Global chip shortage offers silver lining to KSA’s local industry

Global chip shortage offers silver lining to KSA’s local industry
Reuters reported that chip prices could increase by up to 6 percent this year, but the delay has also seen production cut short.
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Updated 01 March 2021

Global chip shortage offers silver lining to KSA’s local industry

Global chip shortage offers silver lining to KSA’s local industry
  • The shortage has pushed chip stocks to record highs, and analysts expect that chips will continue to be in short supply at least through the end of 2021

RIYADH: A global semiconductor chip shortage as a result of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has increased the need for the Kingdom to boost its local production so it is less dependent on foreign manufacturers, a Kingdom-based IT expert said.

The shortage has pushed chip stocks to record highs, and analysts expect that chips will continue to be in short supply at least through the end of 2021.

Maribel Lopez, principal analyst at San Francisco-based Lopez Research, told MarketWatch the chip industry is facing “a perfect storm” of demand and supply issues that is unlikely to resolve soon.

“Unless we have a major economic meltdown, which is obviously possible, one of the things that’s happening right now is that almost anything you buy is going to have a chip in it,” Lopez said.

Reuters reported that chip prices could increase by up to 6 percent this year, but the delay has also seen production cut short. Carmaker Ford said it could see production cut by 20 percent as a result of the shortage of supply. Last week, US President Joe Biden announced $37 billion in funding to address the situation.

“The importance of semiconductors cannot be ignored due to their massive need in the Internet of Things, computers, smartphones, and consumer electronics devices. However, the global semiconductor scarcity and its unprecedented demand amid the pandemic have aggravated the situation for a wide array of industries. It has forced automotive, defense, industrial and other manufacturers to cut production and even shut down assembly lines,” Dr. Muhammad Khurram Khan, professor of cybersecurity at King Saud University and founder and CEO of the Global Foundation for Cyber Studies and Research in Washington, told Arab News.

He added: “If the current situation persists for the next few months, there are higher chances that the Kingdom may also observe a price hike for electronic items. So, it is better for local importers, businesses, and consumers to plan accordingly.”

The professor said that the current global supply shortage could be the catalyst for Saudi Arabia to invest more in this sector and develop its local capabilities.

“This would reduce dependence on imports, meet the local manufacturing demands, boost the economy, and create job opportunities in the Kingdom as per Saudi Vision 2030,” he added.


SAIB net profit up 9% to $206.7m in first 9 months of 2021

SAIB net profit up 9% to $206.7m in first 9 months of 2021
Updated 13 sec ago

SAIB net profit up 9% to $206.7m in first 9 months of 2021

SAIB net profit up 9% to $206.7m in first 9 months of 2021
  • SAIB reported a net profit of SR274.3 million in the third quarter of 2021

RIYADH: The Saudi Investment Bank (SAIB) reported a net profit of SR775.6 million ($206.7 million) in the first nine months of 2021, a 9 percent increase from SR714.4 million in the year-earlier period, a bourse filing revealed.


The bank attributed the profit rise to a decline of 11.6 percent year-on-year (YoY) in total operating expenses amid lower salaries and employee-related expenses, as well as provisions for credit and other losses.

The total operating income decreased by 5.4 percent year-on-year, on a decrease in net special commission income, exchange income, dividend income, fair value through profit and loss, and other income, the company revealed in a statement on Saudi Stock market (Tadawul).

SAIB reported a net profit of SR274.3 million in the third quarter of 2021, declining by 9 percent compared to the same period of last year, from SR301.3 million. The total operating income decreased by 5.6 percent year-on-year, with a lower fee income from banking services, exchange income, fair value through profit and loss, and other income. Total operating expenses grew by 2.3 percent year-on-year. 

SAIB profit decreased by 4.7 percent in the third quarter of 2021 compared to the previous quarter, from SR287.77 million.


Total shareholders' equity, excluding minority interests, reached SR14.69 million during the first nine months of 2021, compared to SR12.81 million in the year-earlier period.


Oracle signed as first tenant of NEOM’s data centre

Oracle signed as first tenant of NEOM’s data centre
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Updated 19 min 4 sec ago

Oracle signed as first tenant of NEOM’s data centre

Oracle signed as first tenant of NEOM’s data centre
  • The agreement follows the launch of the Oracle Cloud Saudi Arabia West Region in Jeddah in February 2020

NEOM Tech & Digital Hold Co. announced Oracle as the first tenant of its hyper scale data centre at NEOM. 

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), part of the US computer technology giant, is to be hosted at the data center to provide a high-performing, resilient foundation for cloud services.

The agreement follows the launch of the Oracle Cloud Saudi Arabia West Region in Jeddah in February 2020 and supports Oracle’s commitment to open two dedicated cloud regions in the Kingdom.

“Saudi Arabia is fast emerging as a global technology hub and NEOM Tech & Digital Hold Co.’s partnerships with Oracle and EzdiTek will enable us to build the foundations required to deliver on our full potential,” minister of communication and NEOM Tech & Digital Hold Co. chairman, Abdullah Alswaha, said. 

“Today’s announcement means the realization of technology that will serve the ambitions of the public and private sector across the region and beyond, positioning Saudi Arabia at the forefront of the industry,” he added. 

The company also announced a $500 million joint venture with EzdiTek, via its affiliate, FAS Energy Trading Co., to power the creation and operation of the data center.


Green investment lacking ‘urgency’, warns key global financial players at Future Investment Initiative 2021

Green investment lacking ‘urgency’, warns key global financial players at Future Investment Initiative 2021
Updated 25 min 12 sec ago

Green investment lacking ‘urgency’, warns key global financial players at Future Investment Initiative 2021

Green investment lacking ‘urgency’, warns key global financial players at Future Investment Initiative 2021

Global institutions are lacking urgency when it comes to investing in green initiatives, leading figures in the financial sector have warned in a sobering assessment of the battle against climate change. 

