Foreign investment licenses in Saudi Arabia rise 60% in the last quarter of 2020

Foreign investment licenses in Saudi Arabia rise 60% in the last quarter of 2020
Riyadh is attracting rising international interest as Saudi FDI flows increase. (Reuters)
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Updated 01 April 2021

Foreign investment licenses in Saudi Arabia rise 60% in the last quarter of 2020

Foreign investment licenses in Saudi Arabia rise 60% in the last quarter of 2020
  • FDI flows up 20 percent over year
  • Returns to pre-pandemic levels

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia issued 466 investment licenses to foreign investors in the fourth quarter of 2020, a 60 percent jump on a year earlier, Asharq Business reported, citing Saudi government data.
December was the busiest month, with 189 investment licenses issued. Foreign investment flows rose by more than 20 percent during the year.
The report revealed that foreign investment inflows to the Kingdom surged 80 percent in the fourth quarter compared to a year earlier to reach almost $1.9 billion.
The annual results reflect recovery in the investment environment with growth returning to pre-pandemic levels, the report stated.


Goldman expects oil prices to hit $90 by year-end as supply tightens

Goldman expects oil prices to hit $90 by year-end as supply tightens
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 12 sec ago

Goldman expects oil prices to hit $90 by year-end as supply tightens

Goldman expects oil prices to hit $90 by year-end as supply tightens
  • Hurricane Ida's hit to supply has more than offset OPEC+'s production ramp-up since July with non-OPEC+ and non-shale production continuing to disappoint
  • Brent futures hit a near three-year high last week on global output disruptions

Goldman Sachs raised its forecast for year-end Brent crude oil prices to $90 per barrel from $80, as a faster fuel demand recovery from Delta variant and Hurricane Ida's hit to production led to tight global supplies.

Brent futures hit a near three-year high last week as global output disruptions have forced energy companies to pull large amounts of crude out of inventories.

Oil prices were trading at $79.19 a barrel, earlier on Monday, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude were at $75.08 a barrel. 

"While we have long held a bullish oil view, the current global supply-demand deficit is larger than we expected, with the recovery in global demand from the Delta impact even faster than our above-consensus forecast and with global supply remaining short of our below consensus forecasts," Goldman said in a note dated Sept. 26.

Earlier this month, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, a group known as OPEC+, agreed to stick to its decision made in July to phase out record output cuts. 

Hurricane Ida's hit to supply has more than offset OPEC+'s production ramp-up since July with non-OPEC+ and non-shale production continuing to disappoint, Goldman said.

Hurricane Ida and Nicholas, which swept through the U.S. Gulf of Mexico earlier this month, damaged platforms, pipelines and processing hubs, shutting most offshore production for weeks. 

Goldman, however, flagged a potential new virus variant, which could weigh on demand and an aggressively faster ramp-up in OPEC+ production that may soften its projected deficit, as key risks to its bullish outlook.

For 2022, the bank lowered its average forecasts for the second and fourth quarter to $80/bbl from $85/bbl as it factored in the possibility of an Iran-U.S. nuclear deal by next April.


Several Apple, Tesla suppliers suspend production in China amid power pinch

Several Apple, Tesla suppliers suspend production in China amid power pinch
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 34 min 40 sec ago

Several Apple, Tesla suppliers suspend production in China amid power pinch

Several Apple, Tesla suppliers suspend production in China amid power pinch
  • Concraft Holding Co Ltd, a supplier of speaker components for Apple's iPhone and which owns manufacturing plants in Suzhou city
  • Foxconn had to "adjust" a small part of its capacity there, which includes the manufacture of non-Apple notebook computers

Several Apple and Tesla suppliers have suspended production at some Chinese factories for a number of days to comply with tighter energy consumption policies, putting supply chains at risk in the peak season for electronics goods.


Two major Taiwanese chipmakers, however, said their China facilities are operating as normal.


The development comes as tight coal supplies in China and toughening emissions standards have triggered a contraction in heavy industry in several regions, dragging on the country's economic growth rate, analysts have said.


Apple supplier Unimicron Technology Corp late on Sunday said three of its China subsidiaries stopped production from midday on Sept. 26 until midnight on Sept. 30 to "comply with the local governments' electricity limiting policy".


The Taiwanese maker of printed circuit boards said it did not expect significant impact as other plants would make up production.


Eson Precision Ind Co Ltd, an affiliate of Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd (Foxconn), in a statement said it suspended production from Sunday until Friday at facilities in the Chinese city of Kunshan.


Concraft Holding Co Ltd, a supplier of speaker components for Apple's iPhone and which owns manufacturing plants in Suzhou city, said it would suspend production for five days until noon on Thursday and use inventory to meet demand.


Chipmakers United Microelectronics Corp (UMC) and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd told Reuters there was no impact at their China plants.


