IHS Markit: Saudi job creation, new orders accelerate in June

IHS Markit: Saudi job creation, new orders accelerate in June
Saudi hiring is on the rise as signs emerge that inflation has eased. (Reuters)
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Updated 06 July 2021

IHS Markit: Saudi job creation, new orders accelerate in June

IHS Markit: Saudi job creation, new orders accelerate in June
  • Business activity increased for the tenth consecutive months in June, as Kingdom recovers from the impact of COVID-19

JEDDAH: Business activity in the Saudi non-oil private sector in June grew at its fastest rate since January, amidst a surge in new orders and job creation rising at its quickest pace for 19 months, according to the latest monthly research from IHS Markit.

The latest purchasing managers index (PMI) for June found that while input prices rose, there are signs that inflation is set to peak. At the same time, strong discounting remains, meaning output prices only increased slightly.

June posted a score of 56.4, the tenth month a row that business conditions have improved — a clear sign that the Kingdom is beginning to recover from the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. A score of over 50 on the PMI indicates expansion, while a score below 50 implies contraction in business activity. “Demand growth in the Saudi Arabian non-oil sector ramped up again in June, with the latest data signalling the strongest rise in sales since January. The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and easing of restrictions also helped to lift confidence for future activity to a five-month high, as firms hope that the economic recovery will accelerate over the second half of the year,” David Owen, an economist at IHS Markit, commented on the latest PMI results. Owen also pointed to the positive signs in the employment sector, which has grown at its fastest rate since November 2019. While the pace of job creation was not at the same as growth in new orders, Owen was optimistic that continued positive sales growth would lead to a future surge
in recruitment.

One interesting factor was the strong performance of the Saudi domestic market. While foreign sales were strong, the June PMI said overall growth was led by the domestic sector, showing the overall resilience on the Saudi economy during the pandemic.

Saudi inflation in June rose for a second straight month as the consumer price index hit 5.7 percent, according to the General Authority for Statistics.

The growth in inflation highlighted the continuing impact of higher value added tax (VAT) which increased to 15 percent in July 2020 from 5 percent before.

However, looking ahead, James Swanston, Middle East and North Africa economist at London-based Capital Economics, forecast that headline inflation had peaked in June and would begin to decrease as the year progresses

“We think that the headline rate will slow to around 1.0-1.5 percent year-on-year and remain at this pace over the course of this year and throughout 2022-23,” Swanston said.


China In-Focus: Investments in solar power projects surged 200%; blockchain infrastructure project to expand internationally

China In-Focus: Investments in solar power projects surged 200%; blockchain infrastructure project to expand internationally
Updated 9 sec ago

China In-Focus: Investments in solar power projects surged 200%; blockchain infrastructure project to expand internationally

China In-Focus: Investments in solar power projects surged 200%; blockchain infrastructure project to expand internationally

RIYADH: China’s investments in solar power projects tripled in the first four months of 2022. On the other hand, the state-backed Blockchain-based Service Network is set to launch its first major international expansion. In another development, US President Joe Biden has left it up to the 13 countries which are part of his new scheme regarding economic engagement in Asia to decide whether China will be part of the plan. Meanwhile, stocks have slipped amid surging COVID-19 cases.

·      China’s investments in solar power projects surged 200 percent in the period between January and April 2022 to stand at 29 billion yuan ($4.3 billion), Bloomberg reported, citing a statement from the National Energy Administration. The figure compares to 51.3 billion yuan invested in solar over the first 11 months of 2021.

·      China’s state-sanctioned blockchain infrastructure project Blockchain-based Service Network is set to launch its first-ever major international expansion, CNBC reported. The firm intends to make the international version of its product — also referred to as Spartan Network — open source for people to examine. The product is projected to be made up of six public blockchains that do not operate with cryptocurrencies.  

·      US President Joe Biden has launched a scheme — referred to as Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity — concerning US economic engagement in Asia as of Monday, leaving it up to the 13 founding countries to decide if China will ever get to join and how to implement the agreements, Reuters reported. 

·      After two consecutive weeks of gains, China’s stocks slipped on Monday as a result of new Covid-19 cases were reported in capital Beijing, Reuters reported. While the blue chip CSI300 index dropped 0.6 percent to stand at 4,053.98 points, the Shanghai Composite index SSEC remained almost flat standing at 3.146.86 points. 

 


Saudi Arabia's Aqaseem Factory to list on Nomu on May 25

Saudi Arabia's Aqaseem Factory to list on Nomu on May 25
Updated 11 min 35 sec ago

Saudi Arabia's Aqaseem Factory to list on Nomu on May 25

Saudi Arabia's Aqaseem Factory to list on Nomu on May 25

RIYADH: Saudi Aqaseem Factory for Chemicals and Plastics Co. will list its shares on Saudi Arabia’s parallel Nomu market on May 25, according to a bourse filing.

The company received Capital Market Authority approval on March 21 to register its shares for direct listing.

The motor oil and lubricants company was established in 1997.


TRSDC preserves ecological heritage of Red Sea’s natural habitat

TRSDC preserves ecological heritage of Red Sea’s natural habitat
Updated 19 min 50 sec ago

TRSDC preserves ecological heritage of Red Sea’s natural habitat

TRSDC preserves ecological heritage of Red Sea’s natural habitat

RIYADH: When it comes to hospitality, The Red Sea Development Co. is pulling out all stops as it is getting ready to offer guests world-class service and unmatched luxury.

