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Crystal ball gazing

Crystal ball gazing

Old May 8th 2020, 6:06 am
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Default Crystal ball gazing

Where will things be in 6-9-12 months?

Specifically related to this region, and more specifically in my own case with regards to Qatar. I enjoyed a few years there and am looking forward to another stint as soon as it is possible to enter. I have a contract, signed, with a non-Qatari company, who have a contract, signed, and are actively invoicing. The contract has a core relationship with WC2022 on some levels and so would seem unlikely to be pulled, at least at the moment.

On the other hand I have heard government ministries have been directed to reduce resources (people) by 30%. As I understand it this includes the likes of Qatar Petroleum and all other government backed operations. Another piece of hearsay suggests Qatar Airways is looking to cut its staffing by as much as 50%.

Irrespective of the accuracy of any such proclamation it would indeed seem likely that the region in general is likely to enter a period of significantly reduced business activity. What does this mean for those who will remain? More rent reductions? Free cars chosen from the parking lot of runaway loan defaulters? Or will prices surge as building owners and sellers with limited need for cash flow try to generate comparative income from a smaller market? What about other living costs?



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Old May 8th 2020, 9:30 am
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Default Re: Crystal ball gazing

I've been wondering whether this is a good opportunity for gulf governments to effectively force nationals into the workforce.

There was an article I read recently that quoted a Saudi talk show host saying it was a company's national duty to get rid of expats first in the downturn. Whether or how things like this materialise I don't know. A lot of expats are leaving though as there are no jobs anymore. As things pick up again slowly will they return, or will more nationals fill the gap?

From a personal POV, I work in a military setting, which you'd think would be fairly budget safe, however the company I work for has a 5 year contract which finishes in January 21, so I'll know more then. Saudi has a big budget deficit right now.

I think they'll be more likely to cut back on the big projects like Neom and things like that though.

Hope so anyway!
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Old May 8th 2020, 9:00 pm
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Default Re: Crystal ball gazing

For years I did a job in KSA that could have been done by a local. When saudi nationals were first brought into the Training Centre, to the surprise of many, it all worked out. Of course ther were problems, especially with male staff disappearing at short notice to take "the family" (i.e wife, sister, daughter) to hospital. In a few years all these jobs in training and Education that were done by Westerners and Asians will be done by locals.
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Old May 9th 2020, 7:28 am
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Default Re: Crystal ball gazing

Much like the shift to online learning (who seriously thinks things will go back to normal in Sept...especially with salaries), the magic kingdom needed a shock like this to get their house in order. Locals' attitudes to work will be shaped by the shortage of food on the shelves and a bit of honesty from the government. In truth, I don't think the shift in mindset will be so difficult, but it's just what the region needs. As far as expats are concerned, the party is well and truly over, accelerating a trend that was already happening.
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Old May 9th 2020, 8:19 am
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Default Re: Crystal ball gazing

Qatar doesn't have enough locals so they will still need expats. Doha is still dripping in gas wealth. Covid-19 will have the same effect as the Saudi embargo: none.
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Old May 9th 2020, 8:28 am
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Default Re: Crystal ball gazing

Originally Posted by clergy View Post
Much like the shift to online learning (who seriously thinks things will go back to normal in Sept...especially with salaries), the magic kingdom needed a shock like this to get their house in order. Locals' attitudes to work will be shaped by the shortage of food on the shelves and a bit of honesty from the government. In truth, I don't think the shift in mindset will be so difficult, but it's just what the region needs. As far as expats are concerned, the party is well and truly over, accelerating a trend that was already happening.
Agreed, but there are no shortages of food. Had no problems the past couple of months whatsoever.
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Old May 9th 2020, 10:31 am
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Default Re: Crystal ball gazing

Originally Posted by Standanista View Post
Qatar doesn't have enough locals so they will still need expats. Doha is still dripping in gas wealth. Covid-19 will have the same effect as the Saudi embargo: none.
In the longer term I agree, short term there will be some impact I think judging by the letters being sent out. I have heard some supermarket items are seeing noticeable increases.
But I think 2 years from now, as long as nothing crazy happens, like a global virus pandemic, the current situation might be largely forgotten.
One friend has had apartment rent reduced 23% from this month, QR5500 to QR4250. Not insignificant.
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Old May 9th 2020, 4:57 pm
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Default Re: Crystal ball gazing

Originally Posted by martinbkk View Post
In the longer term I agree, short term there will be some impact I think judging by the letters being sent out. I have heard some supermarket items are seeing noticeable increases.
But I think 2 years from now, as long as nothing crazy happens, like a global virus pandemic, the current situation might be largely forgotten.
One friend has had apartment rent reduced 23% from this month, QR5500 to QR4250. Not insignificant.
Agreed, Martin. I hear that Qatar Airways have put management on half pay, the other half deferred, and are drawing up plans for some serious staff cuts. That said, they've also announced a ramping up of service levels again starting later this month. (Hopefully with we two on a couple of those planes - see you in quarantine.)

