Post-sanctions Iran proves attractive for investors

07 February 2016

Gulf Projects Index inches upwards

The Gulf Projects Index inched upwards by 0.4 per cent in the week ending 29 January. The market was boosted by increases in Saudi Arabia and Iran, where the markets gained 0.9 per cent and 0.7 per cent respectively.

Saudi Arabia’s improved index followed the signing of a deal for a major $8.8bn mixed-use development in Riyadh. Qatar’s SST Holdings, owned by Sheikh Sultan bin Suhaim al-Thani, plans to develop a megaproject that includes international hotels, luxurious apartments and retail areas on a 1.4 million-square-metre area of the capital.

Value of projects planned or under way, 29 January 2016
Country29-Jan-1622-Jan-16% change on week30-Jan-15% change on year
Saudi Arabia1,008,578999,2960.91,215,386-17.8
Gulf Total3,256,2553,244,0970.43,341,419-2.9
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The Iranian market, which continues to enjoy a positive trajectory following the lifting of sanctions, saw its projects market increase off the back of $1.3bn-worth of healthcare schemes. At the end of January, MEED reported that Italy’s Pessina Costruzioni had signed an initial agreement to build five hospitals in Iran.

In numbers

60 – New projects added to the Gulf index 

$2.1bn – Value of projects completed or on hold in the UAE

17.8% – Year-on-year decline in Saudi Arabia’s market

The Milan-based company signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Iran’s Ministry of Health & Medical Education for the development of five hospitals with a total of 1,000 beds across the country. On his Europe tour, President Hassan Rouhani also managed to ink $45bn-worth of deals.

Project updates this week
CountryProject nameStatus
IranTehran Hospital (1,000 beds)Study
KuwaitRegional Road South Part project: central sectionDesign
KuwaitJahra Court ComplexComplete
Saudi ArabiaCommercial development in RiyadhStudy
UAEHabshan natural gas liquids recoveryDesign
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The UAE market witnessed a slight contraction of 0.1 per cent, following $2.1bn-worth of schemes either completed or put on hold. Only $38bn of projects were added to the market this week; an $18m residential tower in Abu Dhabi and a $20m hotel at Cultural Village in Dubai.

There were no changes in the Qatari and Omani markets, as the anticipated slowdown in the region’s projects market continues.

Overall, there were 60 new schemes and 33 completed projects in the Gulf index. Iran continues to enjoy positive growth, as its market maintains a 32.6 per cent year-on-year increase. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, is struggling, with a 17.8 per cent year-on-year fall; the region’s biggest economy is slowing down amid declining hydrocarbons prices.

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