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GCC Hotels Hoping for Growth to Return in 2017

The Gulf Cooperation Council at one time was the global hotel industry darling. Record revenue per room available, some of the highest worldwide occupancy rates, investments by government in tourism infrastructure and huge events on its horizon attracted hoteliers from around the world looking to receive their small slice of the pie. One vice president of sales for an international hotel chain said that just seven years ago so much demand existed for the destination and short supply. Hotels were used to having strong occupancy rates, increasing... 
 

Airlines Suspend Flight to Qatar as Tensions Increase

On Monday, all of the major airlines in the UAE including Etihad, Emirates, Air Arabia and flydubai will suspend their flights in and out of Doha beginning on Tuesday, as the rift between states in the Gulf Cooperation Council intensifies. Dubai based Emirates in a prepared statement confirmed its flights in and out of Qatar were being suspended beginning on Tuesday and going forward. As instructed by the government of the UAE, Emirates will suspend flights in and out of Doha beginning June 6, until further notice, read the statement. The final... 
 

Nestle Remains Confident Over Middle East

Nestle the global food conglomerate remains confident that the market in the Middle East will perform even though the region is very unstable, especially in areas such as Iraq, Syria and Yemen. The company opened factory No. 18 in the region last month in Dubai. The latest factory will make culinary products like Maggi soups and coffee mixes such as Nescafe. Plans for the Dubai factory in Al Maha were announced publicly during 2012, much before most of the conflicts around the region started. The ground breaking for the factory that cost $144 million... 
 

UAE Will Introduce Tax of 100% on Energy Drinks and Tobacco

The Federal Tax Authority of the UAE has announced a selective tax of 100% on energy drinks and tobacco and a tax of 50% on soft drinks that will be applied during the fourth quarter, said reports on Wednesday. The announcement by the FTA was made at its first meeting. The minister for financial affairs Obaid Al Tayer was been quoted previously as saying a tax on just tobacco would generate as much as Dhs2 billion equal to $544.4 million per year. During the most recent session the 5% soon to be added tax was discussed. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashin... 
 

Reversing Smartphone Slump in the Gulf Region

The beginning months of any year are always the most exciting related to the smartphone market and 2017 is no exception. Over a period of just a week or two, a selection of the top manufacturers in the world revealed their new handsets in a race which is becoming fiercer by the day. Global sales of smartphones increased only 5% in 2016 to just over 1.5 billion total units following an increase of 14.4% in 2015. That has left smartphone makers scrambling to find market share amidst less growth. Conditions across the Gulf region were tougher, with... 
 

Kuwait Increasing Business and Expat Utility Rates

The government of Kuwait announced new utility rates for both businesses and expats starting May 22. The new water and electricity rates in Kuwait for businesses as well as expats will begin for businesses on May 22 and for expats on August 22, said the utilities ministry of Kuwait this week. The new rates will then apply to offices of the government starting in November and the agricultural and industrial sectors starting in February of 2018, according to a report in a national newspaper. The new tariffs will increase from a per kilowatt rate of... 
 

UAE Places Ban on Imports of Poultry from Malaysia and Tennessee

The United Arab Emirates placed a ban on the importing of some poultry products from the U.S. state of Tennessee and Malaysia over fears of bird flu. The UAE’s Ministry of Climate Change and Environment made the announcement of the ban. The ban includes all types of live wild, domestic and ornamental poultry, as well as eggs, bird remains and chicks that that were not heat-treated from the county of Lincoln, Tennessee reported WAM the official news agency for the UAE. The ban was placed after the World Organization for Animal Health released a... 
 

Commentator Accuses U.S. of Deliberately Stifling Airline Competition

Sultan Al Qassemi an Emirati commentator accused the United States of trying to rein in air carriers Etihad, Emirates and Qatar Airways from the Gulf through the recent ban on taking large electronics inside the cabin of airplanes. Under new rules, that the U.S. announced Tuesday, passengers from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa are not permitted to bring electronics aboard that are bigger than a smartphone when flying to the United States. Airports on that list included Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha bases for the three largest carriers... 
 

