Value of awarded contracts reaches SR220.8 billion in 2014

Updated 13 March 2015
0

Value of awarded contracts reaches SR220.8 billion in 2014

The value of awarded contracts in Saudi Arabia recaptured the loss in momentum that was witnessed during the third quarter to reach SR61.9 billion. The fourth quarter surge resulted in the total value of awarded contracts to settle at SR220.8 billion in 2014. Although the value of contract awards fell by 25 percent compared to 2013, 2014 still registered a strong performance, according to a report by the National Commercial Bank (NCB).
The main contributing sectors were oil & gas (SR48 billion), power (SR33 billion) and transportation (SR20 billion). The sectors that were earmarked for expenditures by the government as part of the 2014 budget were also well represented such as healthcare (SR15 billion), urban development (SR15 billion), roads (SR15 billion) and education (SR10 billion). During Q4, 2014, the main contributors were urban development (SR12 billion) oil & gas (SR11 billion), healthcare (SR10 billion), the report said.
The SR220.8 billion in awarded contracts during 2014 reflects the strength of the construction industry as the total value of contracts has exceeded SR200 billion over the last four consecutive years. Both physical and social infrastructure related sectors continued to grow compared to 2013, however it was the reduction in the size of mega projects that caused the decline in 2014.
While the value of awarded contracts during 2014 reflect the lowest amount during the last four years, it should not be construed as a weakening of the construction industry. The government’s plan as part of its announced 2015 budget reflects its desire to keep capital expenditures propped up while being faced with significant reductions in its revenues as oil prices continue to slide. The Ministry of Finance announced that 2,572 contracts worth SR184 billion were signed during 2014, reflecting an increase over 2013 by 10 percent in volume and 17 percent by value.
The NCB report said construction Contracts Index (CCI) ended the year at 234.48 points, nearly halving 2013’s 465.03 points. The CCI exhibited volatile swings during 2014 but nonetheless settled evenly to end the year. October’s strong performance resulted in the CCI reaching its highest level during Q4, 2014, settling at 353.81. The CCI dropped to 269.06 points during November. Looking ahead, the supply of projects that are entering the execution phase appear to be solid as indicated by the CCI’s performance.
The Eastern Province and Riyadh captured nearly equal shares of the value of awarded contracts during Q4, 2014. A majority of the Eastern Province’s projects were attributed to contracts being awarded in the oil & gas sector. Numerous infrastructure related contracts were awarded in Riyadh with particular emphasis on urban development, water and government sectors. The Madinah region witnessed two large contracts being awarded within the urban development and mixed-use real estate sectors. As for Asir and Al-Jouf, two contracts were awarded in the healthcare sector pertaining to the King Faisal Medical City in Abha and the Prince Mohammed Medical City in
Al-Jouf.
Backed by the government’s desire to enhance the Kingdom’s economy by continually investing heavily into its industries, the investment climate is seen as very favorable over the medium to long-term. While the Kingdom is prepared to weather stiff shortfalls in its revenues, it has
maintained that it will continue to focus on its capital expenditures unabatedly. “Thus, we should expect the government’s unwavering strategy to build on its capabilities as the regional leader in attracting investments to continue into 2015,” the bank said.
The Ministry of Finance’s budget press release highlighted the government’s plans to maintain its capital expenditures and is willing to dip into its vast foreign reserves to accomplish this goal. “Our projections for capital expenditures during 2015 are that it will reach SR239 billion, which is 29 percent higher than the Ministry of Finance’s projections. The area that has received the most attention for 2015 was health & social affairs, marking a drastic increase of 48 percent over 2014’s budget,” the bank said.


Oil slips to around $63 as Iran concerns fade for now

Updated 15 sec ago
0

Oil slips to around $63 as Iran concerns fade for now

  • US crude inventories expected to fall for 6th week
  • Goldman cuts 2019 oil demand forecast

LONDON: Oil slipped to around $63 a barrel on Tuesday as concerns faded for now that rising tensions in the Middle East would escalate and hit oil supplies, compounding the impact of a weaker demand outlook.
Iran’s capture of a British oil tanker last week sparked worries about supply disruptions in the Strait of Hormuz, through which about a fifth of the world’s oil flows, prompting crude to rally on Monday.
But oil prices have since pared some gains. Brent crude fell 31 cents to $62.95 a barrel by 1227 GMT on Tuesday. US West Texas Intermediate crude slipped 23 cents to $55.99.
“The response of oil prices to the seizure of a British oil tanker by armed Iranian forces near the Strait of Hormuz has been amazingly muted so far,” said Carsten Fritsch, analyst at Commerzbank.
“It appears that the majority of market participants are convinced that there will be no open conflict between the West and Iran,” he said.
The tensions come as the United States aims to cut off Iran’s oil exports and against the backdrop of supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries since the start of the year to prop up prices.
As part of US efforts, Washington has imposed sanctions on Chinese state-run energy company Zhuhai Zhenrong Co. Ltd. for allegedly violating restrictions imposed on Iran’s oil sector.
Despite lower Iranian exports and OPEC’s voluntary supply curbs, oil supply is exceeding demand due to strong growth in output from the United States and other non-OPEC producers, according to the International Energy Agency.
A weaker outlook for oil demand because of slowing economic growth has weighed on prices, which are still up by 18% in 2019 helped by the OPEC-led supply pact.
“Although prices had been driven by supply developments in the first half of the year economic considerations are making oil bulls careful this month,” said Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM.
Goldman Sachs lowered its 2019 oil demand projection on Sunday, joining other forecasters such as the IEA and OPEC in trimming its outlook for fuel use.
Oil may gain further support from expectations of another drop in US crude inventories in weekly reports due later on Tuesday and on Wednesday. Analysts expect a 3.4 million-barrel drop in crude stocks.
The American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, releases its inventory report at 2030 GMT.