HSBC Saudi Arabia launches first climate change fund

HSBC Saudi Arabia launches first climate change fund
HSBC Bank logo on a brick building wall. Shutterstock
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Updated 01 September 2021

HSBC Saudi Arabia launches first climate change fund

HSBC Saudi Arabia launches first climate change fund
  • HSBC Saudi Arabia launched the "HSBC Global Equity Climate Change Fund
  • The fund will provide exposure to renewable energy, clean transport & sustainable water management

Riyadh: HSBC Saudi Arabia announced the launch of the "HSBC Global Equity Climate Change Fund," today Wednesday- the country's first environmental initiative investment fund, the bank said in an emailed statement.


The new fund will provide eligible investors with exposure to renewable energy, clean transport, sustainable water management, and climate change adaptation.

“This is a pioneering change for Saudi Arabia and offers investors the ability to support global efforts to reduce the impact of climate change,” Chief Investment Officer at HSBC Saudi Arabia, Muneera Aldossary, said.

This provides more opportunities for investors to contribute in creating a sustainable future in line with Saudi Vision 2030, she added. 

"HSBC supports providing local investors with access to new investment opportunities that help transition to a low-carbon emitting and sustainable economy," she added.

 


GCC economies to witness an aggregate growth rate of 2.6% in 2021, says World Bank

GCC economies to witness an aggregate growth rate of 2.6% in 2021, says World Bank
Updated 13 sec ago

GCC economies to witness an aggregate growth rate of 2.6% in 2021, says World Bank

GCC economies to witness an aggregate growth rate of 2.6% in 2021, says World Bank

RIYADH: Gulf Cooperation Council economies are likely to achieve an aggregate growth rate of 2.6 percent in 2021, according to the World Bank Gulf Economic Update issued on Thursday.

The report, titled “Seizing the Opportunity for a Sustainable Recovery”, attributed the rebound to stronger oil prices and the growth of non-oil sectors. 

It predicted the trend is likely to continue into 2022 as “OPEC+ mandated oil production cuts are phased out and higher oil prices improve business sentiment and attract additional investment.”

It added that the outlook in the medium term is subject to risks from slower global recovery, renewed coronavirus outbreaks, and oil sector volatility.

The report also identified large wage bills as a threat to the GCC economies. “With high population growth and limited options in the private sector, the wage bill has become unsustainable in some GCC countries, as it is a large part of government spending and of the economy overall,” said Issam Abousleiman, World Bank’s regional director for the GCC.

The average GCC wage bill has surpassed the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s average over the past two decades, except in Qatar and the UAE, the report showed.

In the Kingdom, allowances for civil servants rose to SR148 billion ($39 billion) in 2019 from SR44 billion in 2016, forming more than a third of the Kingdom’s total wage bill.

Also, salaries and benefits allocation in Kuwait’s 2022 budget amounted to 55 percent of its total expenditure, while Oman’s wage bill has doubled in the past decade.


OPEC+ oil output decision in the balance as Omicron hammers prices

OPEC+ oil output decision in the balance as Omicron hammers prices
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 4 min 2 sec ago

OPEC+ oil output decision in the balance as Omicron hammers prices

OPEC+ oil output decision in the balance as Omicron hammers prices
  • Two OPEC+ sources said the group would discuss pausing the January increase as an option

OPEC and its allies will decide on Thursday whether to release more oil into the market or restrain supply amid big gyrations in crude prices, a US release from oil reserves and fears over the new Omicron coronavirus variant.


Brent has tumbled to about $70 a barrel, down from October’s three-year highs above $86.

Prices in November registered their biggest monthly decline since the start of the pandemic as the Omicron variant raised fears of a glut.


The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, have resisted US requests for speedier increases in oil output to support the global economy.


Producers have said they did not want to hamper a fragile energy industry recovery with oversupply.


Under its existing pact, OPEC+ agreed to raise output by 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) each month, winding down record cuts agreed in 2020 when demand crashed because of the pandemic.


But market uncertainties leave its next move in the balance.


Two OPEC+ sources said the group would discuss pausing the January increase as an option, while two sources said they expected the 400,000 bpd rise to go ahead. One source even said he expected a cut in production, without giving any figures.


Russia and Saudi Arabia, the biggest OPEC+ producers, said before this week’s talks, which began with an online OPEC meeting on Wednesday, that there was no need for a knee-jerk reaction to amend policy.