Saudi Arabia Might Raise Prices of Domestic Fuel 30%

The government of Saudi Arabia could increase its prices for domestic gasoline by as much as 30% starting in July, said industry sources. This is part of a reform plan by the top exporter of oil in the world to align the prices of fuel in the country, with benchmark global levels. During December of 2015 Saudi raised prices of its 95 octane gas from SAR0.60 per liter to SAR0.90 ($0.24). However, that kept the kingdom amongst the nations with the least expensive gasoline anywhere in the world. The government wants to now increase prices for domestic... 
 

Millions of Saudis Without Medical Insurance

Authorities in Saudi Arabia estimate close to 2.5 million citizens of the kingdom work in the private sector without any medical coverage. The insurance industry in Saudi Arabia, which experienced sharp growth in net income last year, should see even further growth in 2017, showed a new report released this week. However, enforcement of compulsory coverage is key to the growth of the industry, stressed the report. Saudi Arabia has almost 20 million citizens and another 10 million foreign nationals with dependents, making the possibility of insurance... 
 

Saudi Arabia to Handover as Many as 120,000 New Homes in 2017

The government of Saudi Arabia launched a new housing program that is designed to hand over as many as 120,000 homes to its citizens in 2017. The program, Sakani, is part of the efforts to distribute financial assistance and homes to as many as 280,000 families through the Ministry of Housing in the country. A general supervisor and advisor to the agency, Prince Saud Bin Talal said that the first group of homes would reach 15,560 units. That group includes 5,015 housing plots and government financial support for over 7,700 through its Real Estate... 
 

Saudi Cabinet Approves 5% VAT

The cabinet in Saudi Arabia gave its approval for a region-wide 5% value added tax that will start next year in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). In a cabinet session that King Salman chaired, the cabinet approved the Value Added Tax Unified Agreement, said the Saudi Press Agency or SPA. The press agency also said that a Royal Decree was being prepared. The cabinet’s approval was given after it deemed that the kingdom was at a point where it was ready for the implementation of VAT, said the news agency. A 5% VAT is to be imposed across all of... 
 

Apartment Prices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai Dropped in 2016

Prices at apartments in Dubai fell by an average of more than 11% during 2016 as the housing market battled tough conditions in the economy said a report by Bayut.com a property online site. In its report released annually, the company said that prices of apartments in Dubai fell from Dhs2.57 million during 2015 to just over Dhs2.29 million in 2016. Rents were not as affected, but still were down 6% from the average in 2015. The site said that rent for studios was down by 8%, while prices dropped 5% for buying studios. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment... 
 

Egypt Central Bank Maintains Key Interest Rates

This week the central bank of Egypt has maintained its key interest rates with no change. The bank is holding pat until it can see an impact on the country’s inflation due to last month’s hike in cost of borrowing is clearer. Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee maintained its overnight deposit rate of 14.75% and its overnight rate for lending of 15.75%, the bank announced in a prepared statement. A majority of economists who were served had predicted the bank would not move interest rates. The bank increased its rates by 550 basis points on... 
 

Saudi Arabia: No Immediate Tax on Remittances of Expats

Saudi Arabia has reportedly been discussing possible plans of imposing a tax of between 2% and 6% on remittances. Saudi Arabia announced through one of its senior officials that there are not any immediate plans of imposing a tax for remittances by expats. Earlier there were reports that claimed the Shoura Council in the kingdom was discussing the possibility of a tax. Former member of the Shoura Council Husam Al-Angari, who was the one who submitted the tax proposal, suggested a tax of 6% on expat residents in the first year of their time in the... 
 

Gulf Airlines Must Make Job Cuts Due to Slowdown in Growth

Emirates, the largest long-haul airline in the world, and Etihad Airway based in Abu Dhabi are preparing to make job cuts, while a strong U.S. dollar is pressuring earnings. The needed cutbacks indicate how the rapid expansion of airlines in the Gulf Cooperation Council over the last few years have begun to slow down against an economic backdrop that is more and more challenging. Emirates, based in Dubai is expected to make job cuts in finance, accounting, IT as well as other departments within the head office, said sources who are familiar with... 
 

