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DELOITTE PREDICTS FURTHER DECLINE IN RESIDENTIAL SALE PRICES IN DUBAI IN 2016

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DELOITTE PREDICTS FURTHER DECLINE IN RESIDENTIAL SALE PRICES IN DUBAI IN 2016

Dubai’s residential and hospitality markets have rebalanced towards a “new normal” in the first six months of 2016, according to Deloitte’s new report “Deloitte Real Estate Predictions 2016 – H1 Review.” The report predicts that residential sale prices will decline further in Dubai for the balance of 2016, but that this rate of decline will slow, as value and affordability returns to the market.

“Our real estate advisory team issued a Real Estate Predictions Report in January 2016, which looked at trends and prospects for Dubai’s real estate market,” said Robin Williamson, Managing Director, Deloitte Corporate Finance Limited, Middle East. “Now that we have moved into the second half of 2016, we have compared the predictions that we made for Dubai’s residential, hospitality, office and retail markets with actual trends in the first half of 2016.”

  • Review of Deloitte’s predictions on Dubai’s residential market performance for 2016

One of the key macroeconomic factors shaping Dubai’s residential market in January 2016 was low oil prices. Deloitte predicted that average residential sale prices in Dubai would continue to fall in 2016, reflecting a transition to a more mature market, as well as an increase in more affordable stock and discounting in emerging locations.

Data for the first six months of 2016 shows that residential sale prices have continued to decline in Dubai. Prices for Palm Jumeirah apartments declined by 3.8% between January 2016 and June 2016, while prices for Downtown apartments declined by 1.8% over the same period. Year on year data indicates that overall, residential sales prices in Dubai declined by 3.8% between June 2015 and June 2016.

  • Review of Deloitte’s predictions on Dubai’s hospitality market performance for 2016

Deloitte predicted strong levels of demand for serviced apartments in Dubai driven by increasing visitor numbers from key source markets, growing visitor demand for longer average lengths of stay and better value accommodation. In the first half of 2016, data from the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (“DTCM”) shows that serviced apartments experienced the highest occupancy of any hospitality category in Dubai, at 83%.

“Average hotel occupancy in Dubai in the first six months of 2016 was 77%, slightly ahead of our forecasts,” said Williamson. “Looking at the data in more detail, it is clear that hotel operators in Dubai continued to discount Average Daily Rates in an effort to maintain occupancy, with a decline in Average Daily Rates noted in the first six months 2016. We anticipate that this trend is set to continue in the second half of 2016,” he added. 

  • Review of Deloitte’s predictions on Dubai’s office market performance for 2016

In January 2016, Deloitte predicted that completions of a number of new office schemes could lead to a slowdown in rental growth in some submarkets, with the power of negotiation shifting from landlords to tenants. In H1 2016, there were two significant completions in Business Bay: B2B Office Tower (with a GLA of approximately 242,000 sq. ft.) and Westbury Square (with a GLA of approximately 323,000 sq. ft.). During this time, average rents for offices in Business Bay fell by approximately 4%.

Moreover, in line with Deloitte predictions, data from REIDIN shows that average office rents in the Internet City and Media City Free Zones were slightly up in Q2 2016. Core locations in DIFC also continue to perform well; there are waiting lists for space in most institutionally owned buildings, while Gate Village 11 (which is currently under construction) is reported to be 100% pre-leased.

“We anticipate that these trends are likely to continue in H2 2016, with further completions in secondary locations giving tenants greater negotiating power,” explains Williamson. “In Free Zones, we anticipate that factors such as high quality infrastructure and more accessible public amenity provision will continue to drive demand from corporate occupiers.”

  • Review of Deloitte’s predictions on Dubai’s retail market performance for 2016

Deloitte predicted moderation in sales growth would continue through 2016 against a strong dollar and economic uncertainty in key source markets. In the first half of 2016, data from grmc indicates that the majority of people expect to have either the same or less disposable income (69.8%) in 2016 than the previous year. Retail sales are unlikely to return to growth until disposable incomes rise.

Also, in line with Deloitte’s predictions on prime malls’ rental growth, Emaar Malls PJSC reported a 13% increase in rental income vs. Q1 2015 in their June 2016 results, with reported increases of 25% on base rents for units within super prime malls such as the Dubai Mall.

“We predict that a return to higher oil prices combined with robust tourism and population growth, are likely to support a return to growth in retail sales from 2017 onwards,” concluded Williamson. “We also anticipate that new retail concepts, such as Boxpark and Citywalk, are likely to perform well as retailers seek to diversify from traditional mall offerings.”

Download the full report here: http://bit.ly/1PdJRDD

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Car sector seeks more UK government support as output tumbles

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Car sector seeks more UK government support as output tumbles 1

LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak should use next week’s budget statement to help boost the car industry’s competitiveness, a trade industry body said on Friday, as production tumbled to its lowest January level since 2009.

Sunak is due to detail how he will further support the economy amid COVID-19 restrictions on March 3.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said the furlough scheme that protects jobs should be extended, more support for training was needed and manufacturing investment should be encouraged through reform of the business rates tax.

“Next week’s budget is the chancellor’s (finance minister) opportunity to boost the industry by introducing measures that will support competitiveness, jobs and livelihoods,” SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said.

“We need to secure our medium to long-term future by creating the conditions that will attract battery gigafactory investment and transform the supply chain.”

Output in January fell by 27% year-on-year to 86,052 vehicles, hit by factors including dealership closures during a latest COVID-19 lockdown, international supply chain problems and the change in trading terms with the European Union.

(Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by William Schomberg)

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Exclusive: Portugal sees green hydrogen output by end-2022, $12 billion in investment lined up

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Exclusive: Portugal sees green hydrogen output by end-2022, $12 billion in investment lined up 2

By Sergio Goncalves

LISBON (Reuters) – Portugal will start producing green hydrogen by the end of 2022 and already has private investment worth around 10 billion euros ($12 billion) lined up for eight projects that are expected to move forward, Environment Minister Joao Matos Fernandes said.

He told Reuters in a telephone interview there were also several “pre-contracts for the purchase and assembly of electrolysers” to produce the zero-carbon fuel made by electrolysis out of water using renewable wind and solar energy.

Such hydrogen is more expensive to extract than the heavily polluting conventional method of using heat and chemical reactions to release hydrogen from coal or natural gas, known as brown and grey hydrogen respectively.

Hydrogen is now mostly used in the oil refining industry and to produce ammonia fertilisers, but sectors such as steelmaking, transportation and chemicals are beginning to develop large-scale hydrogen applications to gradually replace fossil fuels as countries try to reduce pollution.

The European Commission has mapped out a plan to scale up green hydrogen projects across polluting sectors to meet a net zero emissions goal by 2050 and become a leader in a market analysts expect to be worth $1.2 trillion by that date.

“By the end of 2022, there will certainly be green hydrogen production in Portugal,” Matos Fernandes said. “Green hydrogen will, over time, allow Portugal to completely change its paradigm and become an energy exporting country.”

He said seven groups had submitted applications under Europe’s IPCEI scheme for common-interest projects to make part of a planned export-oriented “hydrogen cluster” near the port of Sines, from where hydrogen could be shipped to Rotterdam. Total investment there is estimated at some 7 billion euros.

A consortium including Portugal’s main utility EDP, oil company Galp, world’s largest wind turbine maker Vestas, among others, is behind one of the projects.

In Estarreja in north Portugal, local firm Bondalti Chemicals aims to invest 2.4 billion euros in a hydrogen plant.

Altogether, these envisage an installed capacity of over 1,000 megawatts (MW).

Matos Fernandes said Portugal was also negotiating with Spain the construction of a pipeline for renewable gases, including hydrogen, from Sines to France, crossing Spain.

LITHIUM PLANS

Spain and Portugal also want to develop an ambitious cross-border lithium project taking advantage of the geographical proximity of their lithium deposits and aiming to cover the entire value chain from mining to refining, cell and battery manufacturing to battery recycling, he said.

Portugal is already a large producer of low-grade lithium mainly for the ceramics industry, but is preparing to make higher-grade metal used in electric car batteries.

A much-awaited licensing tender for lithium-bearing areas that has been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic should take place by the year-end, Matos Fernandes said.

He promised the tender would address environmental concerns by local communities and there would be no lithium mining “at any cost”.

The minister also said Portugal would use its six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union to finalise a landmark law that would make the bloc’s climate targets irreversible and speed up emissions cuts this decade, expecting it to be approved in the first half of 2021.

(Reporting by Sergio Goncalves; Editing by Andrei Khalip and David Evans)

 

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Under fire in EU, AstraZeneca CEO says ‘hopefully’ will meet vaccine supply goals

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Under fire in EU, AstraZeneca CEO says 'hopefully' will meet vaccine supply goals 3

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – AstraZeneca boss Pascal Soriot said on Thursday he hoped to meet the European Union’s expectations on the number of COVID-19 vaccines the company can deliver to the bloc in the second quarter, after big cuts in the first three months of the year.

The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker has been under fire in the EU for its delayed supplies of shots to the 27-nation bloc, which ordered 300 million doses by the end of June.

“We are working 24/7 to improve delivery and hopefully catch up to the expectations for Q2,” Soriot told EU lawmakers in a public hearing.

Under its contract with the EU, the company has committed to delivering 180 million doses in the second quarter.

Soriot did not mention the 180 million target, but said he was confident the company will be able to increase production in the second quarter using factories outside the EU that had no production problems, including in the United States.

He confirmed the company was trying to get 40 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to the EU by the end of March, which is less than half the amount it promised for the quarter in its contract.

The EU, which has fallen far behind the United States and former member Britain in vaccinating its public, has repeatedly urged the firm to deliver more.

Lower-than-expected yields – the amount of vaccine that can be produced from base ingredients – at its factories hurt output in the first three months.

Asked about supplies to Britain, which relies on the same factories used by the EU, Soriot said the former EU member with a population of around 66 million was smaller, and noted that most doses produced in the EU were used to serve the EU which has a population of about 450 million.

Executives from rival drugmakers that have developed or are testing COVID-19 vaccines, including Moderna Inc and CureVac NV were also part of the panel.

But most questions were directed at Soriot amid anger that the company has failed to deliver promised vaccine quantities to the bloc on schedule.

Moderna Chief Executive Officer Stephane Bancel said the company has experienced fluctuations as the U.S. biotech group ramps up output of its COVID-19 vaccine.

He said usually a company would stockpile product ahead of a launch, but it is shipping every dose it makes, leaving it without any spare inventory.

His comments came a day after the company increased its output target for this year and 2022 as it invests in additional manufacturing capacity.

(Reporting by Josephine Mason in London and Francesco Guarascio in Brussels; Editing by Susan Fenton, Bill Berkrot and Keith Weir)

 

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