Saudi retailers set for Ramadan boost

Clothing stores receive a large boost during the month of Ramadan. (Getty)
Updated 23 May 2018
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Saudi retailers set for Ramadan boost

  • Some 66 percent of Saudi shoppers make either planned or impulsive purchases during Ramadan, according to YouGov poll.
  • Around half of all respondents were looking at specific brand offerings for mobile devices, cars, computers and laptops.

LONDON: Ramadan is set to provide a lift for Saudi retailers, with a survey showing that more than a third of consumers believe the holy month is the best time to go shopping and find bargains, according to YouGov.
The data identified 66 percent of KSA respondents to be “Ramadan shoppers” — those who make either planned or impulsive purchases during the period.
Almost 50 percent were said to have specific purchases in mind.
YouGov’s data also revealed that certain sectors were more popular than others, with slightly over half — 51 percent — looking at clothing.
Elsewhere, 45 percent were targeting grocery and fresh produce bargains, and 36 percent mobile phones.
The study suggested that brands matter when it comes to big ticket Ramadan purchases. Around half of all respondents were looking at specific brand offerings for mobile devices, cars, computers and laptops.
Retailers throughout the region are coming under increasing pressure as more shoppers migrate to online while economic uncertainty hits consumer spending.
Despite the growth in online retailing over recent years, YouGov’s research shows that relatively few (16 percent) plan to shop exclusively online during Ramadan. Instead, the majority plan to spend at least some of their shopping time in stores and malls.
Many customers learn about offers online, however. Around two in five find out about promotions via social media ads (42 percent) and internet ads (40 percent), while a quarter (24 percent) hear through promotional emails or text messages from companies and brands.
Kerry McLaren, YouGov director, said: “Ramadan represents an enormous opportunity — both for retailers and customers. By understanding the mindset of the Ramadan shopper, retailers and advertisers can reach them more effectively.”


World oil demand, refining growth to peak in 2035 — Unipec

Updated 6 min 6 sec ago
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World oil demand, refining growth to peak in 2035 — Unipec

  • Improved energy efficiency and technological changes, including the rise of renewables, meant global oil demand growth would slow in coming years before peaking in 2035
  • The switch to cleaner fuels will boost global demand for liquefied natural gas
SINGAPORE: World oil demand will peak at 104.4 million barrels per day (bpd) in the mid-2030s, up from just below 100 million bpd currently, as new technologies gradually eat into oil use, China’s Unipec said on Monday.
Improved energy efficiency and technological changes, including the rise of renewables, meant global oil demand growth would slow in coming years before peaking in 2035, Unipec President Chen Bo told the annual Asia Pacific Petroleum Conference (APPEC).
This in turn will slow growth in global oil refining capacity, which is set to hit 5.6 billion tons per year in 2035, he said.
“We believe 2018-2035 will be the last cycle of global refining capacity expansion. After 2035, it is difficult to see large-scale refining projects in construction, except for some small upgrade projects and petrochemical projects,” said Chen.
Unipec is the trading arm of Asia’s largest refiner Sinopec.
The switch to cleaner fuels will also boost global demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG), particularly in the Asia Pacific, after 2025, he added.
An escalating trade war between China, the largest energy importer, and the United States has dampened the Asian nation’s demand for US crude oil and LNG.
The United States exported 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil to China in the first half of 2018, and 56 cargoes of LNG through July, or roughly 10 percent of its total LNG exports, according to official data.
Despite the trade dispute, Chen said US crude supply was an important new source for Chinese refiners as it allowed diversification from Middle East and African crudes.
Trade war tensions between the two countries would last “for the time being, and in the future we’ll be active in this area,” he added.
Beijing has excluded US crude imports from its tariffs list so far, but most Chinese buyers are staying away from US oil as the trade war shows no signs of cooling.
Unipec resumed loading US crude in September after a two-month hiatus.
China is also under pressure from the US to reduce its Iranian oil imports as Washington aims to cut exports from OPEC’s third-largest exporter to zero to force Tehran to negotiate a nuclear treaty.
Buyers in Europe, Japan, South Korea and India have either stopped or are reducing Iranian oil imports sharply ahead of the introduction of sanctions in November.
“I expect we’ll cut a little but the volume has not been finalized,” Chen said, without giving a timeframe for the cuts.
He added that Unipec has resumed normal loadings of Saudi oil after it cut imports in May-July.
Given the current supply and demand dynamic in global markets, Chen said, crude oil prices between at $60 and $80 per barrel were normal.