Etihad Rail completes 139-kilometer track linking UAE, Saudi Arabia

Etihad Rail completes 139-kilometer track linking UAE, Saudi Arabia
The whole railway project spans around 1,200 kilometers. (Supplied)
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Updated 30 September 2021

Etihad Rail completes 139-kilometer track linking UAE, Saudi Arabia

Etihad Rail completes 139-kilometer track linking UAE, Saudi Arabia
  • Aside from connecting the seven emirates of the UAE, the national railway project also aims to link the country to its neighbors in the Gulf

DUBAI: Etihad Rail has unveiled a 139-kilometer train track that connects the UAE with Saudi Arabia, as part of its national railway project that spans 1,200 kilometers in total. 

The state-owned transport operator said it completed work on the first package of the project’s stage two - which includes the recently unveiled track connected through Al Ghuwaifat. 

Aside from connecting the seven emirates of the UAE, the national railway project also aims to link the country to its neighbors in the Gulf.

“This significant step brings the company closer to completing the 1,200-kilometre rail project, initially estimated to cost Dh40 billion, on schedule,” the company said in a statement carried by WAM. 


China’s Huobi founder looks to sell stake in crypto exchange firm for over $1bn: Bloomberg

China’s Huobi founder looks to sell stake in crypto exchange firm for over $1bn: Bloomberg
Updated 12 August 2022

China’s Huobi founder looks to sell stake in crypto exchange firm for over $1bn: Bloomberg

China’s Huobi founder looks to sell stake in crypto exchange firm for over $1bn: Bloomberg

 

LONDON: The founder of China’s Huobi Group, which runs one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, is in talks with investors to sell his almost 60 percent stake in the exchange for over $1 billion, Bloomberg News reported on Friday.

Leon Li’s stake sale would value Huobi between $2 billion and $3 billion, and could be completed as soon as the end of the month, the report said.

Tron founder Justin Sun and Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX are among those who have been in contact with Huobi regarding the proposed stock sale, the report added, citing people familiar with the matter.

A spokesperson for Huobi confirmed to Bloomberg that Li was engaging with several international institutions about the sale, but declined to offer specifics, while Tron’s Sun told the news agency that he hasn’t had any negotiations with Li about a sale.

Huobi Group, Tron and FTX did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

The Chinese group’s crypto exchange stopped new registrations of accounts by mainland China customers last year after Beijing introduced a blanket ban on all cryptocurrency trading and mining in the country.

Meanwhile, crypto players globally also ran into difficulties following a sharp selloff in markets that started in May.

The market conditions reflected in the results of rival exchange Coinbase Global, which reported a larger-than-expected quarterly loss this week as investors worried by this year’s rout in risky assets shied away from trading in cryptocurrencies. 

 


UAE’s Julphar returns to profitability in Q2, 2022

UAE’s Julphar returns to profitability in Q2, 2022
Updated 12 August 2022

UAE’s Julphar returns to profitability in Q2, 2022

UAE’s Julphar returns to profitability in Q2, 2022

RIYADH: UAE-based Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries, also known as Julphar, announced robust results for the second quarter of the year, with gross profit margin reaching 34 percent.

Julphar performance was mainly driven by a 91 percent  year-on-year increase in net sales, to 419.9 million dirhams ($114.3 million), a statement showed. 

The second quarter marks a return to a double digit margin of 10.5 percent of net sales. 

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization reached 44.2 million dirhams in the second quarter of the year, compared to 40 million dirhams in the same period of 2021, building on the successful implementation of the turnaround plan in the first quarter, the company said.

Julphar achieved those results with continuing operations, despite geo-economic headwinds that have impacted year-to-date and quarter-on-quarter sales in markets such as Algeria, Ethiopia and Morocco. 

Julphar has achieved 10 percent organic growth from its segment operations. 

“As we continue into the next phase of growth, we will continue to expand our geographic reach and our new launches, with the ultimate ambition of providing sustainable value for patients, shareholders, and stakeholders,” said Julphar CEO Essam Mohammed.

Established in 1980, Julphar employs more than 2,400 people and distributes pharmaceutical products to more than 50 countries across the globe.


Oil prices slip on cloudy demand outlook, but poised for weekly gain

Oil prices slip on cloudy demand outlook, but poised for weekly gain
Updated 12 August 2022

Oil prices slip on cloudy demand outlook, but poised for weekly gain

Oil prices slip on cloudy demand outlook, but poised for weekly gain

SINGAPORE: Oil prices dropped in Asia trade on Friday amid an uncertain demand outlook, though benchmark contracts were headed for weekly gains as recession fears eased, according a Reuters.

Brent crude futures fell 49 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $99.11 a barrel at 0330 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 50 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $93.84 a barrel.

Brent was on track to climb more than 4 percent for the week, recouping part of last week’s 14 percent tumble, its biggest weekly decline since April 2020 amid fears that rising inflation and interest rate hikes will hit economic growth and fuel demand.

WTI was heading for a weekly gain of more than 5 percent, recouping about half of the previous week’s loss.

Uncertainty capped price gains as the market absorbed contrasting demand views from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and the International Energy Agency.

