Saudi retail activity picks up, but landlords still feel pressure on rents

Saudi retail activity picks up, but landlords still feel pressure on rents
Many customers prefer the ‘physical experience' of shopping in-store. (Reuters)
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Updated 17 July 2021

Saudi retail activity picks up, but landlords still feel pressure on rents

Saudi retail activity picks up, but landlords still feel pressure on rents
  • Point-of-sale transactions have doubled from last year
  • During the Riyadh and Makkah saw 28,000 sq. meters and 57,000 sq m of new retail space in H1

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s retail sector has seen a recovery in sales at physical stores but, despite the increased footfall, landlords are still feeling the pressure as rents decline amid new space coming onto the market, according to a new report.

“The point-of-sale transactions have been increasing over the past few weeks, and almost doubled compared to the same period last year,” said the report from real estate consultancy firm JLL, based on data from the Saudi Central Bank. “This indicates that, despite the change in consumer behaviors and the shift to e-commerce, many customers prefer the ‘physical experience.’” 

A consumer behavior poll by global consultancy firm Kearney in June found that 57 percent of shoppers in the Kingdom believed that the knock-on effects of the pandemic on buying habits would continue for at least another six months, with 44 percent of those questioned saying they preferred to head to malls to buy essential items.

During the first half of this year, Riyadh and Makkah saw the delivery of 28,000 square meters and 57,000 sq m of new retail space. Jeddah and the Dammam Metropolitan Area saw an extra 53,000 sq m and 12,000 sq m added.

The new supply has resulted in downward pressure on rental levels, with average year-on-year rates dropping by 8 percent for super malls in Riyadh and 2 percent for smaller regional malls. Hardest hit was Makkah, where rental levels among large malls were down 24 percent year-on-year.

Looking ahead, the retail property market is likely to continue to favor tenants as new retail supply enters the market, such as Riyadh Avenue and Mall of Saudi in Riyadh.

Across other sectors the pandemic also had an impact. In the office segment only 7,900 sq m of office space was handed over across the four main Saudi cities, and many of the projects due for delivery within the year will experience further delays.

However, there was a 48 percent rise in the number of residential mortgages registered during the period. 

Based on the high demand for residential villas, as they represent 80 percent of total mortgages, the Ministry of Housing’s Sakani program provided 77,000 housing units during the first five months of 2021, roughly 55 percent of the target of 140,000 units by 2021.

The hospitality sector saw a slight improvement in performance. Riyadh saw the delivery of 590 new hotel rooms over the first half of 2021, while Jeddah saw the delivery of only one hotel, as most hotels delayed their openings to the upcoming Formula 1 event, which is scheduled to begin on Dec. 5, 2021.

Makkah’s hospitality sector continues to face pressure as this year’s Hajj is limited to those who live in Saudi Arabia, with a total of 60,000 pilgrims.


Egypt’s chemical industry exports rise by 33% to $3.5bn 

Egypt’s chemical industry exports rise by 33% to $3.5bn 
Updated 12 sec ago

Egypt’s chemical industry exports rise by 33% to $3.5bn 

Egypt’s chemical industry exports rise by 33% to $3.5bn 

CAIRO: Egypt's chemical and fertilizer industries’ exports have increased by 33 percent to a record $3.5 billion during the first five months of 2022, compared to $2.6 billion during the same period last year, the latest official data revealed.

According to the Chemical Industries and Fertilisers Export Council, the sector ranked first in terms of the volume of its exports from Egypt's total non-oil exports.

The chemical and fertilizer sector accounted for around 22 percent of Egypt’s total non-oil exports. This was followed by the building materials sector, which accounted for 20 percent of the total exports, with a value of about $3.2 billion.

According to official data, most of the sector's exports witnessed increases in varying proportions.

Fertilizers ranked first, with an estimated export volume of $1.16 billion, compared to $768 million during the same period last year, with a growth rate of 51 percent.

Plastics exports came in second place, with exports estimated at $1.09 billion, an increase of 12 percent over the same period last year when exports amounted to about $970 million.

In third place came the inorganic chemicals, which witnessed a noticeable increase in the volume of their exports by 144 percent, rising from $225 million to $550 million. 


Egypt In-Focus — Fintech startups raise $167m; deal signed to import 180K tons of wheat from India

Egypt In-Focus — Fintech startups raise $167m; deal signed to import 180K tons of wheat from India
Updated 1 min 39 sec ago

Egypt In-Focus — Fintech startups raise $167m; deal signed to import 180K tons of wheat from India

Egypt In-Focus — Fintech startups raise $167m; deal signed to import 180K tons of wheat from India

RIYADH: Fintech startups in Egypt have raised $167 million in the first half of 2022, according to a report published in Fintech Galaxy. 

According to the report, the amount was collected in 31 transactions of which series A and B funding accounted for around 90 percent. 

The growth of the fintech sector in Egypt is primarily driven by the Central Bank of Egypt’s Sandbox and the recent launch of Nclude Fintech fund, the report added. 

Egypt to import 180,000 tons of wheat from India

The Egyptian government has successfully closed a deal to import 180,000 tons of wheat from India, Reuters reported citing Supply Minister Aly Moselhy.

The minister said that the contracted wheat will be shipped once it reaches the Indian ports. 

Strategic reserves

Egypt has strategic reserves of wheat sufficient for 5.7 months, the supply minister said in a news conference on Sunday, adding that the country has procured 3.9 million tons of wheat in the local harvest so far.

Egypt is one of the world’s biggest wheat importers.

He added that the strategic reserves for sugar were sufficient for more than six months and those for vegetable oils are sufficient for 6.2 months, while the country is self-sufficient for rice for 3.3 months.

