Saudi holdings of US treasury bills rose for 2nd month in a row

This increase in June and July is in line with global trends.
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Updated 19 September 2021

Saudi holdings of US treasury bills rose for 2nd month in a row

Saudi holdings of US treasury bills rose for 2nd month in a row
  • The Kingdom is the 16th largest holder of US debt

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s holding of US Treasury securities increased for the second consecutive month in July, reaching $128.1 billion, according to new data from the US government.

The holdings increased by 0.2 percent from June, and 2.8 percent from July last year. However, the Saudi holdings in July is down by 5.2 percent from the beginning of the year when it was $135.1 billion, the data showed.

This increase in June and July is in line with global trends, as countries around the world increased their holdings by 5.7 percent in the two months leading up to July.

However, analysis showed that Saudi holdings are still down from their peak of $184.4 billion in February 2020. As the global pandemic took hold in March last year, the Saudi government decreased its holding, as the Kingdom’s reserves were hit by the collapse in oil prices.

In July last year, Saudi Arabia began to boost its holdings once again, peaking in November and then continuing to decline by low single percentages till May 2021.

“The rise in US Treasury holding was expected “given the higher yields on US T-bills compared to bank deposit,” Dr. Mohamed Ramady, a London-based independent economist, told Arab News.

He said in the case of Saudi Arabia, higher oil prices have also provided it with more flexibility in its investment portfolio maturity profile. 

The Kingdom is the 16th largest holder of US debt. Japan remains No.1 with $1310.2 billion in US bonds, followed by China ($1068.3 billion), the UK ($539.5 billion), Ireland ($319.7 billion) and Switzerland ($298.3 billion).

The UAE holds $58 billion, an increase of nearly 100 percent year-on-year. Kuwait holds $46.4 billion, down by 3.1 percent year-on-year.


Egyptian business sector debt dropped by 77% in 3 years

Egyptian business sector debt dropped by 77% in 3 years
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 13 sec ago

Egyptian business sector debt dropped by 77% in 3 years

Egyptian business sector debt dropped by 77% in 3 years

RIYADH: Companies in the Egyptian business sector have managed to decrease their debts by a notable 77 percent in three years.

Hisham Tawfik, minister of Public Business Sector said the debts dropped from 44 billion Egyptian pounds ($2.8 billion) to 10 billion Egyptian pounds, with the remainder mostly consisting of taxes.

Tawfik said that a settlement had been reached on the debt with only taxes outstanding.

He added that the original value of the debt in 2018 also included costs such as electricity and petroleum. 


Oil gains after Saudi price hike indicating confidence in the demand outlook

Oil gains after Saudi price hike indicating confidence in the demand outlook
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 9 min 35 sec ago

Oil gains after Saudi price hike indicating confidence in the demand outlook

Oil gains after Saudi price hike indicating confidence in the demand outlook
  • The price hikes were implemented just days after OPEC+ had agreed to boost output in January

RIYADH: Oil prices rose after top exporter Saudi Arabia raised prices for its crude sold to Asia and the US, shrugging off worries around the omicron variant and suggesting confidence in the demand outlook. 

Bloomberg reported that oil giant, Saudi Aramco, raised its key Arab Light grade for customers in Asia by 60 cents from December to $3.30 a barrel above a benchmark, according to a statement.

The price hikes were implemented just days after OPEC+ had agreed to boost output in January.

"The Saudi move to increase pricing is driving the market,” said Warren Patterson, Singapore-based head of commodities strategy at ING Groep NV.

“A bit of an odd move, given the supply hike in January, the omicron uncertainty and the expectation of a better supplied market in the first quarter of 2022.”


US’s Lockheed Martin to design NASA space station

US’s Lockheed Martin to design NASA space station
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 24 min 18 sec ago

US’s Lockheed Martin to design NASA space station

US’s Lockheed Martin to design NASA space station
  • The company will be working on the Starlab project along with Nanoracks and Voyager Space

RIYADH: Lockheed Martin, the US-based aerospace company has confirmed it is one of three partners awarded a $160 million contract by NASA. 

As per the contract, the company is to design NASA’s Starlab commercial space station as part of the US agency’s Commercial Low-Earth Orbit Development program, Cobb County Courier reported. 

The company will be working on the Starlab project along with Nanoracks and Voyager Space. 

