Saudi Arabia’s real estate deals rise by 19%

Saudi Arabia’s  real estate deals rise by 19%
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Updated 26 September 2021

Saudi Arabia’s real estate deals rise by 19%

Saudi Arabia’s  real estate deals rise by 19%

RIYADH: The value of real estate transactions in Saudi Arabia increased by 19 percent to approximately SR15.59 billion ($4.1 billion) in the period between August and September, as compared to SR13.12 billion in the same period last year, Argaam reported citing figures issued by the Justice Ministry.
The number of real estate transactions recorded during the same period stood at around 20,900.
Commercial real estate deals rose by 93 percent to reach SR5.2 billion compared to the same period last year. 
Residential real estate deals represented 58.3 percent of the total transactions, commercial deals (33.4 percent), and agricultural and industrial deals stood at 8.3 percent.
Riyadh witnessed the largest number of real estate deals worth SR6.88 billion, followed by Jeddah at SR2.21 billion.


German business morale deteriorates further in October

German business morale deteriorates further in October
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Updated 19 sec ago

German business morale deteriorates further in October

German business morale deteriorates further in October
  • "Sand in the wheels of the German economy is hampering recovery"

German business morale fell for the fourth month running in October as supply bottlenecks held back factory output in Europe's largest economy, a survey showed on Monday.


The Ifo institute said its business climate index fell to 97.7 from an upwardly revised 98.9 in September.


The reading was the lowest since April and undershot the figure of 97.9 in a Reuters poll.


"Supply problems are giving businesses headaches," Ifo President Clemens Fuest said, adding that capacity utilisation in manufacturing was falling.


"Sand in the wheels of the German economy is hampering recovery."


The government is expected to slash on Wednesday its forecast for economic growth this year, after leading institutes last week cut their joint forecast to 2.4 percent from 3.7 percent. For 2022, the institutes predicted 4.8 percent growth. 


Saudi Arabia, Blackrock signs $53bn deal to finance Saudi infrastructure

Saudi Arabia, Blackrock signs $53bn deal to finance Saudi infrastructure
Updated 52 sec ago

Saudi Arabia, Blackrock signs $53bn deal to finance Saudi infrastructure

Saudi Arabia, Blackrock signs $53bn deal to finance Saudi infrastructure

Saudi National Development Fund (NDF) and US private equity giant Blackrock will launch a fund tasked with investing SR200 billion in Saudi infrastructure, according to a statement on Saudi Press Agency.

Announced on the eve of the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, the deal will set up a National Infrastructure Fund that will help deliver some SR200 billion of essential investment in assets such as schools, hospitals, transport and the digital foundation, between now and 2030.

It is a significant step for the National Development Fund (NDF), the lesser-known of the Kingdom’s agents for economic development, in comparison to its high-profile collaborator, the Public Investment Fund.


HSBC bucks China property worries with 74% profit jump, $2bn buyback

HSBC bucks China property worries with 74% profit jump, $2bn buyback
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 39 min 14 sec ago

HSBC bucks China property worries with 74% profit jump, $2bn buyback

HSBC bucks China property worries with 74% profit jump, $2bn buyback
  • HSBC was ranked Europe's biggest lender by assets until last year, when French rival BNP Paribas claimed the title with $3 trillion in assets

HSBC Holdings reported a surprise 74 percent rise in third quarter profit as it shrugged off concerns about pandemic-related bad loans and property problems in its key market of China, allowing it to announce a share buyback of $2 billion.

The British lender reversed potential credit losses it had previously expected due to pandemic-induced defaults, with CFO Ewen Stevenson telling Reuters on Monday that the worst of that impact is likely behind HSBC.


"You should also look at the buyback as a measure of the confidence that we have at the moment that we are not unduly concerned about our exposures in China," he said.


The bank said in its results presentation that it had $19.6 billion in lending to China's property sector, where China Evergrande Group is grappling with a $300 billion debt pile, stoking fears of further defaults and contagion risks.


HSBC CEO Noel Quinn, who was confirmed in the role in 2020 just as the pandemic-induced economic crisis began, is betting on Asia to drive growth, by moving global executives there and ploughing billions into the lucrative wealth business.