 

(With input from Reuters) 


UAE In-Focus — First Dubai E-Sports event in October; Etihad Airways to resume direct flights to Beijing

UAE In-Focus — First Dubai E-Sports event in October; Etihad Airways to resume direct flights to Beijing
Updated 3 min 48 sec ago

UAE In-Focus — First Dubai E-Sports event in October; Etihad Airways to resume direct flights to Beijing

UAE In-Focus — First Dubai E-Sports event in October; Etihad Airways to resume direct flights to Beijing

DUBAI: Dubai Silicon Oasis, the technology park in Dubai’s integrated free zone, will host its first E-Sports event in October in partnership with Dubai Integrated Economic Zones Authority and Seed, according to Emirates News Agency, WAM.

Seed specializes in ecosystem building and has experience in E-Sports, blockchain, and payments.

Seed and DIEZ will also partner with SiGMA, a major E-Sports, artificial intelligence, and blockchain event organizer, to bring to Dubai an E-Sports exhibition annually.

They will also assess the feasibility of building an E-Sports campus arena, which will serve as an educational academy for all stakeholders, including parents, gamers, and corporations, the report said.

The center will also be a training ground for local, regional, and international gamers, as well as anyone interested in pursuing a career as a referee or commentator.

In addition to hosting E-Sports tournaments, the arena will provide a monitored social environment where youth can develop their technical skills and learn from others, the statement concluded.

Etihad Airways to resume direct flights from Abu Dhabi to Beijing

The UAE’s national carrier Etihad Airways will resume direct flights between Abu Dhabi and Beijing from 29th June, Emirates News Agency WAM stated.

This is the first regular direct international passenger flight to recommence for Beijing, under the latest mandate of the Chinese Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council.

Etihad Airways said that the resumption of direct flights between the two capitals is an example of the comprehensive strategic partnership between the UAE and China.

Taking advantage of the world’s most efficient aircraft, it said the airline will operate a weekly flight on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.


MENA Project Tracker: Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City starts work on net-zero tower; EGA becomes UAE’s first silicon metal manufacturer

MENA Project Tracker: Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City starts work on net-zero tower; EGA becomes UAE’s first silicon metal manufacturer
Updated 39 min 43 sec ago

MENA Project Tracker: Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City starts work on net-zero tower; EGA becomes UAE’s first silicon metal manufacturer

MENA Project Tracker: Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City starts work on net-zero tower; EGA becomes UAE’s first silicon metal manufacturer

RIYADH: Abu Dhabi’s technology and innovation hub Masdar City has started the works at its net-zero energy office tower, of Masdar City Square, as the UAE continues its journey to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. 

Also known as MC2, the project is being developed in collaboration with project management firm Woods Bagot, and architectural firm Faithful+Gould, Trade Arabia reported. 

Woods Bagot will handle design and construction supervision, while Faithful+Gould has been awarded a project management consultancy services contract, the report added.

The MC2 development which has an area of 29,000 square meters with a gross floor area of 50,000 square meters includes seven single and multi-tenant office buildings, along with a large parking facility. 

The works of MC2 are expected to be completed by 2024. 

EGA to produce silicon in UAE

Emirates Global Aluminum, also known as EGA, has announced that the company is planning to develop a project to manufacture silicon in the UAE, Trade Arabia reported.

Currently, there are no silicon manufacturing units in the UAE, and EGA is the largest importer of this metal with an annual demand of 60,000 tons.

“Developing a silicon metal manufacturing facility would secure our supply of a strategic raw material. Once we have met our own demand we could expand further, creating a new growth opportunity for our company while supporting the development of new local industries in line with the goals of Operation 300bn and Make it in the Emirates, and the global energy transition,” said Abdulnasser Bin Kalban, CEO of EGL. 

He added that the construction work of this new project is expected to begin next year.

Silicon is a key raw material for premium aluminum.


TASI bounces back after heavy losses: Closing bell

TASI bounces back after heavy losses: Closing bell
Updated 26 June 2022

TASI bounces back after heavy losses: Closing bell

TASI bounces back after heavy losses: Closing bell

RIYADH: Saudi stocks gained in the first trading session of the week, rebounding slightly following steep declines, despite fears about upcoming rate hikes and a recession.

The main index, TASI, gained 1.79 percent to close at 11,513, while the parallel market, Nomu, shed 0.85 percent to 20,681.

Saudi Arabia Refineries Co. and National Gypsum Co. both surged 10 percent to lead the gainers, followed by Saudi Advanced Industries Co. with a 9.98 percent gain.

Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Co. led the decliners with a 6.20 percent decline, followed by Taleem REIT Fund with a 1.86 percent fall.

Saudi Aramco, the largest player on the Saudi oil market, ended today’s trading up 1.21 percent.

In the financial sector, the Kingdom’s largest valued bank Al Rajhi rose 1.93 percent, while Alinma Bank added 3.83 percent.

In the pharma sector, Aldawaa Medical Services Co. improved 2.60 percent, while Nahdi Medical Co. gained 1.04 percent.

Both telecom giants stc and Zain KSA climbed 2.06 percent and 6.08 percent, respectively.

Methanol Chemicals Co. increased 1.93 percent, after reporting that it would pay SR273 million ($73 million) as an early loan payment to SIDF and lenders.

Middle East Healthcare Co. rose 1.70 percent, after reporting that it has opened a Saudi German clinic complex in the Al Samer District of Abha city, accommodating 30 clinics.

Due to tight supply, oil prices on Friday rose to $113.12 a barrel for Brent crude and $107.62 a barrel for West Texas Intermediate crude.