"UMC's Hejian fab in Suzhou is currently running at full capacity utilization of 80,000 plus wafers per month," said the Taiwanese firm, whose clients include Qualcomm Inc.


Two people familiar with the matter told Reuters that facilities in Kunshan of contract manufacturer Foxconn have seen a "very small" impact on production.


Foxconn had to "adjust" a small part of its capacity there, which includes the manufacture of non-Apple notebook computers, one of the people said, adding that the company has not seen any impact at other major production hubs across China.


The second person said the company had to move some of the Kunshan workers' shifts in late September to early October. Foxconn, a major Apple supplier, declined to comment. 


Citi launches Bahrain tech hub to develop its digital platforms

Citi launches Bahrain tech hub to develop its digital platforms
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 56 min 1 sec ago

Citi launches Bahrain tech hub to develop its digital platforms

Citi launches Bahrain tech hub to develop its digital platforms
  • Under the plan, Citi will hire at least 100 people in coding-related roles each year over the next 10 years
  • Tamkeen will subsidise a portion of the salaries and cover training costs locally and abroad

Citi launched a global technology hub at its Bahrain offices, the first of its kind in the region and with the aim of employing 1,000 coders over the next decade.


The hub, based at Citi's Bahrain premises, was set up in partnership with Tamkeen, a government-funded labour fund, and Bahrain's Economic Development Board (EDB), which are also investing, a Citi executive said.


Under the plan, Citi will hire at least 100 people in coding-related roles each year over the next 10 years.


The new hires will initially work on two of the bank's main platforms, Citi Velocity and Citi FX Policy, said Ala'a Saeed, Citi FX's global head of electronic platforms and distribution.


"Selecting our two flagship systems to develop out of here in Bahrain is a huge endorsement of the talent and the calibre of people that we've found here," he said.


Tamkeen will subsidise a portion of the salaries and cover training costs locally and abroad, said Tamkeen Chief Executive Hussain Mohammed Rajab, without disclosing figures. Bahrain, where Citi has operated for 50 years, has sought to market itself as a financial technology hub for the Middle East and North Africa in a bid to revive its reputation as a regional banking and business centre.


The heavily indebted state, which does not have the oil or gas resources of its Gulf neighbours, received a $10 billion bailout in 2018 from some of its Gulf allies to avoid a credit crunch.


EU gas output to jump by 25% on Turkish discovery

EU gas output to jump by 25% on Turkish discovery
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 27 September 2021

EU gas output to jump by 25% on Turkish discovery

EU gas output to jump by 25% on Turkish discovery
  • The natural gas field will provide nearly a third of Turkey’s domestic needs by 2027

The European Union will see its gas production capacity increase by 25 percent with a new Turkish discovery in the Black Sea, Bloomberg reported.

The natural gas field will provide nearly a third of Turkey’s domestic needs by 2027, Bloomberg added, citing Energy Minister Fatih Donmez.

The initial production from the new field will be 3.5 billion cubic meters of gas annually starting from 2023, Donmez told Bloomberg. 


ADNOC raises over $1.1 bn as it completes book-building for drilling unit IPO

ADNOC raises over $1.1 bn as it completes book-building for drilling unit IPO
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 27 September 2021

ADNOC raises over $1.1 bn as it completes book-building for drilling unit IPO

ADNOC raises over $1.1 bn as it completes book-building for drilling unit IPO
  • The offering was oversubscribed, with total gross demand amounting to more than $34 billion
  • ADNOC will continue to own an 84 percent majority stake in the unit

State oil giant Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) has completed bookbuilding for the initial public offering (IPO) of ADNOC Drilling, raising more than $1.1 billion, it said on Monday.


The offering was oversubscribed, with total gross demand amounting to more than $34 billion, it said in a statement.


"Upon settlement, ADNOC Drilling's IPO will be the largest ever ADX (Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange) listing, further bolstering the UAE and Abu Dhabi's equity capital markets," it said.


A tranche for United Arab Emirates retail investors was set at 10 percent and a tranche for local, regional, and international institutional investors at 86 percent, with the remaining 4 percent to be allocated to ADNOC employees and UAE retirees.


Listing is expected on Oct. 3, ADNOC said.


ADNOC will continue to own an 84 percent majority stake in the unit, while Baker Hughes will retain its 5 percent shareholding. Helmerich & Payne will hold 1 percent through its IPO cornerstone investment.


ADNOC increased to 11 percent of share capital the size of the IPO, it said this month, because of oversubscription. It had previously targeted a minimum stake of 7.5 percent.


The sale is the second public flotation of a company owned by the Abu Dhabi oil major after the 2017 listing of ADNOC Distribution, the largest operator of petrol stations and convenience stores in the UAE.


ADNOC and Saudi Aramco, in neighbouring Saudi Arabia, are seeking to raise cash from outside investors as part of plans to diversify sources of income in their oil-reliant economies.