Saudi Arabia’s expats sent 16% more in remittances home so far this year

Saudi Arabia’s expats sent 16% more in remittances home so far this year
Expat workers make up three quarters of workers in the Kingdom. (AFP)
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Updated 04 June 2021

Saudi Arabia’s expats sent 16% more in remittances home so far this year

Saudi Arabia’s expats sent 16% more in remittances home so far this year
  • Total remittances sent by the Kingdom’s expatriates reached SR50.7 billion in the first four months of 2021

JEDDAH: Expatriate workers in Saudi Arabia sent SR13.28 billion ($3.54 billion) overseas in remittances in April, a year-on-year increase of 36 percent, according to the latest figures from the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA).
The total amounts sent overseas by expats has increased year-on-year each month in 2021, with January up 12 percent, February up 4 percent and March up 15 percent.
Total remittances sent by the Kingdom’s expatriates reached SR50.7 billion in the first four months of 2021, compared to SR43.6 billion in the same period last year, a rise of 16.28 percent.
Expat workers make up three quarters of workers in the Kingdom, with most coming from countries such as Syria, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka.
In 2020, the total amount overseas workers sent out of the Kingdom increased 19 percent to SR149.7 billion. The surge in payments came as the Kingdom’s foreign workers looked to support their families during the coronavirus disease pandemic.
The growth is despite forecasts from the World Bank in April 2020 estimating that remittances to low- and middle-income countries would decline by 19.6 percent in the Middle East and North Africa region, as workers struggled to cope with the impact of the virus.

Last month, a new report by the World Bank also found that Saudi Arabia was the third largest source of remittances globally in 2020, just behind the UAE and the US.
Globally, remittances to low- and middle-income countries fell 1.6 percent to $540 billion, a smaller decline than expected. The figure is forecast to increase to $553 billion this year and to $565 billion in 2022.
SAMA figures also showed that Saudi nationals transferred SR4.94 billion in remittances out of the country in April, a rise of 67 percent from the previous year.
This figure mirrored a general upward trend, with remittances up 9 percent in January and up 26 percent in March, with just February seeing a drop of 4 percent.
However, Mazen Al-Sudairi, head of research at Riyadh-based financial services company Al-Rajhi Capital, said this was not an accurate long-term reflection of the market and 2020 was an anomaly.
“It has grown relative to last year because the trade was limited during this time last year … Traveling had completely stopped,” he pointed out.
“The average remittance this year as compared to the years 2018 or 2019 is still below average,” he said, adding that total Saudi remittance levels are likely to continue to decrease because Saudis have started to spend more locally on entertainment and events.
“For instance, they don’t need to go to Dubai to visit the cinema,” he said.


Easing restrictions drive Middle East’s post-pandemic rebound, says ICAEW

Easing restrictions drive Middle East’s post-pandemic rebound, says ICAEW
Updated 28 min 33 sec ago

Easing restrictions drive Middle East’s post-pandemic rebound, says ICAEW

Easing restrictions drive Middle East’s post-pandemic rebound, says ICAEW
  • The report reveals that business confidence in the region has strengthened in recent months

DUBAI: The Middle East’s regional GDP will grow by 2.4 percent this year according to a report commissioned by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICEAW).
It represents a similar rate to the region’s average growth trajectory in the last decade, as countries double down on their pandemic exit strategies.
The report reveals that business confidence in the region has strengthened in recent months on the back of eased COVID-19-related restrictions and an energetic vaccine campaign.
Strong Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) readings indicate a positive outlook throughout the year, the report said.
This shows a marked improvement from the 4.4 percent economic contraction felt across the region last year.
The region can particularly benefit from the expected surge of travel demand once the rest of the world opens up, the report noted, with major global events set to happen in Dubai and Qatar.
“The outlook for most Middle Eastern economies looks positive this quarter, but keeping coronavirus levels low will be essential to ensure economies can return to growth,” the company’s regional director, Michael Armstrong, said.
He highlighted the need to continue diversification strategies to reduce reliance in the oil industry, which has seen gradual recovery from its performance in 2020.
“The rise in the oil price has boosted revenue prospects for GCC producers,” ICAEW Economic Adviser Scott Livermore, said.
“Higher oil revenue gives governments more scope to support post-pandemic recoveries without undermining efforts aimed at improving medium-term fiscal sustainability,” he added.