“While the peaking-inflation narrative has given some traction for risk assets lately, the more measured moves in oil prices since June suggest that some reservations remain in light of its cloudy demand outlook,” said Yeap Jun Rong, a market strategist at IG.

The trade-off for growth may continue to limit oil prices’ upside, with key psychological resistance for Brent at the $100 a barrel level, Yeap added.

On Thursday, OPEC cut its forecast for growth in world oil demand in 2022 by 260,000 barrels per day. It now expects demand to rise by 3.1 million bpd this year.

That contradicts the view from the IEA, which raised its forecast for demand growth to 2.1 million bpd, due to gas-to-oil switching in power generation as a result of soaring gas prices.

“There’s a great deal of uncertainty about demand in the short run. Until that settles, it (the market) will be like this for a while,” said Justin Smirk, a senior economist at Westpac.

At the same time, the IEA raised its outlook for Russian oil supply by 500,000 bpd for the second half of 2022, but said OPEC would struggle to boost production.

“The net picture that the IEA painted was a mix,” said Commonwealth Bank analyst Vivek Dhar. “Russian supply has been more resilient than thought.”

“Assessing global oil balances by the end of the year right now, given what’s happening on the demand side versus what’s happening on supply side — it’s just complicated. That’s why you have the daily volatility.” 


Egypt In-Focus — Annual headline inflation rises 1%; M&A activity amounts to $3.2bn in H1


Egypt In-Focus — Annual headline inflation rises 1%; M&A activity amounts to $3.2bn in H1

Updated 11 August 2022

Egypt In-Focus — Annual headline inflation rises 1%; M&A activity amounts to $3.2bn in H1


Egypt In-Focus — Annual headline inflation rises 1%; M&A activity amounts to $3.2bn in H1


CAIRO: Egypt’s annual headline inflation rose to 15.6 percent in July, up from 14.6 in June, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics.

CAPMAS attributed the rise in inflation to the increase in food and beverage prices that grew by 23.8 percent, along with growth in commodity and services prices.

M&A activity

Egypt reported a total of 65 mergers and acquisitions deals, valued at $3.2 billion, during the first six months of 2022, according to the EY MENA M&A Insights report.

Deal activity has surged thrice year-on-year during the first half of 2022. The report attributed the surge to “favorable government initiatives including granting a special license to foreign investors.” 

Port agreements

Egypt on Thursday signed two initial agreements for the development of port facilities with Hutchison Ports, Cosco and CMA CGM, Reuters reported citing a Cabinet statement.

The agreements with the international consortium could see investments of up to 800 million, it added.

Gas consumption 

Egypt has launched a plan to rationalize gas consumption in electricity plants in a bid to save foreign currency and achieve financial returns from gas export, according to Daily News Egypt. 

Maersk to invest $500m in Egypt

Danish shipping company Maersk is planning to invest  $500 million in Egypt to operate a new 1,000-meter container berth adjacent to the existing 500-meter berth in East Port Said. 

The company also aims to increase the number of cranes to 30 winches, all powered by electricity instead of diesel, according to a statement. 

This came at the end of  the head of the Suez Canal Authority Osama Rabie’s tour to the Netherlands and Denmark, which lasted 4 days, from Aug.7 to 10.

 


Oil rises as IEA hikes 2022 demand growth forecast

Oil rises as IEA hikes 2022 demand growth forecast
Updated 11 August 2022

Oil rises as IEA hikes 2022 demand growth forecast

Oil rises as IEA hikes 2022 demand growth forecast

LONDON: Oil prices rose by over 2 percent on Thursday after the International Energy Agency raised its oil demand growth forecast for this year as soaring natural gas prices lead some consumers to switch to oil.

Brent crude futures gained $2.39, or 2.5 percent, to $99.79 a barrel by 1348 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose $2.65, or 2.9 percent, to $94.58.

“Natural gas and electricity prices have soared to new records, incentivizing gas-to-oil switching in some countries,” the Paris-based agency said in its monthly oil report, in which it raised its outlook for 2022 demand by 380,000 barrels per day.

By contrast, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on Thursday cut its 2022 forecast for growth in world oil demand, citing the economic impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, high inflation and efforts to contain the pandemic.

OPEC expects 2022 oil demand to rise by 3.1 million bpd, down 260,000 bpd from the previous forecast. However, it still sees a higher overall global oil demand figure than the IEA for 2022.

A rise in US oil inventories last week and the resumption of crude flows on a pipeline supplying central Europe capped further price gains.

US crude oil stocks rose by 5.5 million barrels in the most recent week, the US Energy Information Administration said, more than the expected increase of 73,000 barrels.

Gasoline product supplied rose in the most recent week to 9.1 million barrels per day, though that figure shows demand down 6 percent over the last four weeks compared with the year-ago period.

The premium for front-month WTI futures over barrels loading in six months’ time was pegged at $4.38 a barrel on Thursday, the lowest in four months, indicating easing tightness in prompt supplies.

The resumption of flows on the southern leg of the Russia-to-Europe Druzhba pipeline further calmed market worries over global supply.