Saudi Arabia King Calls Economic Reforms Necessary but Painful

On Wednesday, King Salman admitted that his kingdom was enduring some economic reforms he called painful, but indicated they were all necessary in order to protect the country from any worse problems. The steep decline in the price of oil since June of 2014 pushed the energy-rich Arab states in the Gulf to pull back on lavish spending. Saudi Arabia accumulated a new record for a budget deficit of close to $100 billion in 2015, which forced the country to find savings in new places and ways to increase revenue. The state has looked to deal with... 
 

Russia and OPEC Members See Easy Deal for Cut in Output

Saudi Arabia and Russia said they are expecting both OPEC as well as non-OPEC producers to come up with an agreement during meetings on Saturday to cut back on the output of oil to prop prices up during the first joint move in the past 15 years. Khalid al-Falih the energy minister from Saudi Arabia the defacto OPEC leader and top exporter of oil said a deal is already in place and we are only adding the final touches. Energy Minister of Russia Alexander Novak while speaking at a meeting between both members and non-members of OPEC in Vienna said... 
 

Forecast by Boeing is for 200,000 New Jobs in Aviation in Middle East

Airlines across the United Arab Emirates as well as the rest of the region of the Middle East will need as many as 200,000 additional personnel to support growing demand for deliveries of new aircraft during the upcoming two decades, said U.S. based Boeing. The plane maker in the U.S. announced in its Wednesday report that the Middle East’s industry of commercial aviation would need almost 92,000 for cabin crew, over 58,000 for pilots and technicians of over 66,000. The recruiting of personnel for the aviation industry will be one of the biggest... 
 

Middle East Countries to Increase Production of Oil in 2020

Countries in the Middle East might peak at nearly 30 million barrels a day of oil production by 2020, says Rystad Energy a consulting firm in Norway on Monday. Iraq and Iran will represent the biggest growth in products said one of the experts at the company. The production overall in the region increased to 26 million barrels daily from 24 million between 2010 and 2015, said Rystad Energy. While the kingdom of Saudi Arabia represents close to 40% of the oil production in the region, Iraq and Iran are the two countries that will see the biggest... 
 

Economies in Middle East Take $641 Billion Hit for Arab Spring

The Arab Spring phenomenon that took place across the Middle East in 2011 cost the economies in the region $614 billion of growth due to changes in governments, continued conflict and dropping prices of oil, shows a report released by an agency of the United Nations. The dollar figure from the ESCWA or United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia is equal to 6% of the GDP through the end of 2015 and based upon growth projections made prior to the start of the revolutions. Published Thursday, it is the first time an estimate has... 
 

UAE Will Not Start Income Tax, But Fuel Prices to Increase

The United Arab Emirates does not have any plans of imposing new taxes on its population and the government is not planning to introduce more fees, said the Finance Ministry undersecretary Younis al-Khouri. Gulf governments have planned new ways to raise more money as the low gas and oil prices created big deficits in their state budgets. The six Gulf Cooperation Council members are planning to implement a value-added tax starting in 2018. However, the remarks from Khouri appeared to rule out, for the time being at least, a possibility of a new... 
 

Retail Industry in GCC to Grow by Over 7%

Despite some markets in the Gulf Cooperation Council construction sector softening the retail industry should grow between 7% and 12% for the year. This comes following the expansion of theme parks, malls and mega events such as Expo 2020. Local and international designing and layout companies in the retail sector will reap the benefits of this growth due to the increasing focus on consumer comfort and entertainment for shoppers in the sector. With more international brands already in the Middle East North Africa market and more on the way sustainability... 
 

Inflation Eases in Egypt During September

The annual urban consumer prices inflation in Egypt eased in September to 14.1% from 15.5% or a high of eight years during August, said CAPMAS the official statistics agency on Monday. In August, headline inflation surged, raising the expectations that the Egyptian central bank raise interest raise September 22. However, the country’s central bank kept rates where they were citing transitory factors, which pushed costs up. The drop during September is the first for the urban measure dating back to March. Increases in inflation have been steady... 
 

Rail Network for GCC Now Scheduled for Completion in 2021

The Minister of Infrastructure Development in the United Arab Emirates has reportedly said that more delays were likely depending on the rail network for the GCC. Plans for a railway network that links the Gulf countries has not been pushed to 2021 or three years later than scheduled and might face even more delays. Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi the UAE Minister reportedly said the decision to push the deadline from 2018 to 2021 had been taken in April at a transport ministers meeting. He said that the ministers knew at the time it would not be possible... 
 

