Saudi mortgages jump in January despite global pandemic property pessimism

Saudi mortgages jump in January despite global pandemic property pessimism
Property markets worldwide have been rattled by the coronavirus pandemic as people have held back from committing to big purchases. (File/Shutterstock)
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Updated 02 March 2021

Saudi mortgages jump in January despite global pandemic property pessimism

Saudi mortgages jump in January despite global pandemic property pessimism
  • Almost 80 percent of the mortgages that are issued in the Kingdom go towards villas

DUBAI: New Saudi mortgages jumped by more than a third compared to a year earlier according to the latest data from the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA).
Homebuyers shrugged off negative economic sentiment to snap up homes as pent up demand for new properties pushed up the number of mortgage contracts by almost 33,000 - worth some SR16.4 billion ($4.4 billion).
Some 98 percent of the contracts were arranged through banks with the remaining 2 percent sold by financing companies, SAMA said in a statement carried by SPA.
Property markets worldwide have been rattled by the coronavirus pandemic as people have held back from committing to big purchases because of fears over their job security. The Kingdom's residential real estate market has bucked that broader trend because of strong underlying demand and the comparatively recent arrival of a structured mortgage market.
Almost 80 percent of the mortgages that are issued in the Kingdom go towards villas.
Last year the Saudi government removed the 15 percent of value added tax on property transactions to help counter the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
That helped to support house prices in key property markets including Riyadh and Jeddah.
Residential sale prices in Riyadh registered an annual increase of 2 percent for apartments and villas last year according to data from JLL, the international property broker.


IMF delegation arrives in Lebanon, to meet PM Mikati on Tuesday

IMF delegation arrives in Lebanon, to meet PM Mikati on Tuesday
Updated 8 sec ago

IMF delegation arrives in Lebanon, to meet PM Mikati on Tuesday

IMF delegation arrives in Lebanon, to meet PM Mikati on Tuesday

BEIRUT: A delegation from the International Monetary Fund arrived in Lebanon on Monday and will meet Prime Minister Najib Mikati on Tuesday, the prime minister’s office said on Twitter.
The delegation, led by Ernesto Ramirez, will stay for few days during which they will meet with Lebanese officials and the ministerial committee negotiating with the IMF.
They will discuss strategies to be built on early next year, when an expanded mission will come to negotiate the details of an expected economic and financial recovery program for Lebanon. 


Egypt reveals plans for electric cars, 3,000 charging stations 

Egypt reveals plans for electric cars, 3,000 charging stations 
Updated 06 December 2021

Egypt reveals plans for electric cars, 3,000 charging stations 

Egypt reveals plans for electric cars, 3,000 charging stations 

CAIRO: Egypt is poised to sign a deal that will see the production of electric vehicles in the country, Minister of the Public Business Sector Hisham Tawfik has said.

Three companies are currently competing for the right to produce the cars, but the names of these firms were not disclosed by the minister. 

Tawfik stressed that the state-owned El Nasr Governmental Vehicles Company will produce only one model of electric car.

He also revealed 3,000 electricity charging stations will be created across three governorates, with a new company set to be established to manage these facilities in partnership with a sovereign company with a 90 percent share.

The Egyptian government has finished providing all incentives for electric cars, including preparation and special support for the buyer, in addition to subsidizing the price of electricity.

Last month, the Egyptian Ministry of Public Business Sector announced that negotiations with the Chinese Dongfeng company had stopped as a result of a failure to reach an agreement to reduce the price of the imported component sufficiently  enough to enable the Nasr Automotive Company to produce and launch the car at a competitive price.

The Ministry stated at the time that it would, in cooperation with the Metallurgical Industries Holding co and the Nasr Automobile Company, open new channels of communication with one of the specialised global consulting offices to identify an alternative partner, and it is expected that positive results will be reached before the end of November.

Egypt had signed the framework agreement with the Chinese company, Dongfeng, to produce the E70 car in January 2021, after a series of negotiations that took more time than expected due to the emergence of the coronavirus at the beginning of 2020.


Oman launches its second largest oil, gas project

Oman launches its second largest oil, gas project
Updated 06 December 2021

Oman launches its second largest oil, gas project

Oman launches its second largest oil, gas project

RIYADH: The Petroleum Development Oman on Monday launched Yibal Khuff oil and gas project worth SR9.7 million ($2.6 million).

The launching ceremony of PDO’s second largest project was held under the auspices of Deputy Prime Minister for Defense Affairs Sayyid Shihab bin Tarik Al-Said. 

Spanning an area of 1.68 square kilometers, the project at its peak will have a capacity to produce 20,000 barrels of crude and 5 million cubic meters of gas a day, said PDO top official Abdul-Amir bin Abdul-Huddein Al-Ajmi.

Al-Ajmi said Yibal Khuff is the first project that includes a completely qualified Omani staff who worked on the project in its various phases, starting from design until the end of operations, including 1,200 individuals in the construction works, and 200 qualified welders.

