World’s largest dates festival opens in Buraidah

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Updated 10 October 2012
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World’s largest dates festival opens in Buraidah

BURAIDAH: The world’s largest dates festival opened here yesterday with farmers and venders presenting a variety of products worth millions of riyals. Sales during the 90-day event this year is expected to cross SR 1 billion.
Qassim Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar, who inaugurated the festival as well as the Date Palm Center in Buraidah, thanked the government for its generous support to date farmers and companies in the province.
“I am very happy to see the tremendous progress achieved by the Buraidah Dates Festival over the years. It helps marketing this vital product not only in the Kingdom but all over the world,” the governor said.
Prince Faisal said his governorate would do everything possible for the development of date palm farming in the region and conducting research on date palms. “We’ll make it a major source of economy,” he added.
The governor distributed prizes to winners of the best farm; outstanding service to dates and date palms; and the best scientific work on dates and datße palms. He also honored the festival’s sponsors and prominent participants.
During the 90-day festival around 300,000 tons of dates will be sold, reaching a combined sales figure of more than SR 1 billion. Last year the festival saw sales reaching SR 800 million.
“This is the peak season for dates and more than 2,000 vehicles are coming to Buraidah daily to sell thousands of tons of dates,” said Khaled Al-Naqeedan, CEO of Buraidah Dates Festival.
Sukkari is the most popular variety of dates being sold in the market, accounting for 80 percent of total sales. Good quality white and red Sukkari dates are sold from SR 50 per box. The prices will go up to SR 270, based on quality. Other types of dates include Hashishi, Aseela, Rothana and Al-Khalas.
Saudi Arabia has the highest number of palm trees in the world with more than 23 million accounting for 20 percent of world production. There are more than 6 million date palms in Qassim province alone.


Oil slips to around $63 as Iran concerns fade for now

Updated 9 min 54 sec ago
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Oil slips to around $63 as Iran concerns fade for now

  • US crude inventories expected to fall for 6th week
  • Goldman cuts 2019 oil demand forecast

LONDON: Oil slipped to around $63 a barrel on Tuesday as concerns faded for now that rising tensions in the Middle East would escalate and hit oil supplies, compounding the impact of a weaker demand outlook.
Iran’s capture of a British oil tanker last week sparked worries about supply disruptions in the Strait of Hormuz, through which about a fifth of the world’s oil flows, prompting crude to rally on Monday.
But oil prices have since pared some gains. Brent crude fell 31 cents to $62.95 a barrel by 1227 GMT on Tuesday. US West Texas Intermediate crude slipped 23 cents to $55.99.
“The response of oil prices to the seizure of a British oil tanker by armed Iranian forces near the Strait of Hormuz has been amazingly muted so far,” said Carsten Fritsch, analyst at Commerzbank.
“It appears that the majority of market participants are convinced that there will be no open conflict between the West and Iran,” he said.
The tensions come as the United States aims to cut off Iran’s oil exports and against the backdrop of supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries since the start of the year to prop up prices.
As part of US efforts, Washington has imposed sanctions on Chinese state-run energy company Zhuhai Zhenrong Co. Ltd. for allegedly violating restrictions imposed on Iran’s oil sector.
Despite lower Iranian exports and OPEC’s voluntary supply curbs, oil supply is exceeding demand due to strong growth in output from the United States and other non-OPEC producers, according to the International Energy Agency.
A weaker outlook for oil demand because of slowing economic growth has weighed on prices, which are still up by 18% in 2019 helped by the OPEC-led supply pact.
“Although prices had been driven by supply developments in the first half of the year economic considerations are making oil bulls careful this month,” said Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM.
Goldman Sachs lowered its 2019 oil demand projection on Sunday, joining other forecasters such as the IEA and OPEC in trimming its outlook for fuel use.
Oil may gain further support from expectations of another drop in US crude inventories in weekly reports due later on Tuesday and on Wednesday. Analysts expect a 3.4 million-barrel drop in crude stocks.
The American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, releases its inventory report at 2030 GMT.