Goldman Sachs: OPEC Deal Will Not Change Price of Oil Through 2017

Goldman Sachs announced that the deal agreed to by member of OPEC to cut its oil production might provide support of prices in the short term, but chances are it would not change the outlook on supply that much. Goldman said through a prepared statement to its investors that it would stick with the forecasts it has for WTI at a price of $43 per barrel for the end of 2016 and $53 per barrel for the end of 2017. Goldman Sachs analysts said that if the proposed cut was strictly enforced and succeeded in supporting prices, it would be self defeating... 
 

Iran and Saudis End Hopes for Oil Deal for OPEC

On Tuesday, Iran and Saudi Arabia ended any hopes that oil producers in OPEC would reach a deal that limits output this week in Algeria. Trusted sources within the oil producing cartel said the big differences between Tehran and the Kingdom were too wide to bridge. This meeting is just consultative, as everyone will be heard including the consumers and the secretariat of OPEC, said Khalid al-Falih the Energy Minister of Saudi Arabia. Bijan Zanganeh the Oil Minister of Iran said it was not the time to make decisions. He said that decision making... 
 

UAE Draws Large Numbers for Family Tourism

In the United Arab Emirates, spending on family tourism is expected to increase 4.4% during 2016, according to a new study by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce. At the same time, the expenditures for outbound family tourism of citizens in the Emirati will increase by 3.6% in 2016, said the same study. This study coincides with October’s third Global Islamic Economy Summit that will be held on October 11 and 12 in Dubai. The summit will cover family tourism as part of the spectrum of different subjects that fall under the Islamic economy tag. The UAE... 
 

Passenger Traffic Up Over 95% at Dubai World Central

Dubai World Central or DWC saw its passenger traffic increase by over 95% during the first six months of 2016, according to one report that Dubai Airports released. During the six months passenger traffic was 410,277 which represented an increase of 95.4% in comparison to the same period one year ago of 209.989. DWC’s passenger traffic is driven for the most part by flydubai airlines the operators of 35 flights weekly to five different destinations. In addition, the airline is planning to increase its flights each week out of DWC, according to... 
 

Billions of Dollars of Aid Have Been Squandered by Egypt

After Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi welcomed hundreds of dignitaries from around the world to Sharm el-Sheikh the seaside resort, in 2015, he made a simple pitch to them. He said the upheaval following Arab Spring in Egypt had ended. He had ousted the Islamist president that was his predecessor and the country wanted their investments. He promised economic reforms and stability. His guests shortly thereafter rewarded the country with loans, new business and large sums of cash. It was what the head of the International Monetary Fund Christine... 
 

Coup Attempt in Turkey Costs Economy Over $100 Billion

The coup attempt in Turkey that was foiled last month that was seeking the ouster of the government of current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cost the economy in Turkey over 300 billion lira or $100 billion, said the trade minister on Tuesday. Bulent Tufenkci the Commerce and Customs Minister was quoted as telling a reporter from a local newspaper that the heavy cost may even increase, but insisted that the economic fundamentals in Turkey remained strong. Helicopters, warplanes, bombs, weapons and buildings all added up to 300 billion lira. He added... 
 

U.S. Beef Allowed Back in Saudi Arabia Following Concern over Mad Cow

Authorities from Saudi Arabia re-opened their market to beef from the United States after a ban of four years that was placed over concerns about BSE or bovine spongiform encephalopathy known more commonly as mad cow disease. The kingdom will allow imports of U.S. beef as well as beef products that are from cattle that are 30 months old or younger, starting immediately, said a statement released by the USTR or U.S. Trade Representative. The statement said that Saudi Arabia would expand the access to include products from cattle that are less than... 
 

Six Flags to Build Theme Park in Saudi Arabia

Big investors from the U.S. are headed to Saudi Arabia due to the new Saudi Vision 2030 that is being marketed in the United States by the kingdom’s Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, the minister of defense and second deputy premier. Investors will have the flexibility now to structure their business optimally to benefit from the market in Saudi, said the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority. The SAGIA said that foreigners can seek 100% ownership or have their operation via a joint venture. Dow, the chemical giant based in the U.S.... 
 

