Saudi market’s growth prospects spur investors

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Updated 25 April 2015

Saudi market’s growth prospects spur investors

The Saudi stock market continued its positive drive for the third consecutive week, witnessing the long-term upward trend last week.
Growth prospects as a result of Capital Market Authority's (CMA’s) decision of market opening to direct foreign investment in June tended to attract a pack of investors.
A considerable amount of volume two billion shares exchanged hands on the Saudi stock market, a weekly growth of 30.7 percent.
Bulls continued to pump more and more liquidity, which rose to a significant level of SR56.1 billion, up 41.7 percent over the previous week.
The benchmark Tadawul All-Share Index set out with a highest one-day settle (four percent) of the year, which remained almost intact. The index logged a weekly gain of 3.93 percent or 363.4 points to finish at 9,614.61.
Its weekly trading range expanded further to 449 points as compared to previous week's 349 points. TASI also logged a healthy YTD return of 15.38 percent.
Total market capitalization of Saudi stock exchange increased further (+4.24 percent) to SR2.1 trillion.
Fourteen out of Tadawul's fifteen sectors witnessed a positive weekly change, accumulating an aggregate of 4,132 points.
Petrochemical sector outperformed, up 468.7 points or 7.8 percent to close the week at 6,475.99. The sector’s flagship Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) soared up over 11 percent in a week, closing at SR96.87.
Media and Telecom were other significant advancing sectors, which gained 5.65 percent and 4.1 percent respectively. The heavyweight Saudi Telecom Company rose 8.64 percent to SR68.5.
Only Energy & Utilities sector slipped half percent for the week.
Weekly market breadth was strong, as rising stocks outnumbered decliners by a margin of four-to-one on the Tadawul market.
Furthermore, upside-downside volume ratio of 7.2:1 remained largely positive.
Ash Sharqiyah Development Co. (+23.28 percent), Allied Insurance Group (+19.97 percent) and Saudi Land Transport Co. (MUBARRAD) (+14.02 percent) showing notable gains became the top weekly performers among all Saudi stocks.
BUPA Arabia for Cooperative Insurance hit a fresh all-time high of SR231 during the week, up 11.51 percent to SR222.75.
Dar Al-Arkan Real Estate with trades over 298 million shares secured its most active status, a relative market share of 15 percent roughly.
While, Alinma Bank with a turnover of SR6 billion topped the liquidity chart, closing at SR24.15. The bank advanced 5.64 percent last week.
Most of the major benchmark indices at GCC stock markets ended the week in green.

Taps and reservoirs run dry as Moroccan drought hits farmers

Updated 22 October 2020

Taps and reservoirs run dry as Moroccan drought hits farmers

  • The problems caused by increasingly erratic rainfall and the depletion of groundwater are growing every year in Morocco

RABAT: Two years of drought have drained reservoirs in southern Morocco, threatening crops the region relies on and leading to nightly cuts in tap water for an area that is home to a million people.

In a country that relies on farming for two jobs in five and 14 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP), the problems caused by increasingly erratic rainfall and the depletion of groundwater are growing every year.

In the rich citrus plantations of El-Guerdan, stretching eastward from the southern city of Agadir, more than half of farmers rely on two dams in the mountains of Aoulouz, 126 km away, to irrigate their trees.

However, that water has been diverted to the tourist hub of Agadir, where mains water has been cut to residential areas every night since Oct. 3 to ensure taps in households did not run entirely dry.

“The priority should go to drinking water,” Agriculture Minister Aziz Akhannouch said in parliament last week.

In El-Guerdan, Youssef Jebha’s crop of clementine oranges has been compromised by reduced water supply, he said, which affects both the quality of fruit and the size of the harvest.

“The available ground water is barely enough to keep the trees alive,” said Jebha, who is head of a regional farmers’ association.

“Saving Agadir should not be at the expense of El-Guerdan farmers,” he added, speaking by phone.

‘We hope for rain’

El-Guerdan is not alone in facing drought. Morocco’s harvest of cereals this year was less than half that of 2019, meaning hundreds of millions of dollars of extra import costs.

Despite lower production, Moroccan exports of fresh produce have risen this year by 8 percent. 

Critics of the government’s agricultural policy say such sales are tantamount to exporting water itself, given the crops use up so many resources.

A report by Morocco’s social and environmental council, an official advisory body, warned that four-fifths of the country’s water resources could vanish over the next 25 years.

It also warned of the risks to social peace due to water scarcity. In 2017, 23 people were arrested after protests over water shortages in the southeastern city of Zagora.

In January the government said it would spend $12 billion on boosting water supply over the next seven years by building new dams and desalination plants.

One $480 million plant, with a daily capacity of 400,000 cubic meters, is expected to start pumping in March, with the water divided between residential areas and farms.

Until then, “We hope for rain,” the agriculture minister said in parliament.

In El-Guerdan, the farmers are digging for water. A new well costs $20,000-30,000. However, “there is no guarantee water can be found due to the depletion of ground reserves,” said Ahmed Bounaama, another farmer.