EU asks China to meet its globalization promises

EU asks China to meet its globalization promises
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos in January painted a picture of China as an open economy in contrast to a rising wave of global protectionism. (Reuters)
Updated 09 May 2017

EU asks China to meet its globalization promises

EU asks China to meet its globalization promises

BEIJING: Europe hopes China will deliver its pro-globalization pledges by increasing foreign access to its own markets, the EU’s ambassador to China said on Tuesday ahead of a summit to discuss Beijing’s signature new Silk Road development plan.
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos in January painted a picture of China as an open economy in contrast to a rising wave of global protectionism.
However, the Chinese government has faced increasingly fervent criticism from foreign business groups and governments alike, who say China has done little to remove discriminatory policies and market barriers that favor Chinese companies.
EU Ambassador to China Hans Dietmar Schweisgut said Europe was impressed by Xi’s defense of globalization and open markets in Davos, calling them important messages.
“They are important also because they have raised expectations,” Schweisgut told a press briefing. “We obviously also hope that China will implement domestically what it is preaching globally.”
Schweisgut’s comments come days before next week’s “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) forum, which will draw heads of state to Beijing to discuss Xi’s plan to expand trade links between Asia, Africa and Europe through billions of dollars in infrastructure investment.
China has repeatedly rebuffed concerns that the plan is part of a grand strategy to expand its economic interests and seek global dominance, saying that while it is a Chinese-led scheme anyone can join to boost common prosperity.
Representatives from more than 100 countries will attend the summit, China’s biggest diplomatic event of the year, though only one leader from the Group of Seven (G-7) industrialized nations, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, is set to join.
Jyrki Katainen, EU Commission vice president for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness, will attend for the EU.
Schweisgut said Europe supported carefully vetted initiatives to upgrade infrastructure in Eurasia, which could unleash “growth potential for all.”
“It is in our view something that should also be based on open platforms with sustainability in terms of financing, market-based principles, like open and transparent tender procedures. All of these are very important principles to make it succeed,” Schweisgut said.

Financial stability
China will pay close attention to the impact of non-bank financial institutions on financial stability, which could have global repercussions, according to a central bank working paper published on Tuesday.
In recent years non-bank institutions such as trust and investment companies, or fund and asset management firms have expanded their activity — much of it a less regulated form of lending — even as policymakers have tried to rein in leverage in the Chinese economy.
“Though banks still dominate China’s financial system, non-bank financial institutions have considerable influence as well,” the paper published on the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) website said.
The paper analyzed the impact of changes in China’s stock market and financial sector on developed countries — the US, Britain, Germany and Japan.
“China’s financial sector exerts considerable influence on global financial markets, especially on the Japanese financial sector,” it said.
The central bank has gingerly raised short-term rates recently to contain financial risks and encourage companies to deleverage, though economists expect authorities will move cautiously to avoid hurting economic growth.


Dubai real-estate transactions surge 43% in March as sector rebounds

Dubai real-estate transactions surge 43% in March as sector rebounds
Updated 23 April 2021

Dubai real-estate transactions surge 43% in March as sector rebounds

Dubai real-estate transactions surge 43% in March as sector rebounds
  • The value of property transactions jumped 40 percent YOY in March
  • Real-estate agents earned 392 million dirhams in commission in Q1

RIYADH: Dubai real-estate transactions jumped 43 percent year over year in March 2021 to 6,590 as investors flooded back into the sector.

The value of sales rose 40 percent to 22.9 billion dirhams ($6.2 billion), according to the real estate bulletin issued by Dubai Land Department (DLD), WAM reported. The number of transactions was the second highest monthly total since February 2017.

The bulletin highlighted continued attractiveness of the real estate sector to new investors, with 5,683 entering the market in Q1 2021, representing 64 percent of the total number of investors in the period.

The value of commissions achieved by active real estate brokers reached 392 million dirhams in Q1 2021, while 143,374 rental contracts were recorded in Q1 2021, 57 percent of which were new contracts and 43 percent were renewed.

The bulletin highlighted the top five areas for investor attractiveness. In villa sales, Hadaeq Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid topped the list in Q1 2021, followed by Wadi Al Safa 5, Wadi Al Safa 7, Nad Al Sheba 1, and Al Thanyah Fourth. In apartment sales, Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah, Business Bay, Burj Khalifa, and Al Merkadh topped the list in Q1 2021.

Sales of luxury villas, sea-view apartments and second-hand family houses jumped in March, re-energizing a property market that saw a sharp fall in activity at the height of the pandemic and had been in a five-year slump prior to that, Reuters reported at the time.

S&P Global credit analyst Sapna Jagtiani does not expect Dubai’s real estate market to recover to pre-pandemic levels until next year, the agency said.


