Australia keen to increase exports to Saudi Arabia

Updated 19 September 2013
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Australia keen to increase exports to Saudi Arabia

Australia is looking for increasing its exports to Saudi Arabia. It is with this aim and also to further boost the bilateral trade that an Australian food and agriculture trade mission participated in the international agriculture and agro-industry trade show, which ended in Riyadh on Wednesday (Sept 18).
The trade mission, which came from the Australian State of Victoria also held a networking session with Saudi businessmen at the Australian embassy in Diplomatic Quarter on Tuesday night focusing on potential tie-ups in the agriculture and food processing industry.
Australian Ambassador Neil Hawkins opened the networking session to facilitate the interaction between the businessmen of two countries.
Saudi Arabia is one of the largest regional market for Victoria's commodity exports and largest market for food and beverage, including meat processing.
Speaking to Arab News, John Butler, commissioner to the Middle East for the Victoria government, said, “Victoria has announced it is looking to build on its 140 million Australian dollar (SR500 million) food, beverage and fiber exports to the Kingdom.”
Victoria is open for business, with a triple A-rated economy larger than that of Singapore and Hong Kong, he said, adding while it accounts for only three percent of Australia's land mass, it is responsible for 25 percent of the country's economic activity, he said.
Victoria is in Saudi Arabia this week as part of a food and agriculture trade mission that saw 15 of the state’s leading companies exploring business and trade opportunities during the international agriculture and agro-industry trade show in Riyadh, which is regarded as the Middle East's largest agriculture exhibition, he added.
“The objective of this mission is for the companies to showcase their products and services, discuss business opportunities with potential Saudi partners, participate in business to business meetings, network and maintain the existing relationship between Victoria and the Kingdom,” said Butler.
He added, “Saudi Arabia is Victoria’s sixth largest trading partner and its total export is valued to the tune of $750 million of which food and beverages contribute $140 million and the trend is increasing.”
He stated that the trade balance is strongly in favor of Australia. “We deeply value the relationship we have with the Kingdom,” he asserted.
Butler added: “The Victorian exporters taking part in this mission are committed to the Saudi food market and are ready to create new trade and investment, and develop even closer partnerships to increase exports to the Kingdom.”
He maintained that the Middle East is a major and fast growing trading partner for Victoria.
Butler, who also represents Victoria in north African countries, said, “Victoria’s food and beverage, and fiber exports to the Middle East and North Africa in 2013 was worth $1.3 billion, a 15 percent increase on the previous year.
The state was the first in Australia to establish a presence in the region when it opened the Victorian Government Business Office in Dubai in 1997, he added.
He said the food and agriculture trade mission from Victoria consisted of food and agriculture sectors, including meat, dairy, animal feed, baby food, seafood, aquaculture, commodities and retail products suppliers, notably Bonkers Trading Group-Baby Royale, a halal baby food manufacturer, and Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory, Australia's oldest dairy company and one of the largest manufacturers and exporters of dairy products in Australia.
But apart from these there are other potential areas of partnership between Victoria and the Kingdom, which include automobile industry, Institutions of higher learning in Victoria, including its capital Melbourne for higher education of young Saudi nationals.
Sharing their names, he said the Saudi students can go to Monash University, Melbourne university and Li Taobe university, which are also partnering here with Saudi universities to assist local students.


Egypt stock market plunges as retail investors take flight

Updated 19 September 2018
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Egypt stock market plunges as retail investors take flight

  • Biggest index drop in Egypt since mid-2016
  • Saudi Arabia outperforms in Gulf

LONDON: Egyptian stocks tumbled to their lowest level this year on Wednesday as retail investors took flight.
A sharp rise in Suez Canal revenues, a major foreign exchange earner for the country, was not enough to quell investors concerns about the strength of the currency.
The main Egyptian stock index lost 3.8 percent which some fund managers blamed on generally negative sentiment toward emerging markets worldwide as well as more local speculation about possible currency devaluation.
“Our channel checks suggest the sell-off in the Egyptian market is local retail and institutions driven, on currency fears and speculation over a further round of devaluation,” said Vrajesh Bhandari, portfolio manager at Al Mal in Dubai, Reuters reported.
“Selling is further intensified as margin calls are triggered and technical support levels break down. The country canceled three consecutive Treasury auctions, citing investors’ unrealistic yield demands.”
Egypt’s Suez Canal revenues rose to $502.2 million in August up 6.7 percent from a year earlier according to official data released on Wednesday.
Elsewhere regional stock markets closed mostly lower with the exceptions of Abu Dhabi which edged 0.2 percent higher and Saudi Arabia, the best regional performer, which rose by 1.1 percent.
Saudi stocks are benefiting from the strong oil price which eased slightly yesterday but still hovered just under $79.
OPEC and some other oil producers including Russia will meet in Algeria on Sept. 23 to discuss how to allocate supply increases within their quota framework to offset the loss of oil exports from Iran following the introduction of sanctions by the US.
Those measures will come into force on Nov. 4 and data suggests that buyers are already retreating from Iranian crude purchases.
A key question for the oil price as well as regional stock markets in the weeks ahead will be the extent to which other Gulf oil exporters can compenaste for the loss of Iranian supplies by pumping more.