Yibal Khuff allocated a scope of work for small and medium enterprises since its inception, as services were provided by Omani companies. 

This project has achieved several significant firsts, including the first to deliver the tallest column ever fabricated for PDO in Oman. This “Made in Oman’ acid gas recovery unit absorber stands at 48 meters high, four meters in diameter, and weighs 291 tons,” reported Times of Oman. 

It has also delivered one of PDO’s first steam turbine generators, taking the heat from some of the facilities’ processes and using it to generate steam. The plant will be able to generate 13 MW of electrical power, supplementing the 45 MW of the Yibal Khuff Power plant, the report added.

PDO CEO and Managing Director Steve Phimister said they are operating the most technical project. 

Yibal Khuff is essential to help us to empower the country, to generate revenue for the nation and fund research and development in the renewables sector, he added.   

 


UAE’s foreign trade reaches $9.4tr over five decades

UAE’s foreign trade reaches $9.4tr over five decades
Updated 06 December 2021

UAE’s foreign trade reaches $9.4tr over five decades

UAE’s foreign trade reaches $9.4tr over five decades

JEDDAH: The total volume of the UAE’s foreign trade during five decades amounted to about 34.23 trillion dirhams ($9.4 trillion), according to the database of the UN Conference on Trade and Development.

During the period between 1971 and 2020, the state’s trade balance achieved a surplus of about 4.76 trillion dirhams.

UNCTAD data showed that the UAE’s foreign trade volume doubled 473 times, rising from 4.2 billion dirhams in 1971 to 2 trillion dirhams at the end of last year, according to a local newspaper.

The cumulative balance of foreign direct investment inflows in the country increased from 28 million dirhams in 1971 to about 73.46 billion dirhams by the end of 2020.

Over the past five decades, foreign trade was distributed among exports by 57 percent with a value of 19.5 trillion dirhams, and imports by 43 percent with a value of 14.7 trillion dirhams.

UAE exports multiplied 380 times, rising from 3.1 billion dirhams in 1971 to 1.17 trillion dirhams at the end of last year, and imports multiplied 730 times, rising from 1.13 billion dirhams to 828 billion dirhams by the end of 2020.

According to the data, foreign trade at the end of the first decade of the union’s founding doubled 28 times to 117.5 billion dirhams, 33 times at the end of 1991 to 140 billion dirhams, and 74 times at the beginning of the current millennium to 315 billion dirhams, and by the end of the fourth decade 462 times to 1.9 trillion dirhams.

And the year 2019 topped the list of the highest years in the volume of foreign trade, with a value of 2.4 trillion dirhams.


UK business group trims growth forecasts on supply chain woes: Economic wrap

UK business group trims growth forecasts on supply chain woes: Economic wrap
Updated 06 December 2021

UK business group trims growth forecasts on supply chain woes: Economic wrap

UK business group trims growth forecasts on supply chain woes: Economic wrap

RIYADH: The Confederation of British Industry on Monday revised the economic growth forecast for 2022 to  5.1 percent from the earlier estimate of 6.1 percent.

The group also trimmed the forecast for 2021 to 6.9 percent from an earlier 8.2 percent. It cited supply chain disruptions and a need for government support as reasons for the trimming of forecasts.

Household spending will account for 90 percent of growth in 2022 and two-thirds of that growth in the following year. This is attributed to a healthy job market and savings built up during the pandemic. On the other hand, exports will remain weak.

Moreover, it appears that business investment will grow by 8.2 percent next year, exceeding the pre-pandemic level.

Upbeat construction sector in Europe

The eurozone’s construction sector grew notably in November as its Purchasing Managers’ Index went up to 53.3 compared to 51.2 in the previous month, IHS Markit said.

This is the highest expansion in the sector since February 2018 and was attributed to stronger demand in the region. Home building activity continued its upward trend while commercial construction rose for the second month in a row. Civil engineering deteriorated, albeit at a weaker rate compared to before.

Similarly, UK output in the construction sector expanded at the highest rate in four months in November, according to the London-based firm.

Upswings in commercial work, following the opening of the economy, were mainly the reason for the growth in construction. 

The index reached 55.5 in November, the 10th consecutive month in which the indicator recorded above-50 levels. 

House building in the country also grew, yet at a slightly slower pace. 

Japanese economic growth

The Japanese government is contemplating a hike in its 2022 fiscal year growth forecast following its $490 billion stimulus package, according to Japanese broadcaster NHK on Monday.

The government predicts real gross domestic product to grow by about 2.2 percent for the fiscal year beginning in April 2022. 

Japan has stayed behind in recovering from the pandemic compared to other countries. This has forced the government to introduce generous spending plans.

Italy’s retail sales

Estimates of the seasonally adjusted index of retail trade in Italy increased slightly month on month by 0.1 percent in value and 0.2 percent in terms of volume for November, according to the country’s official statistics agency.

The value of sales increased by 1.4 percent in the three months ending in October compared to the previous three-month period while volume went up by 1 percent.