Red Sea Project uses smart light systems as it seeks dark sky accreditation

Red Sea Project uses smart light systems as it seeks dark sky accreditation
Updated 23 April 2021

Red Sea Project uses smart light systems as it seeks dark sky accreditation

Red Sea Project uses smart light systems as it seeks dark sky accreditation
  • Smart systems help reduce waste and minimize light pollution
  • Red Sea Project wants to be certified by the International Dark Sky Association

RIYADH: All Red Sea Project assets, including resorts, hotels and facilities, run through smart control systems that allow enough light as needed while being careful to save energy consumption and reduce waste, said Myriam Yaniz, director of lighting management at the company.

Red Sea Project is using the technology as it looks to be certified as an International Dark Sky Place by the International Dark Sky Association.

The company reviews different scenarios to know the adequate amount of lighting required during different times of the day and during the different seasons, Yaniz told Al Eqtisadiyah paper, during the World's Earth Day celebration on Thursday.

"At the design stage and during the first meeting of any destination project, our night vision is conveyed to our team of consultants and provided with our list of criteria to ensure that the work is carried out accordingly," she said.

Red Sea Project is a land and property development on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast announced by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in July 2017.


Saudi bank deposit growth accelerated to 11-month high in February

Saudi bank deposit growth accelerated to 11-month high in February
Updated 23 April 2021

Saudi bank deposit growth accelerated to 11-month high in February

Saudi bank deposit growth accelerated to 11-month high in February
  • Bank deposit growth was the fastest since March 2020

RIYADH: Bank deposits in Saudi Arabia grew during February at the fastest pace since March 2020 as the economy continued to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic.

Deposits reached SR1.96 trillion ($522.5 billion) at the end of February, an increase of 1.83 percent, the most since the previous March’s 1.92 percent gain, Al Eqtisadiah reported, citing SAMA data.

On an annual basis, bank deposits in Saudi Arabia increased by 10.2 percent, or SR180.47 billion. Individual and corporate deposits, which made up 74.6 percent of total deposits, increased by 9.8 percent year over year.

Demand deposits increased 14.2 percent to SR1.29 trillion in the 12 months to the end of February, making up 88 percent of total deposits with savings and foreign deposits accounting for the rest.


Egypt and Russia agree to resume all flights, including to resorts

Egypt and Russia agree to resume all flights, including to resorts
Updated 23 April 2021

Egypt and Russia agree to resume all flights, including to resorts

Egypt and Russia agree to resume all flights, including to resorts
CAIRO: Egypt and Russia have agreed to resume all flights between the two countries in a call between their presidents, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Vladimir Putin, Egypt’s presidency said in a statement.
Flights to resort destinations Sharm Al-Sheikh and Hurghada were suspended after a Russian passenger plane crashed in Sinai in October 2015, killing 224 people.
The Egyptian statement did not specify a timeline for the resumption of flights, but Russia’s Interfax news agency reported this week that flights could resume in the second half of May.
An Airbus A321, operated by Metrojet, had been taking Russian holiday makers home from Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg in 2015, when it broke up over the Sinai Peninsula, killing all on board. A group affiliated with Daesh militants claimed responsibility.
The decision to resume flights followed “the joint cooperation between the two sides on this issue, and based on the standards of security and convenience provided for visits at Egyptian tourist destination airports,” the statement said.

Egypt raises domestic fuel prices for first time since subsidy reform

Egypt raises domestic fuel prices for first time since subsidy reform
Updated 23 April 2021

Egypt raises domestic fuel prices for first time since subsidy reform

Egypt raises domestic fuel prices for first time since subsidy reform
  • Egypt lowered fuel prices in October 2019 following protests
  • Egypt phased out fuel subsidies on the advice of the IMF

RIYADH: Egypt’s price-setting committee raised domestic fuel prices on Friday for the first time since it was formed in October 2019 following the completion of subsidy reforms, the petroleum ministry said in a statement.

Prices were last raised in July 2019 when Egypt, a net oil importer, finished phasing out subsides on fuel products as part of a reform program backed by the International Monetary Fund. Prices had remained stable over the past year after being lowered in April 2020 and October 2019.

The prices of 80-octane, 92-octane, and 95-octane fuel were raised by 0.25 Egyptian pounds each, to 6.25 Egyptian pounds ($0.40), 7.5, and 8.5 pounds per liter, respectively, the statement said.

The pricing committee’s mechanism links energy prices to international markets, and takes into account the exchange rate as well as the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, the statement said.

Egypt lowered fuel prices in October 2019 following several rounds of price hikes as part of an austerity program that triggered discontent, including protests against President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.