It is also leaving no stone unturned in its relentless efforts to preserve and protect the rich natural habitats and endangered species on the shores and nearby islands of the Red Sea.

To accomplish this task, TRSDC has put together an ambitious master plan and invited renowned experts in ecology, marine biology and the environment to preserve the breath-taking sceneries of the Red Sea and admire the endangered species of this region.

TRSDC’s master plan predicts a 30 percent net conservation benefit in the next two decades and leaving 75 percent of the island archipelago untouched, with nine islands designated as special conservation zones. 

In addition, the company plans to power the destination with 100 percent renewable energy 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, all of which will be generated by solar and wind. 

What’s more? It is building the largest battery storage facility globally to guarantee supply at night.

Arab News spoke to three experts to get a perspective on the company’s initiatives to safeguard the Red Sea’s flora and fauna.

Lamya AlOtai, environmental impact assessment specialist, TRSDC

Lamya AlOtai revealed that her group had spotted more than 100 bird species at the monitoring site.

Some of the most frequently spotted birds fell under the high conservation priority order of the National Biodiversity Strategy of Saudi Arabia. They included crab plovers, sooty falcons and ospreys. These species exhibit unique characteristics. 

“For instance, crab plover is a lovely shorebird with an interesting breeding habit; they dig deep burrows to safeguard their young ones. They are the only wading birds to nest this way,” she said ardently.

Her dedicated consultants have identified over 1,700 crab plovers across 15 islands. These crab clovers mostly rely on crabs and the mangrove habitats in the vicinity.

“The Red Sea coast is also home to sooty falcons. They are known to live in hot arid environments, mountain cliffs, small rocky islands, and they are susceptible to disturbance.” 

TRSDC palns to leave 75 percent of the island archipelago untouched (Supplied)

Saud Almutairi, environmental planning and appraisal specialist, TRSDC

Saud Almutairi confirmed that the company is keen to double efforts to ensure that tourists enjoy the natural surroundings of the Red Sea.

“At TRSDC, we are raising the bar for regenerative tourists. We are committed to delivering a tourist destination while conserving the environment and biodiversity,” said Almutairi.

“We are utilizing the best available science and technology to study birdlife and its relationship with other environmental components,” he added.

Almutairi noticed, for instance, that the falcons tend to breed in a hot arid environment on rocky islands in the small cavities facing the sea.

“So, it gets its natural isolation from any anthropogenic activity. Therefore, we conduct several surveys to ensure that we develop certain buffer zones to protect them.”

The company has also conducted several surveys to develop specific buffer zones to mitigate and manage environmental risks.

“We have set aside certain islands and areas as conservation zones to keep our main natural assets in this area.”

Noura Islam, assistant environmental management and assessment manager, TRSDC

Noura Islam has constantly kept an eye on some endangered species in the region, especially the marine turtles.

“These species play an essential role in balancing the biodiversity of the area. They’re also known to provide nutrients to sandy beaches, and these beaches are vital for their nesting practices. At TRSDC, we are actively working toward the protection of these species. By setting aside the islands, these islands will stay pristine.”

She added: “Marine turtles are the most valuable marine species in our project. We have two species, green turtles and hawksbill turtles.”

The company has been working with local entities to protect the species.

“For example, local entities rescued two turtles on our site and sent them to an aquarium to provide them with the necessary treatment. And once they regained their health, they were released back into the sea. And this is one of our success stories of how we protect the turtles on our site.” 


UAE recruiting platform Ogram raises $3m in a Series A funding round

UAE recruiting platform Ogram raises $3m in a Series A funding round
Updated 22 min 23 sec ago

UAE recruiting platform Ogram raises $3m in a Series A funding round

UAE recruiting platform Ogram raises $3m in a Series A funding round

RIYADH: UAE-based digital recruiting platform Ogram has raised $3 million in a Series A funding round led by venture capital firm Modus Capital with other investors.

Other investors who are participating in this deal include Aditum Investment Management, Dtec Ventures, and DAAL VC, according to Wamda.

The company is planning to use this fund to expand its operations into Saudi Arabia and Europe.

Founded in 2017, Ogram uses technology to enable businesses to book and manage staff on demand, making their job matching 160 times faster and 50 percent more reliable, stated the Wamda release.

 


15 million tourists visited Saudi Arabia in Q1: Princess Haifa Bint Mohammed

15 million tourists visited Saudi Arabia in Q1: Princess Haifa Bint Mohammed
Updated 44 min 46 sec ago

15 million tourists visited Saudi Arabia in Q1: Princess Haifa Bint Mohammed

15 million tourists visited Saudi Arabia in Q1: Princess Haifa Bint Mohammed
  • “People are going to travel and it doesn’t matter where they come from [in] the world, but they will come to try something new”

RIYADH: 15 million tourists visited Saudi Arabia in the first three months of the year, as the Kingdom focuses more on the growth of the non-oil sector, according to Princess Haifa Bint Mohammed, assistant minister of tourism in the Kingdom. 

While speaking at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos on May 23, the assistant minister revealed that music and agri-tourism in Saudi Arabia have been witnessing massive growth in recent years. 

She stated that Saudi Arabia hosted 2,000 music shows amid the pandemic, a clear indication of the growth of this sector. 

Talking about the revival of the tourism sector post COVID-19 pandemic, she said, “People are going to travel and it doesn’t matter where they come from [in] the world, but they will come to try something new.”

“They will try to see something new. And we saw this in one of our destinations as well, which is called Al-Ahsa oasis, a UNESCO World Heritage site for the largest palm tree oasis in the world.”