Ministry of Agriculture to promote sea food consumption

Updated 05 December 2014
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Ministry of Agriculture to promote sea food consumption

The Ministry of Agriculture has stepped up efforts to halt the decline in seafood consumption and to boost fish production, which will go a long way in ensuring food security on national and regional levels. The ministry has also announced an ambitious target to produce one million tons of fish annually within a few years from now.
Ahmed bin Saleh Al-Aiadh, general director of aquaculture department at the Ministry of Agriculture, said here Wednesday that "the per capita consumption of fish and fish products stands at 9 to 10 kilograms annually in Saudi Arabia compared to about 62 kgs in Japan." He said: "We are also much below the global average in terms of consumption.”
Al-Aiadh was speaking at a press briefing after formally inaugurating the “Sea Food Festival” here at the Lulu Hypermarket. The inaugural event was attended by a large number of guests and top Lulu executives including Abdul Saleem, Lulu's regional manager; Shafeek Rahman, commercial manager; and Bashar Naser Al-Bashar, chief of administration.
Asked about move to promote sea food consumption in Saudi Arabia, Al-Aiadh said that "it’s a shared responsibility." He called on the private sector, the health professionals, the nutritionists and the media to join hands to generate awareness about the benefits of fish and fish products. He also called on them for reversing the decline in fish consumption among the younger generation.
He pointed out that the Saudi government has licensed several aquaculture farms in the Kingdom. To this end, it must be noted that the Ministry of Agriculture has already invested an additional $10.6 billion into aquaculture projects to produce one million tons of fish in the next 16 years.
Speaking at the press briefing, Abdul Saleem, Lulu regional manager, said that a variety of sea food including fish biryani, grilled sea food and fish sandwiches are also on sale. He pointed out that this is the fourth consecutive year for Lulu to hold the sea food festival in Saudi Arabia. The five-day long festival has been organized by all the Lulu Hypermarkets across the Kingdom.
Besides showcasing more than 100 varieties of fish including live fish for sale on this occasion, Lulu Hypermarkets across the Kingdom have organized colorful activities for kids and families on this occasion. A cooking contest has also been organized on the sidelines of the festival. "A variety of sea food including fish biryani, grilled sea food and fish sandwiches are also on sale," added Saleem.
He said that the festival is unique in the sense that it features some of the rare fish species imported from different corners of the world. They include Norwegian salmon, Egyptian tilapia, crabs, live lobsters, shrimps, oyster, cod fillet, and Canadian lobster.


As worries about populism in Europe rise, investors bet on stock market volatility

Updated 22 min 48 sec ago
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As worries about populism in Europe rise, investors bet on stock market volatility

  • More than 350 million EU citizens will head to the polls between May 23 and 26 to elect a new Parliament
  • The vote will shape the future of the bloc amid a backlash against immigration and years of austerity

LONDON: Investors are betting on heightened political uncertainty and greater volatility in European stock markets ahead of European Parliament elections in May amid growing concerns about rising populism.
In one of the first concrete signs in financial markets that investors are bracing for political instability, VSTOXX futures , which reflect investor sentiment and economic uncertainty, have jumped in recent weeks.
While the classic gauge of fear — known as implied volatility, which tracks demand for options in European stocks — is currently at 15.68, futures that bet on the same thing over the coming months show a pronounced jump.
That’s because investors have piled on trades that bet on big swings in stocks as election day nears.
Implied volatility for futures contracts expiring in May show a pronounced jump to 16.8, compared with 15.35 in April. The contracts measure the 30-day implied volatility of the euro zone STOXX 50 index.
“We are seeing a bit of a kink around May when we have European elections and we have this wave of populism,” said Edmund Shing, head of equities and derivatives strategy at BNP Paribas.

Looming elections
More than 350 million EU citizens will head to the polls between May 23 and 26 to elect a new Parliament, a vote that will shape the future of the bloc amid a backlash against immigration and years of austerity.
Mainstream center-left and center-right lawmakers may lose control of the legislature for the first time, as euroskeptic and far-right candidates build support.
Herve Guyon, Societe Generale’s head of European equity derivatives flow strategy and solutions, said the rise of populism had triggered a recent flurry of speculative trades.
“Political uncertainty might be coming from the EU rather than the United States. We’ve seen investors doing very large trades to benefit from an increase in volatility around these events,” he said.
“We as a bank don’t expect the elections to be a massive game-changer. The populists won’t get enough to disrupt the political system, but we do note some investors did take some positions on this event.”
The implied volatility is still well below levels seen in late 2018 when global stock markets were routed amid worries about rising interest rates, slowing economic growth and the trade war between Beijing and Washington.
In late December, it shot to above 26, its highest since February.
But the flurry of activity suggests investors are seeking out new opportunities after a slide in implied volatility across major asset classes.
Edward Park, deputy chief investment officer at asset manager Brooks MacDonald, said some of the activity may also be due to persistent uncertainty about Britain’s exit from the European Union as the Brexit date of March 29 nears.
This year, volatility across currency, fixed income and stocks markets has plunged as the US Federal Reserve and European Central Bank have taken dovish policy stances.
The Deutsche Bank currency volatility indicator hit multi-year lows this week, while the proxy for fixed income volatility is languishing at all-time lows.
In stocks, the Cboe volatility index, Wall Street’s so-called “fear gauge,” fell to its weakest in six months this week.
“There’s been a cross-asset volatility crash — in euro-dollar, US rates and equities — in the aftermath of (ECB President Mario) Draghi’s and (Fed Chairman Jerome) Powell’s comments and the expectation of lower rates for longer,” said Guyon.