Quebec-based Robotel to add Arabic curriculum in its offering

Quebec-based Robotel to add Arabic curriculum in its offering
Updated 13 June 2021

Quebec-based Robotel to add Arabic curriculum in its offering

Quebec-based Robotel to add Arabic curriculum in its offering
  • The Quebec-based company said it would partner with Nexus Learn Arabic to develop the course
  • The pair want to finish the curriculum by 2022

DUBAI: Canadian education technology company Robotel is teaming up with a UK-based startup to develop an extensive Arabic language digital curriculum.
The Quebec-based company said it would partner with Nexus Learn Arabic to develop the course, as it expands its offerings to its client schools.
“We feel it is important to help bridge the cultural gap between North America, Europe and the Arabic culture, of which the language is a rich testimonial,” Yanick Demers, the company’s CEO said in a statement.
He added Robotel’s client schools have been asking for an Arabic curriculum. The company currently offers curricula in English, German, and Spanish.
The aim is to create a curriculum that will be the “go to” for schools in Europe, Middle East, Asia, and North America, Nexus Learn Arabic CEO Jamal Al-Tamimi said.
“We are currently entertaining opportunities for financing and strategic partnerships to help us achieve the goal of bringing best-in-class Arabic curriculum to schools,” he added.
The pair want to finish the curriculum by 2022.


Dammam smart parking to generate cash for Batic in second half as $320 project takes off

Dammam smart parking to generate cash for Batic in second half as $320 project takes off
Updated 13 June 2021

Dammam smart parking to generate cash for Batic in second half as $320 project takes off

Dammam smart parking to generate cash for Batic in second half as $320 project takes off
  • It follows a deal struck in 2019 and worth SR1.2 billion ($320 million) to develop and operate smart car parks in Dammam, Dhahran and Al Khobar

RIYADH: Batic Investment and Logistics Company said that its smart parking project in Dammam would start generating revenue from July 1.
It follows a deal struck in 2019 and worth SR1.2 billion ($320 million) to develop and operate smart car parks in Dammam, Dhahran and Al Khobar for 25 years.
It is part of a broader push to develop so-called smart cities in the Kingdom with major investments being channeled into technology aimed at improving the efficiency of municipal services.

 


Dur Hospitality and Taiba Investments mull merger

Dur Hospitality and Taiba Investments mull merger
Updated 13 June 2021

Dur Hospitality and Taiba Investments mull merger

Dur Hospitality and Taiba Investments mull merger
  • It comes amid a wave of merger and acquisition activity in the Kingdom and wider Gulf region as corporations reposition themselves in the post-pandemic world

RIYADH: Dur Hospitality and Taiba Investments said they would start preliminary discussions about a possible merger.

The pair made the disclosure in separate statements to the Saudi stock exchange on Sunday.
It comes amid a wave of merger and acquisition activity in the Kingdom and wider Gulf region as corporations reposition themselves in the post-pandemic world.
Dur develops, owns and manages hotels, restaurants, recreational centers and travel agencies. It also provides services to Umrah pilgrims, in addition to developing residential, hotel and commercial buildings, Argaam reported.
Its major shareholders include Assila Investments Co. with 27.14 percent, the Public Investment Fund (PIF) with 16.62 percent, and Mohamed Ibrahim Mohamed Al Issa with 12 percent, the financial website said.
Meanwhile Taiba is active in real estate, architectural and electrical contracting, maintenance and operation, agricultural, industrial and mining activities.
Its major shareholders include Asilah Investment Co. with 16.73 percent, Mohamed Saleh Hamza Serafy (15.55 percent), and Mohamed Ibrahim Mohamed Al Issa (7.41 percent), Argaam said.


SRMG unit inks 3-year media services contract worth $53.3m

SRMG unit inks 3-year media services contract worth $53.3m
Updated 13 June 2021

SRMG unit inks 3-year media services contract worth $53.3m

SRMG unit inks 3-year media services contract worth $53.3m
  • Under the contract, Taoq will provide media services, produce multilingual content, and provide consulting services

DUBAI: Taoq International Public Relations, a unit of the Saudi Research and Media Group (SRMG), has signed a three-year contract with an annual value of SR200 million ($53.3 million).
Under the contract, Taoq will provide media services, produce multilingual content, and provide consulting services, SRMG announced in a bourse filing.
The financial impact of the deal, signed with an unnamed commercial company in the media industry, is expected to appear in Q2 statements this year.