UAE Popular Amongst Travelers During Ramadan

The Gulf Corporation Council countries will the most attractive destinations by 2023 for Muslim travelers. Oman, Qatar and the UAE will become the star attractions for Muslim travelers new research shows that was released Thursday by Crescent Rating and MasterCard. The growing trend to travel during the month long fasting period by Muslims will see the GCC region receive the most travelers within the next 6 years. With Ramadan to take place during cooler months starting in 2023, destinations across the Middle East like Oman, Qatar and the UAE will... 
 

Qatar Now Middle East Economy That is the Most Competitive

Qatar was recently named as the most competitive economy across the Middle East in a new IMD World Competitiveness Index. Qatar kept its spot on the world table at No. 13, which made it the highest nation in the Middle East in the rankings this year. It became No. 1 in the region after the United Arab Emirates dropped three spots to 15th from 12th. Other nations in the Middle East on the list include Israel at No. 21, Turkey at No. 38 and Jordan at No. 52. Qatar, which became rich as a country thanks to huge natural gas reserves, is currently in... 
 

Iran Sees Surge in Oil Exports Thanks to International Tankers Shipping Fuel

Over 25 supertankers that are Asian- or European-owned are shipping oil from Iran, showed data that an international news agency released. This has allowed Tehran to ratchet up its oil exports far faster than industry analysts expected after economic sanctions had been lifted against Tehran during January. Iran was struggling up through April in its attempt to find shipping partners that would ship its crude. However, following an agreement for temporary insurance over one third of the crude shipments made by Iran are being transported by foreign... 
 

Next OPEC Meeting Unlikely To Change Global Oil Output

The next meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is scheduled to begin on June 2. Few believe that the meeting will lead to an agreement to lower output to boost oil prices further. Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s largest producer and de facto leader, has already indicated that it will not risk its market share to prop up other OPEC members’ economies. Without Saudi participation, any proposal for output cuts is dead on arrival. Oil prices reached their lowest in a decade when prices hit $27 per barrel in January. Saudi Arabia... 
 

Freedom Of Information Act Reveals Saudi Arabia’s U.S. Treasuries

The Treasury Department recently released a breakdown of Saudi Arabia’s holdings of U.S. debt in response to a Freedom-of-Information Act request. As of March, the amount stood at $116.8 billion. This was down 6 percent from the record $123.6 billion recorded in January. The Treasury Department has announced that it will provide new information on specific countries to make its report on foreign ownership of U.S. debt more comprehensive and transparent. In 1974, the U.S. began releasing data on foreign ownership of Treasuries, providing a detailed... 
 

Boeing Sees Orders in Middle East at Over 3,000 Planes

Aircraft maker Boeing, based in the U.S. predicted that airlines across the Middle East would require 3,180 new planes during the next two decades as overall air traffic within the region continues its boom. The largest maker of planes in the world based on delivery numbers, said the demand for the new aircraft would be driven by a rapid expansion in fleets from the Gulf carriers, it said the airline industry was expected to be worth more than $730 billion in 20 years. A Boeing spokes person said that the growth of air traffic across the Middle... 
 

Qatar’s Surplus in Foreign Trade Cut in Half from Last Year

The foreign trade surplus for Qatar shrank by almost 52% to $3.3 billion during September from the same month one year ago due to low natural gas and oil prices. This came from preliminary data released by the government’s Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics. Exports of its petroleum gases and other hydrocarbons dropped 40% during September showed the data that was supplied by the government spokesperson. During September, the finance minister of Qatar Ali Sherif Al Emadi said the Gulf nation would not pull back its projects on economic... 
 

Economy Minister: UAE Open to Taxes

The United Arab Emirate is willing to impose taxes but a decision on that would first be evaluated thoroughly by the country’s government prior to any implementation, said the Minister of Economy this week. Any final decision on all issues included a process within the government. It will be discussed, evaluated on how it effects the nation’s competitiveness and other important things related to the decision making process, added the Minister. The Minister, Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri said the country was member of the GCC and a common policy... 
 