The bank could spend up to $1.5 billion more on acquisitions in that space after it bought insurer AXA's Singapore assets for $575 million in August, CFO Stevenson said.


"While we retain a cautious outlook on the external risk environment, we believe that the lows of recent quarters are behind us," Quinn said in the results statement.


HSBC posted pretax profit of $5.4 billion for the quarter to September, versus $3.1 billion a year earlier and the $3.78 billion average estimate of 14 analysts compiled by HSBC.


The bank's Hong Kong-listed shares rose as much as 1.8 percent to the highest in four months. Its London-listed shares have gained 15 percent so far this year versus a 5 percent rise in shares of Asia-focussed rival Standard Chartered, while Barclays is up 35% and U.S.-listed Citi has put on 16 percent.


HSBC was ranked Europe's biggest lender by assets until last year, when French rival BNP Paribas claimed the title with $3 trillion in assets.

Despite the overall positive results, HSBC said its cost projections for 2022 had increased to $32 billion from $31 billion, due to global inflation pressures which would push up its $19 billion wage bill.


Major companies worldwide have in recent weeks warned of the impact on their businesses from rising costs driven by spiralling energy prices and supply chain disruption.


"A little bit of inflation is good for us as it should drive policy rates higher," Stevenson said.


"However, we have a cost base of $32 billion of which $19 billion is compensation... so it doesn't take much (to push up costs), 2 or 3 percent inflation on the cost base is $400 to $600 million of additional costs," he said.


Set against those concerns, HSBC released $700 million in cash it had put aside in case pandemic-related bad loans spiked, as opposed to the same time a year earlier when it took an $800 million charge in expectation of such soured debts.


Another headache for HSBC compared to its peers is its investment banking performance, where rivals such as Citigroup are riding a M&A boom.


HSBC's investment bank however saw income fall this year as it paid the price for its bias towards debt markets, which have been patchy amid low interest rates that crimped trading, while rivals' equities and merger-focused businesses have thrived.


It is the second big British lender to post strong results for the quarter, after Barclays reported on Thursday it had doubled profits on the back of a strong performance from its investment bank advisory business. 


Saudi imports from UAE jump back up in August

Saudi imports from UAE jump back up in August
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Updated 25 October 2021

Saudi imports from UAE jump back up in August

Saudi imports from UAE jump back up in August
  • On an annual basis, UAE imports increased by about 47 percent

The value of Saudi Arabia's imports from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in August increased by about 31 percent month on month, official data showed on Monday, jumping back from a steep decline in July after the kingdom imposed new rules on imports from other Gulf countries.


Imports from neighbouring UAE rose to 4.1 billion riyals ($1.09 billion) from 3.1 billion riyals in July, according to data from the General Authority for Statistics.

On an annual basis, UAE imports increased by about 47 percent.


The monthly increase follows a 33 percent decline in July, when Saudi Arabia amended rules on imports from other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to exclude goods made in free zones or using Israeli input from preferential tariff concessions, a move seen as a challenge the UAE's status as the region's trade and business hub.


Aramco, TotalEnergies launch retail network in Saudi Arabia

Aramco, TotalEnergies launch retail network in Saudi Arabia
Updated 37 min 44 sec ago

Aramco, TotalEnergies launch retail network in Saudi Arabia

Aramco, TotalEnergies launch retail network in Saudi Arabia

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Aramco and French firm TotalEnergies have launched the first two service stations of their joint retail network in Riyadh and Saihat, the companies announced in a statement. 

The inauguration builds on the pair’s joint venture to “upgrade a network of 270 service stations and expand the range of quality retail services” in the Kingdom, which was signed in 2019. 

“As the Kingdom scales up tourism projects, we can expect domestic travel to increase, along with demand for hospitality and travel services,” Amin Nasser, president and chief executive officer of Aramco, said.

The service stations will operate under both brands, the statement read, and will include fuel refilling, convenience stories, and other automotive services like car wash and oil change. 

TotalEnergies stations will have a branded cafe called Bonjour Cafer, while Aramco stations will house Fai Cafe. 

All stations will be equipped with solar panels, the statement added.