Saudi official promotes growing mining sector at Las Vegas show ahead of Riyadh summit

Saudi official promotes growing mining sector at Las Vegas show ahead of Riyadh summit
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Updated 16 September 2021

Saudi official promotes growing mining sector at Las Vegas show ahead of Riyadh summit

Saudi official promotes growing mining sector at Las Vegas show ahead of Riyadh summit

DUBAI:  A Saudi industry minister hit the bright lights of Las Vegas on Wednesday to convince investors the Kingdom’s growing mining sector was a safe bet for future rewards. 

Khalid Al-Mudaifer, vice minister of mining affairs in the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, attended the MINExpo International 2021 where he talked about opportunities for investors, explorers, miners, and other stakeholders.

The Kingdom has already attracted major international investors into the mining sector, including US firm Alcoa, which has a 25.1 percent stake in Ma'aden Bauxite and Alumina Company and the Ma'aden Aluminium Company as part of $10.8 billion joint venture with Saudi miner Ma'aden, located in Ras al-Khair Industrial City in the eastern province.

Speaking in Las Vegas, Al-Mudaifer said: “Saudi Arabia is very much open for business. We have a demonstrable track record of success with our international partners, offering a best-in-class experience benchmarked against global standards.”

Al-Mudaifer said it is the perfect time to invest in the Kingdom’s mining sector, as the government continues to support the industry through major infrastructure projects.

The chief operating officer of Canadian mining company Barrick said his firm has an “excellent working relationship” with the Saudi government.

“Saudi is blessed with good infrastructure; it has excellent roads, airports, railway, and port structures. The country is well positioned for export markets to the east and west,” Willem Jacobs said.

The Saudi vice minister was also at the Las Vegas event to promote the upcoming Future Minerals Summit, which will be held in Riyadh in January next year


UAE financial literacy app raises $400,000 in pre-seed, prepares for $1.5m seed round

UAE financial literacy app raises $400,000 in pre-seed, prepares for $1.5m seed round
Updated 12 sec ago

UAE financial literacy app raises $400,000 in pre-seed, prepares for $1.5m seed round

UAE financial literacy app raises $400,000 in pre-seed, prepares for $1.5m seed round
RIYADH: UAE-based Edfundo, a children’s financial literacy app, looks to raise $1.5 million in seed funding to grow its team, bolster its growth in its home market, and expand across the MENA region.

This follows the closing of the initial friends and family funding round that was 12.5 percent over-subscribed and raised $400,000, Edfundo said on its website.

The co-founders of Edfundo, the world’s first teacher-curated smart money management app for tweens and teens, which is due for launch in the UAE in 2022, have opened the next $1.5 million funding round with a target to close it during the next year.

Founded by CEO Simon Wing and COO Andrew Toward, Edfundo allows children to manage their finances through its money management platform app.

The first-round funding means Edfundo can connect swiftly with youngsters and parents and engage in crucial conversations around smart money management, Toward said.

Saudi Competition Authority approves joint venture to sell, distribute Gucci products

Saudi Competition Authority approves joint venture to sell, distribute Gucci products
Updated 28 min 17 sec ago

Saudi Competition Authority approves joint venture to sell, distribute Gucci products

Saudi Competition Authority approves joint venture to sell, distribute Gucci products
  • G Distribution will own 75 percent of the shares in the company, while Al Rubaiyat Company will own 25 percent

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Competition gave the green light for a joint venture between G Distribution B.V and Al Rubaiyat Co. for Industry & Trade Holding to sell and distribute Gucci products in the Kingdom.

G Distribution Company will own 75 percent of the shares in the company, while Al Rubaiyat Company will own 25 percent, Argaam reported.

The Kingdom’s competition authority has approved 13 joint projects since the beginning of this year.


Saudi Arabia hosts first National Forum for Islamic Banking on Dec. 6

Saudi Arabia hosts first National Forum for Islamic Banking on Dec. 6
Updated 52 min 19 sec ago

Saudi Arabia hosts first National Forum for Islamic Banking on Dec. 6

Saudi Arabia hosts first National Forum for Islamic Banking on Dec. 6

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is hosting its first National Forum for Islamic Banking on Dec. 6 and 7 in Riyadh, titled "Kingdom's Leadership in Islamic Banking.”

Participants in the forum will discuss the impact of Islamic banking on economic development, the Kingdom’s regulations in Islamic banking, Islamic digital banking in Saudi Arabia and the role of Islamic banks in entrepreneurship, among other discussions.

This comes in light of the rapid growth of the Islamic financial industry since its inception at the global level.

Islamic banking assets in the Kingdom reached more than $565 billion by the first quarter of 2021, SPA reported.


Euro area’s unemployment edges down slightly, Korea’s growth decelerates: Economic wrap

Euro area’s unemployment edges down slightly, Korea’s growth decelerates: Economic wrap
Updated 03 December 2021

Euro area’s unemployment edges down slightly, Korea’s growth decelerates: Economic wrap

Euro area’s unemployment edges down slightly, Korea’s growth decelerates: Economic wrap

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the Euro area recorded a slight decrease of 0.1 percent to hit 7.3 percent in October, according to data by the Eurostat. 

