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Previous weeks Middle East Business Report here to view.


20th and 21st June

President Ahmadinejad has been re-elected as Iranian president for a second term. What's the reaction of Iranian business people?

His first term saw growing inflation and unemployment, increasing sanctions because of Iran's nuclear enrichment project and falling foreign direct investment going into the oil and gas sector.

Saudi’s Prince Alwaleed is pushing ahead with plans to build the world’s tallest tower. This week his company Kingdom Holding chose the UAE’s EMAAR as the main developer for the construction of Jeddah City Land and Kingdom Tower.

Tall buildings were all the fashion a few years ago when developers had money to spend, but now most of them are cutting back on ever-taller towers. So why is Kingdom Holdings pushing ahead with the project and is bigger always better?

With exports to developed countries such as US and Europe slowing down, more Chinese companies are focusing on the Middle East. We spoke to Chinese companies and to the Mayor of Yiwu who is heading up a trade delegation of around 150 companies, to Dubai.

Trade between the UAE and China increased 40% in 2008 compared to the previous year, and China has also recently signed energy deals with both Qatar and Iran. Malcolm looked at the closer trade ties China is forming with the Middle East.

Oil prices are climbing again, giving oil companies more of an incentive to increase production. This is needed, because the world faces a long-term shortage of oil. But did oil companies cut investment too much during the last six months, when prices were low? We spoke to the global head of energy at Ernst and Young.

Falling house prices and a favourable exchange rate mean that buying property in London has never been more affordable, or more popular with buyers from the Gulf.

They're snapping up homes in some of the most expensive parts of the City - for up to half their normal price. Ben was in London finding out what you'll get for your money - and what you might buy if you've a cool 15 million dollars to spare.

13th and 14th June

Lebanon goes to the polls next week to elect a new parliament. It has avoided the worst of the global credit crunch and its economy is still growing. Property development is rapid and industry is booming, but Lebanon drags behind it a national debt of $50 billion.

Few images shout ‘Middle East’ quite like the abaya, the long, black overgarment worn by millions of women across the Arab world.

The design has remained pretty much unchanged for centuries, but recently female designers have begun to adapt the abaya for today’s modern, fashion-conscious world, experimenting with fabrics, embroidery and colour – while still keeping the female form covered, as Islamic tradition dictates.

Oil prices have risen recently, but demand is still falling. Nima spoke to the global head of oil and gas at Ernst and Young who says that despite fears over demand, oil companies are planning to invest over US $375bn during the economic downturn.

So which countries are investing and with many national oil companies bringing in less revenue than last year, will they turn to multinational firms such as Exxon and BP to boost production?

6th and 7th June

And then there were four. As we reported on last week's programme, the UAE has pulled out of plans for a Gulf Single Currency. And despite claims by the remaining four members that it's business as usual, the UAE's decision has thrown the whole project into doubt.

A Lebanese developer is building an offshore island in the shape of the country’s national symbol, the cedar tree. It has been greeted with outrage by environmentalists who claim it will ruin the coastline, but locals have welcomed the project which could create as many as 50,000 jobs.

"You need money to make money". That's an old adage in the business world. But how do you develop your company and keep it competitive in a world where banks have stopped much of their lending?

Nima spoke to Jordan’s former finance minister Bassem Awadallah about what he thinks the solution is.

30th and 31st May

Widespread job losses in Dubai mean that expats are leaving the city in ever greater numbers. But what about those who are left behind?

What are their chances of finding another job and how are they coping without the support from family and friends.

Business Leaders in the Middle East have been meeting at the World Economic Forum in Jordan this week to discuss how to restore confidence in the regions’ financial institutions following the economic crisis.

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