Iran hails oil-for-goods deal with South Korea

Washington unilaterally reimposed a crippling oil embargo on Iran last month following its withdrawal in May from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal. (File/AFP)
Updated 01 December 2018

Iran hails oil-for-goods deal with South Korea

  • South Korea has cut Iranian oil purchases to zero from an estimated 285,000 barrels per day in the first six months of the year
  • South Korea is Iran’s third largest trade partner after China and the United Arab Emirates

TEHRAN: Iran said Saturday it had finalized a deal with South Korea to trade oil for goods, skirting renewed US sanctions.
“A mechanism has been devised for returning oil export revenues from South Korea, by which Iran’s oil export revenue will be bartered with imported goods,” Hossein Tanhayi, head of the Iran-South Korea chamber of commerce, told state news agency IRNA.
Washington unilaterally reimposed a crippling oil embargo on Iran last month following its withdrawal in May from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal.
South Korea — a close political ally of the United States — has cut Iranian oil purchases to zero from an estimated 285,000 barrels per day in the first six months of the year, according to Bloomberg figures.
The sanctions also target Iran’s banking sector and its ability to bring dollars into the country, but leave open the possibility of trade in goods.
Tanhayi did not give details of the mechanism, but said a “joint fund” could be opened between their respective central banks.
South Korea is Iran’s third largest trade partner after China and the United Arab Emirates.
Bilateral trade has dropped from $12 billion in 2017 to $5.7 for the first 10 months of 2018, according to the chamber of commerce.


Saudi mall operator Arabian Centres bucks retail malaise as profits surge

Updated 21 August 2019

Saudi mall operator Arabian Centres bucks retail malaise as profits surge

  • Mall operator defies online shopping pressure by lowering discounts to tenants, boosting occupancy and rental revenues

LONDON: Arabian Centres, the Saudi mall operator which went public in May, said first-quarter consolidated net profit almost trebled to SR227 million ($60.53 million) as occupancy edged higher across its shopping centers. Revenues increased by about 2.5 percent over the year to SR572.5 million.

The results helped to propel the group’s shares 3 percent higher on Tuesday.

The group said that it boosted performance by offering lower discounts to its tenants which helped to drive rental revenues. Like-for-like occupancy across all malls increased  to 93.2 percent from 92.4 percent in the year earlier period. Finance costs fell by about 65 percent from a year earlier to SR73.9 million.

FASTFACT

 

27 - Arabian Centres plans to expand its mall portfolio to 27 within four years.

Retailers across the Middle East are coming under increased pressure as more consumers shop online, while at the same time, tourists are spending less in dollar-pegged economies because their purchasing power has been cut by the strength of the greenback. Still, in Saudi Arabia, the under-served retail market is expected to receive a boost from rising investment in the entertainment sector, especially new cinemas.

“Faced with the rising challenge of online shopping, the brick-and-mortar retail segment has sought to diversify its offering to secure its customer base, providing an increased range of leisure and entertainment facilities,” said Oxford Business Group, in a report analyzing emerging trends in the Saudi retail sector.

“The reintroduction of cinemas to the Kingdom in April last year ... is expected to increase retail footfall,” it said.

Arabian Centres, majority-owned by Fawaz Alhokair Group, listed its shares on the Tadawul stock exchange in May — the first to do so in the Kingdom under Rule 144a, allowing the sale of securities, mainly to qualified institutional buyers in the US.

The group aims to expand to 27 malls within four years.