Ultimately, notwithstanding another crisis as you say, I think Qatar will bounce back better than anyone in the region. They have so much cash. I expect that they'll weather this storm in the same way that they've shrugged off the Saudi-UAE-Egyptian blockade.
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Old May 10th 2020, 12:04 pm
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Default Re: Crystal ball gazing

Originally Posted by Standanista View Post
Agreed, Martin. I hear that Qatar Airways have put management on half pay, the other half deferred, and are drawing up plans for some serious staff cuts. That said, they've also announced a ramping up of service levels again starting later this month. (Hopefully with we two on a couple of those planes - see you in quarantine.)

Ultimately, notwithstanding another crisis as you say, I think Qatar will bounce back better than anyone in the region. They have so much cash. I expect that they'll weather this storm in the same way that they've shrugged off the Saudi-UAE-Egyptian blockade.
I read that piece in the Peninsula about Qatar Airways expanding its operations but can't help feeling there's a big chunk of wishful thinking. As it says much is dependent on countries opening their borders to allow entry and the elephant in the room there of course is Qatar itself. No mention of that happening.

Infection rate in Qatar is still on the high side, 1100 cases per day, UAE 780 cases today, Thailand reported 5 new infections today.

I would happily submit to 14 days quarantine, I understand they have taken over the Oryx Rotana and the Hilton for that purpose.
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Old May 11th 2020, 6:11 am
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Default Re: Crystal ball gazing

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1672946/saudi-arabia

VAT to go up to 15% July 1st.
It's started.
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Old May 11th 2020, 7:23 am
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Default Re: Crystal ball gazing

Originally Posted by nonthaburi View Post
https://www.arabnews.com/node/1672946/saudi-arabia

VAT to go up to 15% July 1st.
It's started.
And what is the "cost of living allowance" that has apparently been cancelled? Free money for Saudi's?

There are countries that have descended into near chaos for subsidy cuts and price hikes amounting to less.
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Old May 11th 2020, 8:12 am
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Default Re: Crystal ball gazing

Originally Posted by martinbkk View Post
I understand they have taken over the Oryx Rotana and the Hilton for that purpose.
The Hilton and Rotana are only for Qataris and a few on diplomatic business. Westerners get something more spartan in facilities in Al Sadd or out towards Al Rayyan. Having a window to open though could be preferable to two weeks of the Hilton's mouldy air-con and 1980s decor. And no free plonk in the 22nd floor lounge to sweeten the pill.
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Old May 11th 2020, 8:17 am
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Default Re: Crystal ball gazing

Originally Posted by martinbkk View Post
And what is the "cost of living allowance" that has apparently been cancelled? Free money for Saudi's?

There are countries that have descended into near chaos for subsidy cuts and price hikes amounting to less.
From Reuters :
"In 2018, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman ordered a monthly payment of 1,000 riyals ($267) to every state employee to compensate them the rising cost of living after the government hiked domestic gas prices and introduced value-added tax."
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-h...-idUSKBN22N05M
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Old May 12th 2020, 4:16 pm
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Default Re: Crystal ball gazing

Only noticed when I filled up today, and I don't know when it came into effect because its been so long since I last filled up due to not going anywhere, but the gas price has halved at the pump. For 91 anyway, didn't check 95.
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Old May 12th 2020, 4:32 pm
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Default Re: Crystal ball gazing

Originally Posted by nonthaburi View Post
Only noticed when I filled up today, and I don't know when it came into effect because its been so long since I last filled up due to not going anywhere, but the gas price has halved at the pump. For 91 anyway, didn't check 95.
Where are you filling up?

It's been falling fairly regularly hereabouts, About half what it was a couple of months back, which is now about how long a tank of gas lasts.
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