Rolls Royce Cullinan’s SUV arrives in the Middle East

Rolls Royce Cullinan’s SUV arrives in the Middle East
The Cullinan — unveiled in May — is Rolls-Royce's first SUV. Courtesy of Rolls-Royce
Updated 04 June 2018

Rolls Royce Cullinan’s SUV arrives in the Middle East

Rolls Royce Cullinan’s SUV arrives in the Middle East
  • Iconic British carmaker's first SUV to go on general sale in September
  • More than 100 vehicles ordered from Abu Dhabi dealership

DUBAI: The Arabian Gulf luxury car market is set for a major boost when the first Cullinan — the state-of-the-art SUV from Rolls-Royce — appears in regional dealerships later this year.
Middle East deliveries of the all-terrain vehicle, which will sell for around 2.2m riyals ($586,667) — depending on the level of customization the customer wants — are set to begin in September, but already there is a healthy forward market for the one of the glitziest 4x4s on the market.
The car was publicly unveiled at an event in the showrooms of Abu Dhabi Motors in the UAE capital on Sunday, following recent private viewings — and order placings — in Saudi Arabia. Joseph Tayar, brand manager for the German-owned but British-built car said that the early order book had been “phenomenal.”
He estimated that more than 100 vehicles had already been ordered in Abu Dhabi, and that the vast majority of those were “premium” cars with the full range of customized extras.
“People have been on the waiting list for the Cullinan for the past 18 months, and they are going to want everything Rolls-Royce can give them in terms of luxury and sophistication,” he said.
In Saudi Arabia, the car has already been viewed privately in Riyadh and Jeddah, with a third unveiling scheduled for Al-Khobar later this month.
Allan Gall, the Rolls-Royce brand manager at the Mohamed Yousuf Naghi Motors dealership in Jeddah, declined to give specific order numbers, but he said: “There is a general excitement about a four-wheel drive Rolls-Royce. People have been waiting a long time for this car to arrive.
“It has been a very good introduction for us. Many orders have been taken at the private events in Saudi Arabia and customers are going for the premium end,” he added.
Rolls-Royce’s German owner BMW expects big sales for the Cullinan in the Middle East — a traditionally strong market for the luxury brand — and is mounting a big marketing push in the region.
Abu Dhabi’s Rolls-Royce dealership has been the brand’s best performer worldwide in three of the past four years, coming in ahead of key global luxury markets such as Beijing, London and Los Angeles.
Ruling families and business leaders across the Gulf have traditionally regarded Rolls-Royce cars as the ultimate luxury, valuing their quality engineering in the region’s demanding road conditions and climate
T.E. Lawrence, the British World War I officer sometimes known as Lawrence of Arabia, said: “A Rolls in the desert is above rubies,” after he used a fleet of armored Rolls-Royce cars in desert campaigns.
Launching the car in May, Torsten Muller-Otvos, Rolls-Royce’s chief executive, said: “Luxury is no longer an urban concept. More and more it is about embracing and experiencing the wider world. Our customers expect to go everywhere in luxury.”
The Cullinan — named after the world’s largest diamond — is Rolls-Royce’s first foray into the fast-growing but highly competitive SUV market, in which rivals Bentley and Porsche have upped the stakes with their Bentayga and Macan models. Aston Martin plans to launch an SUV, the Varekai, next year.


Saudi Arabia’s National Debt Management Center wins global awards for second year

Saudi Arabia’s National Debt Management Center wins global awards for second year
Updated 10 min 59 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s National Debt Management Center wins global awards for second year

Saudi Arabia’s National Debt Management Center wins global awards for second year
  • Saudi office won Middle East and emerging market awards

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia won the Best Sovereign Public Debt Office in the Middle East and the Most Impressive Emerging Market Issuer Award at the 2021 Global Capital Bond Awards, for the year 2021, for the second year in a row, SPA reported.

The Global Capital Bond Awards honors the achievements of governments and companies of all sizes in the field of sovereign and regional finance, banking services, hedge funds, and many other areas within the financial services sector.

It also highlights the most prominent innovations and achievements within the financial services sector, globally.

Saudi Arabia sold SR8.27 billion ($2.20 billion) of riyal-denominated sukuk in June, up from $941 million in May, bunt down from $3.1 billion April, National Debt Management Center data show.

“Driving growth of the Kingdom’s capital markets will be an increase in bond issuance to help fund the SR12 trillion Vision 2030," said Khalid Al-Bihlal, head of S&P Global Ratings KSA. "We project a gradual rise in the use of Saudi Arabian riyal-denominated bond issuance as the local capital markets develop. The US dollar is currently the currency of choice for such bonds."


Saudi MoF electronically linked to SAMA

Saudi MoF electronically linked to SAMA
Updated 18 June 2021

Saudi MoF electronically linked to SAMA

Saudi MoF electronically linked to SAMA

RIYADH: The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) announced the completion of an electronic link with the Ministry of Finance to process requests relating to the bank accounts of government agencies held at Saudi commercial banks through the online portal Hesaab.