“Starlab is the confluence of Lockheed Martin’s rich space expertise and history, Nanoracks’ innovation, and Voyager’s financial savvy,” said Lisa Callahan, vice president and general manager at Lockheed Martin.

“This team is equipped to aid NASA on its mission to expand access to LEO and to enable a transformative commercial space economy,” she added. 

Last month, the company appointed Robert Lightfoot as the new executive vice president of the Space business area as of Jan.1 2022. 


China’s economy expected to grow 5.3 percent in 2022, says govt think tank

China’s economy expected to grow 5.3 percent in 2022, says govt think tank
The main shopping street in Shanghai. Shutterstock.
Updated 06 December 2021

China’s economy expected to grow 5.3 percent in 2022, says govt think tank

China’s economy expected to grow 5.3 percent in 2022, says govt think tank
  • The world’s second-largest economy is expected to have expanded by about 8 percent this year

China’s economy expected to grow 5.3 percent in 2022, says govt think tank

China’s economy is expected to grow around 5.3 percent in 2022, bringing the average annual growth rate forecast for 2020-2022 to 5.2 percent, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), a top government think tank, said on Monday.


Advisers to the government will recommend that authorities set a 2022 economic growth target lower than the target set for 2021 of “above 6 percent,” Reuters reported, amid growing headwinds from a property downturn, weakening exports and strict COVID-19 curbs that have impeded consumption.


The world’s second-largest economy is expected to have expanded by about 8 percent this year, according to the annual blue book on the economy from CASS.

The think tank warned that the property downturn was likely to persist and weigh on the expenditures of local governments next year.


It urged the central government to proactively engineer a soft landing for the property sector, to avoid failed land auctions in big cities and to fend off risks of quickly falling property prices in smaller cities, the report said.


Alibaba appoints new CFO, reshuffles e-commerce businesses

Alibaba appoints new CFO, reshuffles e-commerce businesses
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 06 December 2021

Alibaba appoints new CFO, reshuffles e-commerce businesses

Alibaba appoints new CFO, reshuffles e-commerce businesses
  • Alibaba said that it would be creating an International Digital Commerce team to handle its e-commerce businesses in international markets

China’s largest e-commerce group Alibaba said Monday it is appointing a new chief financial officer and reorganizing its e-commerce businesses amid a regulatory crackdown in the technology industry.


The company said in a statement Monday that Toby Xu will succeed Maggie Wu as its new CFO from April 1, 2022. Xu joined Alibaba from PricewaterhouseCoopers three years ago and was appointed deputy group CFO in July 2019.


Wu, who has been Alibaba’s CFO since 2013 and has helped lead three Alibaba-related company listings, will continue to serve as an executive director on Alibaba’s board.


She will also remain as a partner in the Alibaba Partnership – a group of senior executives who have the right to nominate a simple majority of Alibaba’s board of directors.


“We are focused on the long-term, and succession within our management team on every occasion is always in the service of ensuring Alibaba will be stronger and better positioned for the future,” said Daniel Zhang, chairman and CEO of Alibaba Group.


Separately, Alibaba said that it would be creating an International Digital Commerce team to handle its e-commerce businesses in international markets. A China Digital Commerce team will be in charge of e-commerce operations inside China, according to a post on the company’s Alizila news hub.


The international and domestic digital commerce teams will be led by executives Jiang Fan and Trudy Dai respectively.


Jiang has been in charge of Taobao and Tmall, Alibaba’s core e-commerce sites in China. Dai was the firm’s chief customer officer.


The Hangzhou-based firm was fined a record $2.8 billion for antitrust violations and is under scrutiny as regulators step up oversight of the technology industry at a time when the economy is slowing.


Last month, Alibaba cut its sales outlook for the year amid mounting competition from rivals such as Pinduoduo. It expects growth for its current year to be the slowest since it listed in New York in 2014.


Alibaba’s flagship Singles’ Day shopping extravaganza also posted its slowest-ever growth this year, amid muted marketing campaigns and a shift to sustainability and philanthropy amid Chinese President Xi Jinping’s calls for “common prosperity.”


Alibaba’s New York stock price has plunged more than 50 percent over the last 12 months. The company’s Hong Kong-traded shares were down 4.9 percent Monday.