20 April 2021
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Dubai hotel occupancy and RevPar rose in March

By Daniel Richards

  • Dubai’s hotel occupancy rose to 60.5% in March according to data from STR Global, up from 58.2% in February and much higher than the 37.5% occupancy rate in March 2020, when the UAE closed its borders due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Revenue per available room (RevPAR) was also higher m/m at USD 89.8 up more than 90% off last year’s low base, but still markedly lower than pre-pandemic March levels.  
  • The UAE’s bank deposits rose 2.8% y/y in February, while gross bank lending slowed to 1.8% y/y.  Loan growth continues to be driven by lending to government and the public sector, with lending to the private sector down -2.4% y/y.  Broad money supply (M2) grew 4.9% y/y in February, the fastest annual growth in three months.
  • Minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia’s April meeting contained no surprises, noting that the bank’s policies were helping keep the exchange rate low, and that policy makers would be keeping a close eye on rising house prices and “increased risk-taking by lenders”.  It confirmed that a decision on whether to continue with the policy of yield curve control would be made later this year.  The RBA expects GDP in the March quarter to have recovered to pre-pandemic levels.
  • The PBOC kept the loan prime rates unchanged as expected in April, for the 12th month in a row.  The 1-year LPR remains at 3.85% while the 5-year is at 4.65%.

Today’s Economic Data and Events

10:00 UK ILO unemployment rate forecast 5.0%

Fixed income

  • Investors appeared to pull money out of most assets overnight as US treasuries, the dollar and equities all slipped. Performance across the UST curve was mixed with the short-end gaining modestly while long end yields rose: 10yr UST yields added more than 2bps to close back above 1.60% while the 30yr added 3bps to settle at 2.3025%.
  • Taqa is in the market for a benchmark USD issue comprised of two tranches. A 7yr is looking to price at around +100bps while a 30yr is aiming to price around 3.75%. Taqa is rated ‘AA-‘ by Fitch.


  • The dollar has extended its losing streak, falling for six days in a row and off in early trading this morning. Markets are looking for stronger catalysts to snap the dollar out of its current slump in a week relatively devoid of US data and during a blackout period ahead of next week's FOMC.
  • EURUSD managed a gain of 0.45%, pushing the single currency back up above 1.20 for the first time since early March. Elsewhere, USDJPY fell almost 0.6% to 108.17 although it seems to be consolidating around those levels at the moment.
  • Sterling was the major gainer overnight, pushing up more than 1.1% to 1.3986 against the dollar. The reopening of the British economy should allow for sterling to perform well, provided there is no major uptick in the number of domestic Covid-19 cases.
  • Commodity currencies recorded a mixed performance. Both the AUD and NZD managed to gain with some positive momentum for both economies thanks to the opening of a quarantine free travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand. However, in Canada, deteriorating conditions in the most populous province of Ontario are weighing on the outlook. USDCAD was up 0.2% overnight to 1.2535.   


  • Equities started the week on the back foot among surging cases in major EMs, and some earnings misses elsewhere. The deteriorating situation in India in particular is weighing on the stock markets there, as the Nifty and the SENSEX both lost -1.8% yesterday. The two indices are now down -3.2% and -3.3% respectively w/w. Other major Asian equity indices are trending further into the red today, tracking yesterday’s Wall Street moves.
  • All three major US indices closed lower on Monday, as the Dow Jones, the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ lost -0.4%, -0.5% and -1.0% respectively.
  • In Europe, the FTSE 100 lost -0.3%, with the strong pound performance likely weighing on the index. On the continent, the DAX lost -0.6%, but the CAC was one of the few major indices to close higher yesterday, gaining 0.2%.


  • One year ago today oil prices were in complete free fall and WTI futures closed at -37.63/b, their first (and so far only) close in negative prices. Since then prices have added more than USD 100/b as the oil market has rebalanced thanks to extensive production cuts from OPEC+ and other producers along with the development and deployment of vaccines, allowing mobility to resume in major economies.
  • Oil prices don't appear to be in a sentimental mood and added around 0.4% overnight with more gains coming this morning. Brent is up 0.7% at USD 67.53/b, WTI has added almost 0.5% to USD 63.69/b while Murban has gained 0.3% in early trade today to trade around USD 66/b.

Click here to download charts and tables



Written By

Daniel Richards Senior Economist

Edward Bell Head of Market Economics

Khatija Haque Head of Research & Chief Economist

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