Saudi Arabia issues steel, cement export licenses amid construction surge

Saudi Arabia issues steel, cement export licenses amid construction surge
The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Commerce has granted six steel export licenses and six cement export licenses so far this year. (File/SPA)
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Updated 30 May 2021

Saudi Arabia issues steel, cement export licenses amid construction surge

Saudi Arabia issues steel, cement export licenses amid construction surge
  • New licenses come as construction activity begins to recover following postponement of projects during pandemic

JEDDAH: The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Commerce has granted six steel export licenses and six cement export licenses so far this year.
In 2020, the ministry issued a total of 21 cement export licenses and 19 steel licenses, and is currently reviewing two other export requests.
The new licenses come as construction activity begins to recover following the postponement of many projects during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
At the same time, the price of steel has surged to SR3,514.73 ($937.26) per ton in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021, a 33 percent increase year-on-year and the highest price since 2008, according to the latest data from the General Authority for Statistics (GASTAT).
Badr Jawhar, chairman of the National Committee for Cement Companies in the Council for Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said that since exports were allowed and companies were exempt from export duties, Saudi exports of clinker and cement have increased, as the Saudi product has become a strong competitor in foreign markets.
He said that local companies will continue their export operations abroad, which have increased dramatically during Q1 this year.
According to research by real estate consultant firm JLL, material prices have risen as construction activity has surged in Q1.
“From a supply perspective, the first quarter recorded an increase in construction activity,” the JLL report said.
According to its figures, in the residential sector in Riyadh 7,700 units were handed over in Q1, bringing the total to 1.3 million units in the capital. In Jeddah, around 2,000 units were added, bringing the total to 838,000 units.
According to the report, 36,000 units will be delivered in Riyadh and 12,000 units in Jeddah this year. This year, Riyadh will see the construction of an extra 386,000 square meters of office space, 240 square meters of retail space, and 2,800 new hotel rooms, while Jeddah will gain a total of 43,000 square meters of office space, 200,000 square meters of retail space and 2,700 new hotel rooms.
At the same time, the Kingdom issued 307 new factory licenses in the first three months of the year, according to government estimates. This reflected a total investment of SR17.72 billion ($4.73 billion), an increase of 428.6 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2021.
According to data from the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources website, 240 permits were issued during the same period last year, a 27.92 percent increase year-on-year.
Osama Ghanem Al-Obaidy, an economic adviser and international economic law expert, told Arab News that the initiatives formed part of the government’s bid “to transform Saudi Arabia into a leading industrial power.”
He added: “Development of this sector is one of the pillars of Saudi Vision 2030 to create a competitive economy and sustainable development. Saudi Arabia aims to develop promising industries in food, medicine and medical supplies, as well as military industries, and industries relating to oil, gas, and petrochemicals, mining and chemicals.”


Egypt clothing exports hit by surging shipping costs

Egypt clothing exports hit by surging shipping costs
Updated 22 min 31 sec ago

Egypt clothing exports hit by surging shipping costs

Egypt clothing exports hit by surging shipping costs
  • Rising container costs are affecting both their imports of raw material as well as their export of finished garments according to Mohamed Kassem

RIYADH: Egyptian clothing manufacturers are being hammered by surging shipping costs.

Rising container costs are affecting both their imports of raw material as well as their export of finished garments according to Mohamed Kassem, a member of the Egyptian Exporters Association.

Fabrics from China account for most of the country’s clothing exports, he told Al Arabiya.
The cost of shipping a 40-feet container from Shanghai to an Egyptian port has rocketed to as much as $14,000 compared to $2,500 before the pandemic, he said.
That has led to increased competitive pressures for Egyptian textiles exporters from rivals in Asia.
He called on the state to intervene to help support the industry.


Indian shares close at record highs as pandemic curbs ease, cases fall

Indian shares close at record highs as pandemic curbs ease, cases fall
Updated 28 min 37 sec ago

Indian shares close at record highs as pandemic curbs ease, cases fall

Indian shares close at record highs as pandemic curbs ease, cases fall
  • Many Indian states eased coronavirus restrictions on Monday, including the national capital New Delhi, where authorities allowed shops and malls to open as the number of new cases dropped to the lowest in more than two months