SAMA is seeking to improve and accelerate the procedures related to requests of government agencies’ bank accounts received from the Ministry of Finance, by implementing technical solutions with minimal human intervention, it said in a statement on Thursday.

The Hesaab portal is one of the National Transformation Program 2020 initiatives that improves the level of financial services, in line with Vision 2030.


Oil falls amid dollar strength; demand picture still bullish

Oil falls amid dollar strength; demand picture still bullish
Updated 18 June 2021

Oil falls amid dollar strength; demand picture still bullish

Oil falls amid dollar strength; demand picture still bullish
  • Prices remain close to multi-year highs
  • Dollar jumped since Fed moved rate-hike forecast forward

LONDON: Oil prices fell for a second straight session on Friday as the US dollar soared on the prospect of interest rate hikes in the United States, but they were on track to finish the week little changed and only slightly off multi-year highs.
Brent crude futures were down 64 cents, or 0.9 percent, at $72.44 a barrel as of 9:00 a.m. GMT, extending a 1.8 percent decline on Thursday. The contract is set to be largely steady for the week.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 53 cents, or 0.8 percent, at $70.51 a barrel, after retreating 1.5 percent on Thursday and is also set to be flat on the week.
On Wednesday, Brent settled at its highest price since April 2019 while WTI settled at its highest since October 2018.
“Oil markets retreated sharply overnight as a stronger US dollar and falling commodity prices elsewhere saw the overbought technical correction continue,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.
The dollar has rocketed in the two sessions since the US Federal Reserve projected possible rate hikes in 2023, earlier than market watchers previously expected. A rising dollar makes oil more expensive in other currencies, curbing demand.
The prospect of rate hikes also weighed on the longer-term growth outlook, which would eventually hurt oil demand, in contrast to the near-term outlook for growth in demand as COVID-19 related curbs on movement and business activity ease and road and air travel pick up, said Westpac senior economist Justin Smirk.
“The near term’s all very positive. The question is how much further can it rise, how much scope is there if you’re looking at an environment where interest rates are going to rise,” Smirk said.
Oil prices also fell after Britain on Thursday reported its biggest daily rise in new cases of COVID-19 since Feb. 19, with government figures showing 11,007 new infections versus 9,055 a day earlier.
Adding to negative sentiment were remarks from Iran’s top negotiator on Thursday saying talks between Tehran and Washington on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal have come closer than ever to an agreement.


Saudi listed company debt jumped by half in 2020

Saudi listed company debt jumped by half in 2020
Updated 18 June 2021

Saudi listed company debt jumped by half in 2020

Saudi listed company debt jumped by half in 2020
  • Debt-to-asset ratio of Saudi companies ended 2020 at 20.1 percent

RIYADH: The debts of companies listed on Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul stock exchange, excluding real estate funds, increased by 45 percent last year as they borrowed to face down the pandemic and took advantage of low interest rates.

Debt reached SR1.3 trillion ($346 billion) at the end of the fourth quarter of 2020, up from SR899.2 billion a year earlier, Al Eqtisadiah reported, citing data from the Tadawul and Saudi Capital Market Authority. On a quarterly basis, debt rose 8.1 percent.

The debt-to-assets ratio of the companies climbed to a record 21.4 percent from 15.8 at the end of 2019, the data showed.

Saudi companies have stepped up bond sales in recent months as the Federal Reserve kept interest rates near record lows.

Saudi Aramco yesterday said it completed a $6 billion dollar sukuk offering, which takes its bond issuance since 2019 to $26 billion.


Egypt central bank holds interest rates for fifth straight month

Egypt central bank holds interest rates for fifth straight month
Updated 18 June 2021

Egypt central bank holds interest rates for fifth straight month

Egypt central bank holds interest rates for fifth straight month
  • Lending rate kept at 9.25 percent, deposit rate at 8.25 percent
  • GDP grew at 2.9 percent in Q1, up from 2 percent in Q4, 2020

CAIRO: The Monetary Policy Committee of Egypt’s Central Bank (CBE) kept its deposit rate at 8.25 percent on Thursday and its lending rate at 9.25 percent, the fifth consecutive month it left them unchanged.

Global economic activity is recovering, albeit unevenly across sectors and countries, and supportive financial conditions are likely to continue globally in the medium term, the central bank said in a statement.

Policy makers noted the rise in global prices of oil, food and other primary commodities as supply struggled to keep up with surging demand.

Egypt’s annual general urban inflation rate rose to 4.8 percent in May 2021 from 4.1 percent in April.

The central bank, which has a target inflation rate of 7 percent, plus or minus 2 percent, through the fourth quarter of 2022, expects inflation to continue to reflect base effects from last year when the pandemic suppressed prices.

Preliminary data indicate annual real GDP growth of 2.9 percent during the first quarter of 2021, up from 2 percent in the prior quarter.