Qatari finance minister inaugurates hotel in Egypt

Qatari finance minister inaugurates hotel in Egypt
Qatari minister of finance, Ali Sharif Al-Emadi. (AFP/File)
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Updated 06 January 2021

Qatari finance minister inaugurates hotel in Egypt

Qatari finance minister inaugurates hotel in Egypt
  • Al-Emadi is the first official to board a Qatari plane crossing Saudi and Egyptian airspace, directly from Doha to Cairo

CAIRO: Hours after the GCC Summit in AlUla in Saudi Arabia that witnessed Gulf reconciliation in the presence of Egyptian officials, the Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company opened the St. Regis Hotel in Cairo.

The inauguration came in the presence of Qatari Minister of Finance Ali Sharif Al-Emadi and his Egyptian counterpart, Mohamed Maait.

Al-Emadi is the first official to board a Qatari plane crossing Saudi and Egyptian airspace, directly from Doha to Cairo, since the outbreak of the crisis between Qatar and the Arab Quartet in June 2017.

The visit of the Qatari minister to Egypt is also the first by a Qatari official in nearly three years after the decision to cut ties and close the airspace between the two countries.

The St. Regis Hotel is one of Diar’s most important projects in Egypt, with investment of more than $1 billion, and with a construction area of more than 197,000 square meters, according to the company’s official Twitter account.

“We congratulate the Qatari Diar Company for the inauguration of this hotel today, which came as a result of the company’s decision to invest in the tourism sector, one of the most important sectors of the Egyptian economy. The increase in foreign investments in Egypt represents the importance of the Egyptian economy and the Egyptian government,” Maait said.

“By investing in this project through the Qatari Diar Company, Qatar practically confirms its commitment to contribute to supporting local communities and increasing job opportunities, and this project is one of the Qatari investments in Egypt exceeding $5 billion in various fields,” Al-Emadi said.

CEO of Diar, Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, said: “The project provides about 440 permanent job opportunities in the hotel and its attached facilities, and this number is expected to rise to 1,000 jobs, 95 percent of which are Egyptian workers.”

US Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin added: “The completion of this project would not have been possible without the efforts of the Qatari Diar Company. By investing in this project, we can see the impact of economic cooperation in creating job opportunities and developing common interests in investment opportunities.”

Mnuchin met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Tuesday and discussed ways to strengthen relations between Egypt and the US, as well as many regional issues, including the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Qatari Diar, which owns the St. Regis Hotel, obtained an operating license after more than six years.


WEEKLY ENERGY RECAP: Despite long-term challenges, oil prices remain in healthy range

WEEKLY ENERGY RECAP: Despite long-term challenges, oil prices remain in healthy range
Updated 21 min 48 sec ago

WEEKLY ENERGY RECAP: Despite long-term challenges, oil prices remain in healthy range

WEEKLY ENERGY RECAP: Despite long-term challenges, oil prices remain in healthy range

Oil prices have been stable since early January, with Brent crude price hovering around $55. Brent crude closed the week slightly higher at $55.41 per barrel,
while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) closed slightly lower at $52.27 per barrel.

Oil price movement since early January in a narrow range above $50 is healthy, despite pessimism over an increase in oil demand, while expectations of US President Joe Biden taking steps to revive energy demand growth are
still doubtful. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported a hike in US refining utilization to its highest since March 2020, at 82.5 percent. The EIA reported a surprise weekly surge in US commercial crude stocks by 4.4
million barrels. Oil prices remained steady despite the bearish messages sent from the International Energy Agency (IEA), which believes it will take more time for oil demand to recover fully as renewed lockdowns in several countries weighed on oil demand recovery.

The IEA’s January Oil Market Report came as the most pessimistic monthly report among other market bulletins from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and EIA. It forecast oil demand will bounce back to 96.6 million bpd this year, an increase of 5.5 million bpd over 2020 levels.

Though the IEA has lowered its forecast for global oil demand in 2021 due to lockdowns and vaccination challenges, it still expects a sharp rebound in oil consumption in the second half of 2021,
and the continuation of global inventory depletion.

The IEA reported global oil stocks fell by 2.58 million bpd in the fourth quarter of 2020 after preliminary data showed hefty drawdowns toward the end of the year. The IEA reported OECD industry stocks fell for a fourth consecutive month at 166.7
million barrels above the last five-year average. It forecast that global refinery throughput is expected to rebound by 4.5 million bpd in 2021, after a 7.3 million bpd drop in 2020.

The IEA monthly report has led to some short term concern about weakness in the physical crude spot market, and the IEA has acknowledged OPEC’s firm role in stabilizing the market.

Controversially, the IEA believes that a big chunk of shale oil production is profitable at current prices, and hence insinuated that shale oil might threaten OPEC market share.

It also believes that US shale oil producers have quickly responded to oil price gains, winning market share over OPEC producers. However, even if US shale oil drillers added more oil rigs for almost three months in a row, the number of operating rigs is still less than half that of a year ago, at 289 rigs.

The latest figures from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission show that crude futures “long positions” on the New York Mercantile Exchange are at 668,078 contracts, down by 18,414 contracts from the previous week (at 1,000 barrels for each contract).