states but also one of the regions largest economic partners.

In a plan to bolster the economy sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid al-Makhtoum of Dubai announced an AED 1.5 billion ($409 million) stimulus package for retail, trade, tourism, and energy sectors. Similarly, the UAE central has introduced an AED 100bn ($27bn) credit and capital support scheme that includes support for private sector businesses and individuals impacted by the pandemic. In Abu Dhabi, the executive council (ADEC) has proposed a series of initiatives including measures to support SMEs and make loans more accessible to local companies.


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