Global halal food sector set to boom as market grows

An employee shows a halal bowl of cut fruit at a dining hall in a university near Tokyo. The halal food industry has ballooned globally. (Reuters)
Updated 28 November 2017

Global halal food sector set to boom as market grows

LONDON: The global halal food and beverage (F&B) market is set to boom in the next five years, driven by new entrants to the market.
The sector is expected to grow from $1.24 trillion in 2016 to reach $1.93 trillion by 2022, according to the “State of the Global Islamic Economy” report.
“Halal food is the largest and most diverse sector of the Islamic economy. New entrants have come into the market, and product offerings have firmly moved beyond being meat-focused to include candy, ready-made meals, snacks and children’s food,” said the report, published by Dubai Islamic Economy Development Center (DIEDC) in conjunction with Thomson Reuters:
It revealed that Muslim spend on food and beverages is growing at nearly double that of global growth — creating significant opportunities for investment and the creation of global halal food brands.
Commenting on the report, Imran Kausar, co-founder of London-headquartered multinational halal food firm Haloodies, told Arab News: “The halal opportunity continues to grow with innovation and consumer-focused brands leading the way. Halal brands that capture a mainstream audience will open halal foods to even larger audiences.”
Food and beverage (F&B) leads Muslim spend by category, followed by clothing and apparel at $254 billion, media and entertainment at $198 billion, travel at $169 billion, and pharmaceuticals and cosmetics at $83 billion and $57.4 billion, said the report.
It notes that established players are expanding at home and abroad through franchising and that multinationals have also made major investments in Muslim-majority markets, anticipating rising demand.
Investment and sovereign wealth funds have been particularly active, and a number of halal investment funds are in development, it said.
Family-friendly halal travel is another growth market with the number of Muslims traveling at an all-time high, and there is corresponding demand for travel that adheres to Islamic values — from hotels and beach resorts, to dining options and airlines.
Halal hotel chains are emerging and family-friendly attractions are being developed in the GCC.
Along with a plethora of new online agencies catering to Muslim tourists, Muslim equivalents of Airbnb have emerged in the UK and globally. Muslim spend on travel was $169 billion in 2016, and is expected to grow to $283 billion by 2022.
Designer brands and boutiques are also developing new modest fashion lines and Ramadan collections.
The reports said: “Start-up modest fashion brands have also been making inroads around the world, particularly for hijabs, gaining traction by spreading the word through social media. Modest athletic apparel is a notably trendy segment, with Nike getting in on the act as well as Danish label Hummel. Muslim spend on clothing was $254 billion in 2016, and is forecast to reach $373 billion by 2022.
Romanna Bint-Abubaker, founder and CEO of global modest fashion brand, told Arab News: “As the first global marketplace for modest fashion, we welcome international brands in producing collections and products for the fastest growing global consumer (Muslims). Our primary issue as a marketplace is the current supply does not meet demand and our consumers are still forced to go to the high street for their basic ­requirements.”

S&P 500 inches closer to record high

Updated 12 August 2020

S&P 500 inches closer to record high

  • US stock market index returns to levels last seen before the onset of coronavirus crisis

NEW YORK: The S&P 500 on Tuesday closed in on its February record high, returning to levels last seen before the onset of the coronavirus crisis that caused one of Wall Street’s most dramatic crashes in history.

The benchmark index was about half a percent below its peak hit on Feb. 19, when investors started dumping shares in anticipation of what proved to be the biggest slump in the US economy since the Great Depression.

Ultra-low interest rates, trillions of dollars in stimulus and, more recently, a better-than-feared second quarter earnings season have allowed all three of Wall Street’s main indexes to recover.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq has led the charge, boosted by “stay-at-home winners” Inc., Netflix Inc. and Apple Inc. The index was down about 0.4 percent.

The blue chip Dow surged 1.2 percent, coming within 5 percent of its February peak.

“You’ve got to admit that this is a market that wants to go up, despite tensions between US-China, despite news of the coronavirus not being particularly encouraging,” said Andrea Cicione, a strategist at TS Lombard.

“We’re facing an emergency from the health, economy and employment point of view — the outlook is a lot less rosy. There’s a disconnect between valuation and the actual outlook even though lower rates to some degree justify high valuation.”

Aiding sentiment, President Vladimir Putin claimed Russia had become the first country in the world to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine. But the approval’s speed has concerned some experts as the vaccine still must complete final trials.

Investors are now hoping Republicans and Democrats will resolve their differences and agree on another relief program to support about 30 million unemployed Americans, as the battle with the virus outbreak was far from over with US cases surpassing 5 million last week.

Also in focus are Sino-US tensions ahead of high-stakes trade talks in the coming weekend.

“Certainly the rhetoric from Washington has been negative with regards to China ... there’s plenty of things to worry about, but markets are really focused more on the very easy fiscal and monetary policies at this point,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago.

Financials, energy and industrial sectors, that have lagged the benchmark index this year, provided the biggest boost to the S&P 500 on Tuesday.

The S&P 500 was set to rise for the eighth straight session, its longest streak of gains since April 2019.

The S&P 500 was up 15.39 points, or 0.46 percent, at 3,375.86, about 18 points shy of its high of 3,393.52. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 341.41 points, or 1.23 percent, at 28,132.85, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 48.37 points, or 0.44 percent, at 10,919.99.

Royal Caribbean Group jumped 4.6 percent after it hinted at new safety measures aimed at getting sailing going again after months of cancellations. Peers Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. and Carnival Corp. also rose.

US mall owner Simon Property Group Inc. gained 4.1 percent despite posting a disappointing second quarter profit, as its CEO expressed some hope over a recovery in retail as lockdown measures in some regions eased.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners 3.44-to-1 on the NYSE and 1.44-to-1 on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 35 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 50 new highs and four new lows.