Vision 2030 has helped Saudi economy’s accelerating pace of reforms, conference told

Governor of the Saudi Arabian Investment Authority (SAGIA) Ibrahim Al-Omar said the Kingdom was demonstrating mobility. (Arab News)
Updated 01 December 2018
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Vision 2030 has helped Saudi economy’s accelerating pace of reforms, conference told

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 has contributed to the accelerating pace of reforms and improving competitiveness, the governor of the Saudi Arabian Investment Authority (SAGIA) told a meeting.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the OECD Working Group for the Middle East and North Africa, Ibrahim Al-Omar said the Kingdom was demonstrating “great mobility as it rapidly develops and modernizes the country’s investment systems and procedures, a process that will enhance its position on the international investment map and increase the competitiveness of the Saudi economy.”

He said Saudi Arabia had many advantages in international trade and investment, “such as its important strategic location linking three continents and forming an ideal bridge between East and West, as well as the presence of diverse natural resources and a youthful workforce, nourished with generous government support of education and training.”

He said the government’s efforts in education would raise the level of young national talent and equip them with the skills necessary to meet the challenges faced with global competition.

Referring to reports issued by organizations such as the World Bank that placed the Kingdom fourth among the Group of 20 countries (G-20) in terms of the scope of economic reforms.

He said the reforms had advanced the country’s investment environment and “generated positive expectations by the International Monetary Fund on the Saudi economy and its growth rates over the next few years.”

Meanwhile Mohannad Shehadeh, Minister of State for Jordanian Investment, told the annual meeting that the Middle East and North Africa region was facing challenges  in providing job opportunities to a large and growing number of  job seekers.

Shehadeh said that the essential next steps would involve investing in the world, integrating global value chains, stimulating local investment, and expanding partnerships with the private sector.

He said this was especially the case given that the region holds “one of the most important keys to global trade through the rich resources and immense potential created by its geographical location bridging Eastern and Western markets.”

He said it was important to be optimistic about the commercial and investment capabilities of the MENA region.

And he said he was confident that the region would progress quickly towards a comprehensive and sustainable future, with good job opportunities and conditions for young people.

Speaking at a later discussion focused on investment regulations and policies, Deputy Governor of Investment Climate, Dr Ayed bin Hadi Al-Otaibi, said Saudi Arabia had submitted a new model for a unified agreement for Arab capital investment, which had been unanimously approved.

He said the role of government was central in providing the legislative structure and legal frameworks that contributed to the growth in inter-regional investments of the region’s countries.

Al-Otaibi said governments needed to intensify bilateral discussions between the business sector and other institutions in the region.

He said joint business councils needed to expand to help target private sector investments towards areas that would enable economic integration between countries, leveraging each country’s comparative advantage.


Oil prices rise on Libyan export interruption, but markets remain weak

Updated 11 December 2018
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Oil prices rise on Libyan export interruption, but markets remain weak

  • The rise came after crude prices dropped by 3 percent the session before amid ongoing weakness in global stock markets and concerns that slowing oil demand-growth could erode supply cuts
  • Crude futures have lost around a third of their value since early October amid the financial market slump and an emerging oil supply overhang

SINGAPORE: Oil prices edged up on Tuesday after Libya’s National Oil Company declared force majeure on exports from the El Sharara oilfield, which was seized at the weekend by a local militia group.
Despite that, overall sentiment on oil prices remained weak amid worries over global stock markets and doubts that planned supply cuts led by producer club OPEC will be enough to rein in oversupply.
International Brent crude oil futures were at $60.19 per barrel at 0336 GMT, up 19 cents, or 0.3 percent, from their last close.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $51.16 per barrel, up 16 cents, or 0.3 percent.
Libya’s National Oil Company (NOC) late on Monday declared force majeure on exports from the El Sharara oilfield, the country’s biggest, which was seized at the weekend by a militia group.
NOC said the shutdown would result in a production loss of 315,000 barrels per day (bpd), and an additional loss of 73,000 bpd at the El Feel oilfield.
The rise came after crude prices dropped by 3 percent the session before amid ongoing weakness in global stock markets and concerns that slowing oil demand-growth could erode supply cuts announced last week by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and some non-OPEC producers including Russia.
Crude futures have lost around a third of their value since early October amid the financial market slump and an emerging oil supply overhang.
In a show of no confidence, money managers cut their bullish wagers on crude to the lowest in more than two years in the week ending Dec. 4, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Monday.
The financial speculator group cut its combined futures and options position in New York and London by 25,619 contracts to 144,775 during the period. That is the lowest level since Sept. 20, 2016.
In physical markets, Kuwait and Iran this week both reduced their January crude oil supply prices to Asia
“There remains a lot of uncertainty if the production cut is thick enough to make a significant dent in global supply,” said Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at futures brokerage Oanda in Singapore.
“The general risk-off tone in global markets and the stronger dollar ... are contributing to the selling pressure.”
The OPEC-led group of oil producers last Friday announced a supply cut of 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) in crude oil supply from January, measured against October 2018 output levels.