Jeddah Islamic Port surges to 37th biggest in the world - report

Jeddah Islamic Port surges to 37th biggest in the world - report
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Updated 31 August 2021

Jeddah Islamic Port surges to 37th biggest in the world - report

Jeddah Islamic Port surges to 37th biggest in the world - report
  • The Jeddah Islamic port has become the world's 37th biggest port
  • The leap has been fuelled by a rise in capacity for container traffic


RIYADH: The Jeddah Islamic port has become the world's 37th biggest port, jumping up five places from last year, to SPA reported citing Lloyd's List's annual report.

The leap has been fuelled by a rise in capacity for container traffic, which saw the hub register 4.767 million containers in 2020, a 6.8 percent rise on the 4.43 million processed in 2019.

The port's success has been attributed to the upgrade of the operations for the container station following a new commercial attribution contract signed by the Saudi Port Authority.

Valued at SR9 billion, the development increased the carrying capacity of container stations by more than 70 percent.

The list of the 100 biggest global ports included two other Saudi enterprises, with the King Abdullah port ranked number 84, while the King Abdul Aziz port came in at 93, according to the report.

The Kingdom has also increased its global classification in ports network performance, ranking number 16 internationally on the ability of passing goods.

Saudi Arabia has a wild network of ports in the Red Sea and the Arabic Gulf coasts, making it the biggest ports' network in the region.

 


Fuel price cap ‘beat inflation’ in Saudi Arabia, says finance minister in upbeat economic forecast

Fuel price cap ‘beat inflation’ in Saudi Arabia, says finance minister in upbeat economic forecast
Updated 16 sec ago

Fuel price cap ‘beat inflation’ in Saudi Arabia, says finance minister in upbeat economic forecast

Fuel price cap ‘beat inflation’ in Saudi Arabia, says finance minister in upbeat economic forecast
  • Inflation in Saudi Arabia was 1.6 percent at the end of March and is expected to be no higher that 2.3 percent by the end of the year

DAVOS: A cap on the domestic price of gasoline when crude oil passed $70 a barrel helped to insulate Saudi Arabia from the danger of inflation, the Kingdom’s finance minister said on Monday.
Inflation in Saudi Arabia was 1.6 percent at the end of March and is expected to be no higher that 2.3 percent by the end of the year, Mohammed Al-Jadaan said. Many Western economies are nearing double-digit inflation, partly driven by domestic energy costs.
“It was the end of last year we froze the price escalation of gasoline for the internal economy and households at $70. So anything above $70, the economy will not feel that heat,” Al-Jadaan told a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
The minister said the economic outlook for the Middle East and North Africa region was generally positive, but geopolitical challenges such as the war in Ukraine were putting pressure on food prices. “In this particular area, let us remember that the MENA region is a significant importer of wheat,” he said.
“If you look at just some basic figures, we represent about 6 percent of the world’s population, and the World Bank is saying 20 percent of the world’s potential starvation will be in MENA.”


70% professionals consider changing jobs due to lack of flexibility, research shows

70% professionals consider changing jobs due to lack of flexibility, research shows
Updated 30 min 21 sec ago

70% professionals consider changing jobs due to lack of flexibility, research shows

70% professionals consider changing jobs due to lack of flexibility, research shows

RIYADH: A new research from professional networking site LinkedIn has shed light on employee sentiment in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, with 70 percent of those surveyed saying they have considered leaving (or have left) a job due to lack of flexibility.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the rise in demand for flexible work. “The impact of the pandemic on how we work has been transformative, and research globally is pointing to an increased urgency for greater flexibility and empowerment in the workplace,” said Ali Matar, head of LinkedIn MENA and EMEA Venture Markets.

The research follows the launch of LinkedIn’s “career break” feature, which aims to destigmatize career gaps and support flexible careers. Last year, LinkedIn added stay-at-home parent job titles on the website in an effort to break biases around career gaps.

These initiatives align with what employees want, as 56 percent of those surveyed by LinkedIn said they plan on taking a career break in the near future.

LinkedIn refers to this shift toward flexible work as a “flexidus.” However, research showed there is still a disconnect between what companies offer in terms of flexibility and what employees want. 

While 74 percent of professionals in the UAE and Saudi Arabia said they thought the pandemic exposed a need for flexible work arrangements, more than 50 percent said that no new policies had been introduced by their firms to promote flexible work.

Additionally, LinkedIn research showed that a lack of workplace flexibility significantly impacts women’s careers, with 20 percent of women who had to leave a job due to lack of flexibility saying their career progression was affected.

“We have been given an incredible opportunity to reshape the world of work, and it’s critical we remember to keep people at the heart of it to truly build ‘work that works’ for everyone,” said Matar.


Macro Snapshot — Egypt GDP topped 5% in Q1; countries hike interest rates to stabilize economies

Macro Snapshot — Egypt GDP topped 5% in Q1; countries hike interest rates to stabilize economies
Updated 23 May 2022

Macro Snapshot — Egypt GDP topped 5% in Q1; countries hike interest rates to stabilize economies

Macro Snapshot — Egypt GDP topped 5% in Q1; countries hike interest rates to stabilize economies

RIYADH: Egypt’s economy grew more than 5 percent in the first quarter of 2022, CNBC Arabia reported on Monday, citing Planning Minister Hala Al-Saeed.

