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.


Oil slips even as OPEC mulls cut

Updated 1 min ago
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Oil slips even as OPEC mulls cut

  • US crude stockpiles have grown for eight straight weeks, and data last week showed inventories swelled by the most in more than a year
  • A trade dispute between the US and China is one reason investors are a lot warier about the outlook for oil demand growth next year

NEW YORK: Oil futures fell about 1 percent on Monday amid global oversupply worries, but losses were muted as investors eyed potential sanctions on Iran from the EU, a possible production cut from OPEC and slightly bullish storage drawdown in US crude stocks.
Brent crude was down 70 cents a barrel at $66.06 at 4:37 p.m. GMT, having recovered from a session low at $65.27. US crude futures traded 15 cents lower at $56.31 a barrel.
EU foreign ministers endorsed a French government decision to sanction Iranian nationals accused of a bomb plot in France, potentially allowing the measures to take effect across the bloc, three diplomats said.
Potential sanctions from the EU would come as the US has granted waivers to some of Iran’s oil customers, muting the policy’s expected impact on global supplies.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, is pushing for the group and its partners to reduce output by 1 million to 1.4 million barrels per day to prevent a build-up of unused fuel.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that Russia, which is not an OPEC member, planned to sign a partnership agreement with the group, and that details would be discussed at OPEC’s Dec. 6 meeting in Vienna.
“For a cut to be successful in supporting the market, they’re going to have to present a front that is not fractured and the chance of that is looking less and less likely as Dec. 6 approaches,” said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho in New York.
While a large cut would be supportive of crude futures, clear signals from producers are needed to lift prices notably, Yawger said. “We lack any certainty other than that the market is oversupplied in the US and everybody else is trying to deal with it.”
US crude stockpiles have grown for eight straight weeks, and data last week showed inventories swelled by the most in more than a year, weighing on the market.
Traders said futures pared losses on bullish stockpile data Monday as they said that energy information provider Genscape reported that crude inventories fell in the week ended Friday.
Brent is almost 25 percent below early October’s 2018 peak of $86.74, as evidence of slowing demand has materialized and output from the US, Russia and Saudi Arabia hit historic highs.
“Oil prices rose (last week) on the hope that OPEC and partners will act to reverse bearish sentiment, but from a technical set-up, bear mode remains intact,” OANDA strategist Stephen Innes said.
A trade dispute between the US and China is one reason investors are a lot warier about the outlook for oil demand growth next year.
Fund managers cut their bullish exposure to crude futures and options to the lowest since around mid-2017 this month.
Weekly exchange data shows money managers hold a combined net long position equivalent to around 364 million barrels of US and Brent crude futures and options, down from over 800 million barrels two months ago.
“The main trend remains bearish as investors no longer believe in a risk of supply tightness for crude,” ActivTrades chief analyst Carlo Alberto De Casa said.