Speaking at the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyadh, prominent players in Saudi’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), asset management firm Ninety One, and HSBC Holdings all called for the pace of investments to increase.

Fahad AlSaif, head of Global Capital Finance at PIF, told delegates: “The essence of the urgency is not there yet. There has to be collaboration, across global institutions, it is a trust problem in delivering.”

He added: “I worry about the balance of pace we are moving.”

His concerns were echoed by John Green, chief commercial officer at Ninety One, who also revealed that 60-70 percent of the conversations he has with clients are about energy. 

“Action in real financing is not there,” he said, arguing that not enough is being invested in developing economies.

Noel Quinn, group CEO at HSBC Holdings, said that while "acceleration" in this area is "really fast", the Covid-19 pandemic has acted "as a wake up call to say a natural event can have an affect on economy".

Julia Hoggett, CEO of the London Stock Exchange, insisted the six months following the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, are “critical” for turning any announcements into action.

“I believe in pipes and plumbing,” she said. 


Norway's Equinor Q3 results surge to nine-year high on gas and derivatives

Norway's Equinor Q3 results surge to nine-year high on gas and derivatives
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Updated 37 min 20 sec ago

Norway's Equinor Q3 results surge to nine-year high on gas and derivatives

Norway's Equinor Q3 results surge to nine-year high on gas and derivatives
  • Norway is western Europe's largest oil and gas producer, pumping around 4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day

Norway's Equinor posted its strongest quarterly result in nine years on Wednesday, driven by a global energy supply crunch that pushed Europe's natural gas prices to record highs and sent the value of derivative contracts soaring.


Equinor has the largest exposure to spot gas prices among big oil companies and its results come ahead of those due from Shell this week and BP next.


Equinor said it would sharply increase its share buybacks in coming months while maintaining a quarterly dividend level of $0.18 per share.


Adjusted earnings before tax rose to $9.77 billion in the July-September quarter from $780 million, exceeding the $8.4 billion predicted in a poll of 25 analysts compiled by Equinor.


"The current unprecedented level and volatility in European gas prices underlines the uncertainty in the market," CEO Anders Opedal said in a statement.


Norway is western Europe's largest oil and gas producer, pumping around 4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day. Last year, it supplied 22 percent of the gas consumed in the European Union, Norwegian government data showed.


Equinor has said it would seek to boost pipeline gas exports to Europe by increasing production from the Troll and Oseberg fields, as well as from reducing gas injections normally used to pump oil.


"We have turned every valve to see if we can produce and export more gas," Opedal said, adding that one field, Gina Krog, had found ways to do so with only a marginal negative impact on its simultaneous oil output.


The confluence of factors driving global gas prices was unlikely to be permanent however, Opedal said.


"This makes for higher revenues for Equinor but is also a reminder how commodities prices swing," he told a news conference. "We have not changed our long-term price projections."


Equinor is benefiting from Europe's flexible gas market after the European Union forced gas producers years ago to shift away from steady, long-term contracts.


The increased energy cost has led to soaring electricity prices across much of Europe and the world, hitting households as well as companies which have been forced to shut factories, triggering further supply chain shortages.


Global gas prices rose sharply in the third quarter, with Europe's benchmark TTF front-month contract increasing threefold to around 90 euros per megawatt hour (MWh), below average storage levels and concerns over Russian supply ahead of the winter heating season.


In early October, the gas price again, hitting a record of 155 euros per MWh before easing to 89 euros on Tuesday. The price of North Sea crude oil meanwhile has risen 67 percent this year to a three-year high of $86 per barrel.

Earnings at Equinor's marketing, midstream and processing (MMP) unit rose to $2.19 billion from $262 million, boosted by derivatives contracts related to European gas, the company said.


Equinor sells most of its gas on a short-term, or spot, basis but also sells a small share based on longer-dated indices. For the latter, MMP has used financial contracts to benefit from strong spot and front-month pricing.


The mark-to-market gains from such contracts in the third quarter will be followed by losses in the MMP segment when those volumes are delivered under the long-term contracts, Equinor reiterated in its earnings report.


Higher profits will also mean higher taxes in the fourth quarter, the company said.


Shares in Equinor were down 2.4 percent earlier, lagging an Oslo benchmark index down 1.2 percent, with the benchmark Brent crude down 1.1 percent.

Equinor plans to buy back shares worth $1 billion in the next three months, up from a plan of $300 million.


Two thirds will be bought from the Norwegian government, its largest stakeholder, ensuring the state maintains an unchanged stake of 67 percent.


In the previous quarter it had planned to buy up to $300 million in shares. It spent $99 million on the market and has committed to buy the rest from the government's holdings.


Turkey's Erdogan says signed $3.2bn green climate fund deal

Turkey's Erdogan says signed $3.2bn green climate fund deal
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Updated 56 min 15 sec ago

Turkey's Erdogan says signed $3.2bn green climate fund deal

Turkey's Erdogan says signed $3.2bn green climate fund deal

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday Turkey had signed a memorandum of understanding under which it will receive loans worth $3.2 billion to help it meet clean energy goals set out in the Paris climate accord.


Sources familiar with the plan said earlier this month that Turkey was to receive the loans under a planned deal funded by the World Bank, France and Germany.


"We have put down the signatures in the past days for the memorandum of understanding to provide our country with $3.157 billion from the green climate fund, for which we have been holding negotiations for some time," Erdogan said in a speech to deputies from his party in parliament.