She also said the economy would grow around 6 percent in the 2021-22 fiscal year, which ends in June.

On the other hand, many countries are taking steps to stabilize their respective economies by hiking interest rates.

Ghana ramps up interest rate 

Ghana’s central bank on Monday raised its main interest rate by 200 basis points to 19 percent to curb inflationary pressures and promote macroeconomic stability, Gov. Ernest Addison said.

In March, the Bank of Ghana raised its policy rate by 250 basis points to 17 percent — the largest hike in its history — to stem runaway inflation in one of West Africa’s more prosperous nations as the government cut spending to reduce the budget deficit and save a sliding local currency.

But in April the consumer inflation rate in the gold, oil and cocoa producer hit an 18-year high of 23.6 percent. 

Pakistan hikes main policy rate 

The State Bank of Pakistan raised its benchmark interest rate on Monday by 150 basis points to 13.75 percent, the second hike in less than two months, as the South Asian nation grapples with a sinking economy.

The key interest rates have been hiked by 400 bps in less than two months, according to the central bank.

“This action, together with much needed fiscal consolidation, should help moderate demand to a more sustainable pace while keeping inflation expectations anchored and containing risks to external stability,” the bank said in a statement.

Swiss bank may tighten monetary policy 

The Swiss National Bank will tighten monetary policy if inflation in Switzerland remains persistently high, governing board member Andrea Maechler said in an interview published on Monday.

The European Central Bank on Monday became the latest institution to signal it was hiking rates to combat soaring inflation, following similar moves by the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England. Read full story

The SNB could follow suit, should Swiss inflation remain outside its target range 0-2 percent. April saw the highest inflation rate in Switzerland for 14 years, with prices rising by 2.5 percent.

“If the inflation we expect does not come down in the medium term to a range between 0 percent and 2 percent, we will not hesitate to tighten policy,” Maechler told Swiss newspaper Bilan.

The SNB now has the world’s lowest interest rate of minus 0.75 percent which along with its readiness to intervene in the currency markets has been the basis of its monetary policy over the last seven years.

Nigeria Q1 GDP growth slows 

Nigerian gross domestic product grew 3.11 percent in the first quarter, slower than in the previous quarter as a fall in oil production hit the rest of the economy, the national statistics office said on Monday ahead of a central bank interest rate decision on Tuesday.

It was the sixth consecutive quarter of growth, with non-oil sectors helping Nigeria bounce back from a severe recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The full-year GDP figure for 2021 showed the fastest growth in seven years. 

Gross domestic product grew by 3.98 percent in the fourth quarter of 2021. In the first three months of last year, the growth rate was 0.51 percent.

“After the recession experienced by the country in 2020 occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy has been on the path of growth,” the National Bureau of Statistics said.

 


Africa development bank approves $1.5bn for food crisis

Africa development bank approves $1.5bn for food crisis
Updated 23 May 2022

Africa development bank approves $1.5bn for food crisis

Africa development bank approves $1.5bn for food crisis

ACCRA: The African Development Bank has approved a $1.5 billion emergency program to alleviate the impact of worsening food insecurity due to the Ukraine war, its director said on Monday.

About 20 million farmers on the continent will benefit from the fund as Africa faces a shortage of at least 30 million metric tons of food, especially wheat, maize, and soybeans imported from Russia and Ukraine.

“The$1.5 billion ... will be used to support African countries to produce food and do so rapidly,” AfDB Group President Akinwumi Adesina told the media ahead of annual general meetings in Ghana's capital Accra.

The program aims to help produce 38 million tons of food. This will consist of 11 million tons of wheat, 18 million tons of maize, six million tons of rice and 2.5 million tons of soya beans.

“Food aid cannot feed Africa. Africa does not need bowls in hand. Africa needs seeds in the ground, and mechanical harvesters to harvest bountiful food produced locally,” Adesina said.

“Africa will feed itself with pride for there is no dignity in begging for food.”

The program aims to deliver seeds, fertilizer and services to farmers and support post-harvest management, the AfDB said in a statement. It will also provide financing and credit guarantees for large-scale supply of fertilizer.


US ready to tap diesel reserves amid supply shortage, says White House

US ready to tap diesel reserves amid supply shortage, says White House
Updated 23 May 2022

US ready to tap diesel reserves amid supply shortage, says White House

US ready to tap diesel reserves amid supply shortage, says White House

WASHINGTON: The Biden administration is ready to tap into the US’ national diesel reserves to tame soaring prices amid a supply crunch, a White House spokeswoman said Monday.

The Russian war against Ukraine and ensuing economic sanctions against Moscow have caused fuel prices to soar around the world.

The issue, along with rising inflation, is a major challenge for President Joe Biden and his Democratic administration ahead of midterm elections in November.

“We’re closely monitoring challenges to diesel supply and prices as a result of (President) Putin's invasion" of Ukraine, White House Press Secretary Emilie Simons wrote on Twitter.

“An emergency declaration has been prepared for @POTUS to authorize a release from reserves if necessary.”

In the US, the average price for diesel, an essential fuel for agriculture and transport companies, jumped over nine percent over the past month and as much as 75 percent, year on year.