BENGALURU: ndian shares ended at record highs on Tuesday, as declining COVID-19 infections prompted many states to re-open businesses, with a rally in broader markets also helping the sentiment.
The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.36 percent to 15,869.25 and the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex climbed 0.42 percent to 52,773.05 at close.
Many Indian states eased coronavirus restrictions on Monday, including the national capital New Delhi, where authorities allowed shops and malls to open as the number of new cases dropped to the lowest in more than two months.
India on Tuesday reported 60,471 new infections, the lowest since March 31.
The sentiment also tracked global stocks that hit a record high, as investors bet likely “transitory” inflation pressures will restrain the US Federal Reserve from signalling a shift in policy settings.
Many investors expect the Fed to maintain its dovish stance at its two-day meeting starting on Tuesday. Some board members, however, have said the central bank should start discussing tapering its bond buying.
In Mumbai trading, financial stocks provided a boost to the Nifty 50, with ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank ending 1.6 percent and 0.7 percent higher, respectively.
The Nifty Bank Index and the Nifty Private Bank Index, which have so far gained more than 0.55 percent this week, were among the top performers across sub-indexes rising between 0.85 percent and 1.07 percent.
Software services firm Infosys rose 0.8 percent, lifting the Nifty IT index by 0.23 percent.
Shares of Future Retail closed 10 percent higher, after staying at those levels since early trade.


Abu Dhabi’s Eagle Hills ready to open biggest water park in Jordan

Abu Dhabi’s Eagle Hills ready to open biggest water park in Jordan
Updated 15 June 2021

Abu Dhabi’s Eagle Hills ready to open biggest water park in Jordan

Abu Dhabi’s Eagle Hills ready to open biggest water park in Jordan
  • It will open on July 3
  • The park was developed by Abu Dhabi-headquartered Eagle Hills, one of the largest developers in Jordan

DUBAI: The Saraya Aqaba Waterpark – billed as the biggest in Jordan – is opening its doors on July 3.
Located in the country’s only coastal city, Aqaba, the park spans an area of more than 28,500 square meters. It has rides, slides, as well as food and beverage stalls.
“At Saraya Aqaba Waterpark, guests from all around the world are in for an aquatic adventure like no other with slides, rides and experiences suitable for guests of all ages,” Chris Van Der Merwe, its general manager said in a statement.
The park was developed by Abu Dhabi-headquartered Eagle Hills, one of the largest developers in Jordan, and is operated by Abu Dhabi-based Farah Experience, which also handles Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.
Theme parks and other physical attractions have taken a hit when the pandemic forced countries to restrict people’s mobility, however some are now welcoming guests again as attractions make a gradual return.


Saudi inflation driven up by food and vehicle prices as VAT hangover lingers

Saudi inflation driven up by food and vehicle prices as VAT hangover lingers
Updated 15 June 2021

Saudi inflation driven up by food and vehicle prices as VAT hangover lingers

Saudi inflation driven up by food and vehicle prices as VAT hangover lingers
  • Prices rose 5.3 percent the previous month according to data from the General Authority for Statistics

RIYADH: Saudi inflation rose for a second straight month as the consumer price index hit 5.7 percent.
Prices rose 5.3 percent the previous month according to data from the General Authority for Statistics.
The pickup in inflation highlighted the continuing impact of higher value added tax (VAT) which was increased to 15 percent in July 2020 from 5 percent before.
Transport prices also increased by 19.3 percent, led by the rising cost of buying a vehicle.
However food and beverage prices were the main driver in the rising cost of living, rising by 7.3 percent. Food represents a weighting of 17 percent in the Saudi consumer basket that economists use to measure the cost of living in the country.
“In particular, the increase in the prices of meat (6.8 percent) and vegetables (6.7 percent) was remarkable. Food prices were the main driver of the inflation rate in May 2021.” the authority said in a statement.
Food prices are accelerating across the Arab world with Egypt this week also reporting a pick-up in inflation to 4.8 percent year-on-year in May, up from 4.1 percent the previous month. It comes as the United Nations Food Agency predicts a double-digit spike in global food import costs this year.


Saudi flower farm Astra plucked by Dubai-based Floranow

Saudi flower farm Astra plucked by Dubai-based Floranow
Updated 15 June 2021

Saudi flower farm Astra plucked by Dubai-based Floranow

Saudi flower farm Astra plucked by Dubai-based Floranow
  • Floranow describes itself as the MENA region’s first online B2B flower marketplace

DUBAI: Floranow, a Dubai-based B2B floral marketplace said it acquired the distribution business of Saudi Arabia’s Astra Farms
Floranow describes itself as the MENA region’s first online B2B flower marketplace, connecting global producers of flowers and plants to regional and international buyers, including florists, hotels, event planners and supermarkets.
Astra Farm is the Middle East’s largest producer of cut flowers and runs an extensive distribution network across the Kingdom.
“It will enable us to help the Saudi floriculture sector innovate and thrive via the use of amazing technology and world-class, cool-chain logistics,” said Charif Mzayek, Floranow’s founder and CEO.
The company said the deal will disrupt the Kingdom’s floral industry by introducing innovative technology to an otherwise traditional sector.
The value of the acquisition was not disclosed.