In addition, the EU’s unemployment rate remained unchanged from September’s level of 6.7 percent, meaning a 0.8 percent fall compared to the same period last year. 

Italy jobs

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate in Italy rose by 0.2 percent from a month earlier to reach 9.4 percent in October, based on data from Italy’s National Institute of Statistics. This signalled a 0.6 percent decline from last year’s October. 

Korea’s economy 

Korea's gross domestic product grew by 0.3 percent in the third quarter compared to the previous period, decelerating from a 0.8 percent increase in the second quarter, a report by the Bank of Korea showed. 

This was also lower than the corresponding period’s growth last year when it stood at 2.2 percent.

On an annual basis, the expansion rate turned to 4 percent in the third quarter from negative 1 percent in the same period of 2020, the Bank of Korea said. 

Monthly consumer prices in Korea rose in November by 0.4 percent compared to the previous month, according to official data. Meanwhile the yearly inflation rate recorded a reading of 3.7 percent.

Brazil’s output 

Brazil’s output growth also slowed in 3Q, as the economy expanded by an annual rate of 4 percent compared to 12.3 percent in the previous quarter, data released by the country’s official statistics agency revealed.

On a quarterly basis, Brazil’s economy shrank by 0.1 percent. This is a somewhat improvement from the second quarter’s decline of 0.4 percent

Japan’s consumer confidence

The seasonally adjusted series for the consumer confidence index of Japan remained unchanged from October’s level of 39.2, according to the country’s Cabinet Office.


Oil jumps on OPEC+ omicron contingency plan, trimming weekly drop

Oil jumps on OPEC+ omicron contingency plan, trimming weekly drop
Updated 53 min 47 sec ago

Oil jumps on OPEC+ omicron contingency plan, trimming weekly drop

Oil jumps on OPEC+ omicron contingency plan, trimming weekly drop
  • OPEC+ agrees to meet before next scheduled meeting if omicron disrupts demand
  • Group pressed ahead with planned production increase in January

LONDON: Oil rose for a second day on Friday after OPEC+ said it would meet again to review output if the omicron COVID-19 variant impacts demand.

Prices were still headed for a sixth week of declines on concern a steady increase in supply from the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies including Russia would lead to a surplus in the coming months.

Brent crude was 2.8 percent higher at $71.62 as of 11:57 a.m. Riyadh time following a 1.2 percent gain on Thursday. WTI, the US benchmark, also gained 2.8 percent, to $68.32 after adding 1.4 percent yesterday.

While the market was surprised by the OPEC+ decision on Thursday to go ahead with its plan to add 400,000 barrels a day of supply in January, the group said it would meet again before its next scheduled meeting on Jan. 4 to reconsider its plans if deemed necessary.

The decision came following weeks of calls by US President Joe Biden for more oil to ease pump prices, which had been resisted by OPEC. US officials have been in the Gulf for talks this week, the results of which have been a game-changer that goes beyond oil policy, a person familiar with the meetings told Bloomberg News, although no details of any agreement gave emerged.

“We appreciate the close coordination over the recent weeks with our partners Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and other OPEC+ producers to help address price pressures,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said after the OPEC+ output decision. “Together with our recent coordinated release from the SPR, we believe this should help facilitate the global economic recovery.”

Traders are "reluctant to bet against the group eventually pausing its production increases,” analysts from ANZ Research wrote in a research note.

Still, Brent was headed for a 2.6 percent weekly decline, while WTI was set to close 1 percent lower in the week, both on a six-week losing streak.

The market has been focused on the potential impact of omicron on the global economy and oil demand if countries impose new lockdowns.

President Joe Biden has unveiled stricter Covid-19 travel rules as the US confirmed a handful of cases of the omicron variant. The UK tightened mask-wearing rules this week and advised at-risk groups not to travel, while South Korea announced on Friday that people visiting restaurants and cinemas and other public spaces will have to show vaccine passes.

The omicron coronavirus variant threatens to fuel soaring inflation in the United States by further pressuring supply chains and worsening worker shortages, Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank President Loretta Mester told the Financial Times.

However, Asian stocks rose on signs the omicron variant could be less severe than the previous dominant strain, delta.

Scientists in South Africa, where the mutation was first discovered last month, said symptoms for vaccinated infected patients appeared to be mild, while a handful of US omicron cases identified also displayed moderate symptoms.

India’s health ministry said on Friday the severity of the COVID-19 disease from the omicron variant in the country could be low because of vaccination and high exposure to the Delta variant.

“Given the fast pace of vaccination in India and high exposure to delta variant as evidenced by high seropositivity, the severity of the disease is anticipated to be low,” it said in a statement. “However, scientific evidence is still evolving.”