UAE Amongst the Most Competitive World Economies

The United Arab Emirates has the possibilities to create hubs of excellence at the global level, as the country is heavily invested in infrastructure at the world-class level and can support its ambitious plans. The eighth Summit of the Global Agenda is a three-day event, which began this past Sunday and attracted over 1,000 of the leading experts in the world of many key industries and is chaired by the Minister of Economy of the UAE Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri. According to the most recent Global Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum,... 
 

IMF: Middle East Can Sustain Low Oil Prices Less Than Five Years

The International Monetary Fund ‘s most recent assessment of the Middles East as well as North Africa economies will make for quite grim reading in a number of regions of the oil rich nations. The assessment to say the least is brutal showing a slowdown in growth and a destabilizing effect due to the low prices of oil. Though the dropping energy costs have been one positive thing for the consumer in many parts of the world, that boost for consumers is effectively taken from the pockets of the finance ministers across the Middle East. The governments... 
 

Moody’s Says Drop in Price of Oil Will Drive GCC Fiscal Reforms

Moody’s the ratings agency has revised its downward projections for the price of oil to $55 per barrel from $65 this year and $53 for 2016. The Gulf Corporation Council with six nations including Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia depend upon oil for close to 90% of the country’s revenues. The impact is expected to lower the revenue from hydrocarbon on public finances in the GCC which will spur on adjustments in policy for 2016, said an analysts with Moody’s. The UAE has taken the lead by liberalizing its... 
 

Doomsday Vault in Arctic Opened to Retrieve Syria Seeds

The vault has been opened prior to it being expected. Deep inside the side of an Arctic mountain is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. This is referred to as the Doomsday Vault and the seed bank, operated by the government of Norway and containing a seed for almost every crop known in the world, is meant to be a backup for humanity in case a catastrophe were to take place to devastate crops. However, a natural disaster is not what caused scientists to dip into the vault for the first significant withdrawal. Instead, it was war, a man-made disaster... 
 

Real Estate Market Remains Sluggish in Dubai

Not enough buyers are purchasing real estate in Dubai currently according to a consulting firm. At the rate currently in the real estate market and without something taking place to turn things in a different direction, home prices across the emirate could continue dropping through all of next year, according to the consulting firm. The next growth cycle said the firm would then have to wait until the last two years prior to the 2020 Expo in Dubai. During the third quarter, prices of apartments dropped by 3% compared to their price during the second... 
 

Hardship and Despair as Wages Cut off in Iraq in IS Controlled Cities

The government of Iraq’s decision to choke the funding for the radical militant group Islamic State by cutting off pensions and wages in cities the radical group controls, has plunged people into great hardship and could help insurgents get a firmer grip on control, say residents and some officials. For 12 months after the fighter of the Islamic State swept through over a third of the country, Baghdad continued paying salaries and pensions of employees inside the IS caliphate. However, since this past July, all those payments were halted which... 
 

Lenovo Launches Smarpthone of 6.8 Inches for Middle East

In the Middle East, Chinese electronics maker Lenovo has launched a new Phab Plus a smartphone with a 6.8-inch screen that is amongst the largest in the industry. Lenovo said the device was marketed to a younger demographic, who use smartphones for media, playing games and reading articles, more than making telephone calls. According to Lenovo, 7% of the smartphone user’s time today is to make calls. That compared to 18% of the time spent watching videos, 13% for social media, 12% for playing games and 10% for getting the news. The thought is... 
 

Tunisia Attracts One Million Fewer Tourists Since Attacks

Foreign tourists visiting the Middle East country of Tunisia have dropped off by over one million from January through August of 2015 to only 4 million after the two attacks by Islamist militants, said the tourist minister this week. In June, a lone gunman killed 38 people at a Sousse hotel on Tunisia’s Mediterranean coast. That attack came three months after 21 foreign tourists were killed when gunmen attacked a national museum in Tunis the capital. The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the two deadliest attacks in the history... 
 

Syrian Conflict Could Cause Problems with Cotton

Islamic State radical militants have been able to get their hands on some of the cotton production in Syria, which is worrying some of the manufacturers that clothes linked to IS could end up in stores or closets worldwide. After seizing grain and oil fields to fund their brutal run through Syria, IS jihadists took control of over 75% of the cotton production in the country, which was an important export prior to the war, said an expert in financing of extremist groups. Syrian cotton is a big issue at fashion houses located in Paris. One buyer for... 
 
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