OPEC+ experts said in a report seen by Reuters on Wednesday that the impact from Omicron was not yet clear, even though many countries were introducing lockdowns and other restrictions.


Even before concerns about Omicron emerged, OPEC+ had been weighing the effects of last week’s announcement by the United States and other major consumers that they would release emergency crude reserves to temper energy prices.


US President Joe Biden’s administration could adjust the timing of any release if prices dropped substantially, US Deputy Energy Secretary David Turk told Reuters on Wednesday.


OPEC+ forecast a 3 million bpd surplus in the first quarter of 2022 after the release of reserves, up from a 2.3 million bpd surplus previously forecast.


Last year, OPEC+ made record output cuts of 10 million bpd, equivalent to about 10 percent of global supply. It has scaled those back so cuts still in place now stand at about 3.8 million bpd.


However, OPEC+ has been regularly producing below its target level as some members have struggled to rebuild output, producing about 700,000 bpd less than planned in both September and October, the International Energy Agency (IEA) says.


Saudi Arabia seeks public opinion on hydrogen vehicles rules

Saudi Arabia seeks public opinion on hydrogen vehicles rules
Updated 11 min 33 sec ago

Saudi Arabia seeks public opinion on hydrogen vehicles rules

Saudi Arabia seeks public opinion on hydrogen vehicles rules

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is asking the public to give its views on the safety standards for hydrogen vehicles in the Kingdom.

The Saudi Standards, Metrology, and Quality Organization wants the public to participate in the poll through the government’s Public Consultation Platform, Istitlaa, ending on Dec. 16, 2021.

The regulations aim to define the basic requirements for the safety of hydrogen-powered vehicles, and ensure that conformity assessment procedures are followed during the placement of these vehicles in the Kingdom’s markets.

Hydrogen-powered vehicles must also comply with the requirements of the technical regulations for electric vehicles.

Saudi Arabia has already put itself on the path to adopting EVs and the Saudi Standards, Metrology, and Quality Organization has approved importing these vehicles.


ADQ and TAQA sign $6bn agreement with Kazakhstan's sovereign fund

ADQ and TAQA sign $6bn agreement with Kazakhstan's sovereign fund
High-voltage transmission lines of electricity against the background of fuming chimneys of a coal-fired power plant, Kazakhstan. Image Shutterstock
Updated 22 min 45 sec ago

ADQ and TAQA sign $6bn agreement with Kazakhstan's sovereign fund

ADQ and TAQA sign $6bn agreement with Kazakhstan's sovereign fund
  • Both ADQ Holdings and TAQA will own a 51 percent stake in each project

The UAE will invest up to $6 billion in Kazakhstan's energy sector, it has been announced. 

The Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company — known as ADQ — and the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company — known as TAQA — have entered into an agreement with the Central Asian country’s sovereign wealth fund, Samruk-Kazyna, according to Al-Arabiya.

ADQ Holdings, TAQA and Samruk-Kazyna will explore three new power generation projects in Kazakhstan, including a 2 gigawatt photovoltaic power plant, a 2 GW wind farm, and a 1 GW combined cycle gas power plant. 

Both ADQ Holdings and TAQA will own a 51 percent stake in each project, while Samruk-Kazyna will retain the remaining stake.

TAQA will participate in the operations and maintenance of all three projects once they come online, according to a statement issued on Wednesday.

The agreement was signed in the presence of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Askar Mamin, and Suhail Al-Mazrouei, UAE’s minister of energy and infrastructure, by the CEOs of the three companies involved.


ExxonMobil to reduce carbon emissions by at least 20% by 2030

ExxonMobil to reduce carbon emissions by at least 20% by 2030
Updated 24 min 53 sec ago

ExxonMobil to reduce carbon emissions by at least 20% by 2030

ExxonMobil to reduce carbon emissions by at least 20% by 2030

RIYADH: ExxonMobil will spend $15billion in a bid to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released with each barrel of oil it pumps. 

The US-based firm said that it aims to reduce greenhouse gas intensity by between 20 percent and 30 percent by 2030, according to the Financial Times. 

"The company’s improved financial outlook supported more investment in high-return projects, and a growing list of financially accretive lower-emission business opportunities." Darren Woods, ExxonMobil’s chief executive said. 

ExxonMobil’s plans were criticised for not going far enough by Andrew Logan, senior director for oil and gas at Ceres, which coordinates investor action on climate change.

He said the new emissions targets were “grossly inadequate” and argued Exxon was “losing ground relative to its peers” that have more ambitious goals, the Financial Times reported.