PIF in fresh drive to boost Saudi Arabia’s green credentials

View shows the King Abdullah Financial District, north of Riyadh. A Public Investment Fund initiatives aims to increase energy efficiency across government and public buildings. (Reuters)
Updated 19 October 2017
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PIF in fresh drive to boost Saudi Arabia’s green credentials

LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has announced the establishment of a new energy service company, Super Esco, to increase energy efficiency across government and public buildings.
A royal decree has been issued requiring government entities to contract Super Esco on an exclusive basis in order to improve energy efficiency. The company was established to stimulate growth in efficiency industries, in line with the objectives of Vision 2030 to diversify the Saudi economy and drive environmental sustainability.
In partnership with the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, the Ministry of Finance, and the Saudi Energy Efficiency Center, Super Esco will provide new investment opportunities by creating partnerships with the private sector to deliver projects.
Projects in Saudi Arabia’s energy efficiency sector have an estimated value of SR 42 billion ($11.2 billion), or around SR 3 billion annually. Internationally, the sector is valued at SR 130 billion, with projects in the US, Europe, and China accounting for 90 percent of the global market share.
Super Esco has been established with a capitalization of SR 1.9 billion. The company will fund and manage the retrofit of government and public buildings, which represent over 70 percent of overall projects in the sector. These projects will help reduce government spending on the electricity sector, which will in turn reduce natural resource consumption while rationalizing capital investments in expansion projects for the production, generation, transmission, and distribution of
electricity.
Earlier this week PIA launched an initiative designed to increase waste recycling in the Kingdom from 10 percent to 85 percent. A new unit will develop and operate projects to decrease landfill and boost recycling and link with private companies to forge new partnerships.
The Kingdom currently recycles around 10 percent of the 45.3 million tons of recyclable waste it produces, with 90 percent diverted to landfills, preliminary studies by PIF have found. More than 40 percent of the Kingdom’s recyclable materials are produced in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam. 
PIF’s plan aims at using some recyclable materials as a source of alternative energy for the manufacturing sector. 
Working alongside global strategic partners and renowned investment managers, PIF acts as the Kingdom’s main invest-ment arm to deliver a strategy focused on achieving attractive financial returns and long-term value for KSA.
PIF aims to be the world’s most impactful investor, “enabling the creation of new sectors and opportunities that will shape the future global economy, while driving the economic transformation of Saudi Arabia,” it has stated.


Relief for UK buyers as consumer prices drop more than expected

Updated 28 min 58 sec ago
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Relief for UK buyers as consumer prices drop more than expected

  • Consumer prices rose at an annual rate of 2.4 percent, more than reversing August’s jump to a six-month high of 2.7 percent
  • The figures are likely to reassure Bank of England officials

LONDON: British inflation fell more than expected in September to a three-month low, offering some relief to consumers who have been squeezed financially since the Brexit vote.
Consumer prices rose at an annual rate of 2.4 percent, more than reversing August’s jump to a six-month high of 2.7 percent, the Office for National Statistics said.
That was well below the consensus forecast of 2.6 percent in a Reuters poll of economists.
Sterling fell against the dollar and euro while British government bond prices rose.
The figures are likely to reassure Bank of England officials who forecast in August that inflation would average around 2.5 percent over the July-September quarter.
“Coupled with the gradual up-tick in wages, the slowing rise in prices will deliver a boost to consumers’ real take-home pay packets, which will also be welcome news for retailers,” said Tej Parikh, senior economist at the Institute of Directors.
“The Bank of England will be unruffled by this week’s data releases, and remains unlikely to budge on interest rates as it continues to monitor the impact of Brexit developments.” The BoE expects it will need to raise interest rates gradually in response to rising wages, assuming Britain manages to strike a deal with the European Union to smooth its exit from the bloc.
On Tuesday, the ONS said the basic wages of workers had risen at their fastest pace in nearly a decade over the summer months.
But wage growth of 3.1 percent remains meagre by historical standards when adjusted for inflation.
The BoE expects inflation to drift down but stay just above its 2 percent target in two years’ time as it gradually raises borrowing costs.
Consumer price inflation hit a five-year high of 3.1 percent in November, when the inflationary effect of the pound’s tumble after the Brexit vote in June 2016 reached its peak.
The ONS said food prices, particularly of meat and chocolate, represented the biggest drag on September’s inflation rate.
Ferry prices dropped from a “surprisingly high” summer peak.
Still, there could be more short-term pressure in the pipeline for consumer prices.
For manufacturers, the cost of raw materials — many of them imported — was 10.3 percent higher than in September 2017, up from a revised 9.4 percent in August.
That was a bigger jump than any economist had forecast in the Reuters poll, which anticipated a rise of 9.2 percent.
Manufacturers increased the prices they charged by 3.1 percent compared with 2.9 percent in August, again stronger than all forecasts in the poll, which had pointed to a 2.9 percent increase.
The ONS said house prices in August rose by an annual 3.2 percent across the UK as a whole, the smallest rise since August 2013 and compared with a 3.4 percent increase in July.
Prices in London alone slipped 0.2 percent.