Iraq opens its second border-crossing port with Saudi Arabia

Iraq opens its second border-crossing port with Saudi Arabia
Short Url
Updated 30 September 2021

Iraq opens its second border-crossing port with Saudi Arabia

Iraq opens its second border-crossing port with Saudi Arabia

Riyadh: Iraq announced today the opening of Jamima border-crossing port with Saudi Arabia for the first time since 1991, according to Alarabiya net.

The move follows the reopening of the Ar’ar border crossing in November 2020 ,which had been closed for 30 years.

Saudi Arabia is linked with Iraq by a border strip of more than 830 km.


Egypt economy forecast to grow 5.1% in year to June, 5.5% in 2022/23

Egypt economy forecast to grow 5.1% in year to June, 5.5% in 2022/23
Getty Images
Updated 7 sec ago

Egypt economy forecast to grow 5.1% in year to June, 5.5% in 2022/23

Egypt economy forecast to grow 5.1% in year to June, 5.5% in 2022/23
  • Tourism has been gradually recovering from COVID travel restrictions put in place in March 2020

Egypt's economy will grow 5.1 percent in the fiscal year that ends in June 2022, but accelerate to 5.5 percent in each of the following two years as tourism continues to rebound and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic wane, a Reuters poll showed.

The central bank said last month economic growth surged to 7.7 percent in the final quarter of the last fiscal year, indicating growth of 3.3 percent for the entirety of 2020/21, up from a previous full fiscal-year estimate of 2.8 percent.

Economists in a July poll predicted economic growth would be 5.0 percent for the year to next June.

"We expect consumption growth to pick up from a low base post-COVID and public investment to remain strong this year," Allen Sandeep of Naeem Brokerage said.

"What will be critical to see is if this growth is sustained in 2022/23, by when the pandemic effects should hopefully subside substantially."

Tourism has been gradually recovering from COVID travel restrictions put in place in March 2020.

Tourism revenue plummeted to $4.9 billion in 2020/21 from $9.9 billion a year earlier. But in the April to June quarter it bounced back to $1.75 billion from a low of $305 million in the same quarter of 2020, according to central bank data.

In the latest Reuters poll, economists expected annual urban consumer price inflation to climb to 6.0 percent in 2021/22, then picking up even further to 6.4 percent in 2022/23 and 7.0 percent in 2023/24, still within the central bank's target range of 5 percent to 9 percent.

Egypt's annual inflation rose to 6.6 percent year-on-year in September, its highest in 20 months, from 5.7 percent in August, mainly due to rising food prices, the state statistics agency CAPMAS said this month. read more 

The currency will weaken to 15.81 Egyptian pounds per dollar by the end of 2021, to 16.25 by the end of 2022 and to 17.24 by the end of 2023, the Oct. 8-20 poll of 22 economists showed.

The central bank is expected to leave its overnight lending rate unchanged at 9.25 percent throughout 2021/22 and 2022/23, then increase it to 10.25 percent by the end of June 2024, the poll found.

"We believe Egypt's sizeable CA (current account) deficit explains the central bank's reluctance to cut interest rates," causing a strong increase in imports and income outflows, RenCap's Yvonne Mhango wrote in a note.


Saudi dairy companies face headwinds in 2021 as lower sales stifle profits

Saudi dairy companies face headwinds in 2021 as lower sales stifle profits
Getty Images
Updated 23 min 14 sec ago

Saudi dairy companies face headwinds in 2021 as lower sales stifle profits

Saudi dairy companies face headwinds in 2021 as lower sales stifle profits
  • Cost of sales as a percentage of revenue also jumped by 3 percent as the government lifted its subsidy on some items of animal feed

Saudi-based dairy companies showed a slump in profits as the sector experienced a decline in sales, according to Tadawul.

Financial reports from the Saudi stock exchange revealed National Agricultural Development Co. (NADEC) made losses of SR7.8 million ($2.1 million) in the nine months to 30 September 2021.

This was partly driven by a drop in company sales which went down by 5.1 percent due to a steep decline in agricultural sector sales following an increase in the VAT rate.

Cost of sales as a percentage of revenue also jumped by 3 percent as the government lifted its subsidy on some items of animal feed. This helped contribute to the 13.5 percent fall in gross profit.

Moreover, general and administrative expenses increased by 4 percent.

In addition, Saudi Dairy and Foodstuff Co. (SADAFCO) experienced a 35 percent decline in its net profit for the 6-month period ending on September 30 2021. Profits fell from SR140.8 million in the same period last year to SR91.7 million.

The slip in profits was, again, fuelled by less revenue, higher raw material prices and a rise in VAT rates (from 5 to 15 percent) in the second quarter of 2020. 

Sales dropped by 7.2 percent when compared to the same period last year while gross profits fell noticeably by 13.4 percent. Sales and distribution expenses slightly rose from 14 percent to 15 percent as well.

Almarai, a dairy giant in the Kingdom, also saw its profits decline significantly by 22.5 percent as it was similarly hampered by the difficult conditions in the sector.


Saudi Aramco has one of the lowest carbon intensity in the world

Saudi Aramco has one of the lowest carbon intensity in the world
Updated 24 min 4 sec ago

Saudi Aramco has one of the lowest carbon intensity in the world

Saudi Aramco has one of the lowest carbon intensity in the world

RIYADH: Saudi Aramco has one of the lowest carbon intensity oil supply operations in the world, a company's official said.

"Looking at the climate challenge, the upstream carbon intensity of Aramco’s oil supply remains among the lowest in the world," Mohammed Y. Qahtani, Aramco's senior vice president downstream told IHS CERA Week India conference.

"In practical terms, for our customers, this equates to a smaller impact on the climate. And we continue to develop and deploy a range of cutting-edge technologies to further reduce the carbon footprint of our oil and gas," he added.


SMEs awarded more than 80% of new industrial licenses: Saudi minister of industry

SMEs awarded more than 80% of new industrial licenses: Saudi minister of industry
Updated 25 min 9 sec ago

SMEs awarded more than 80% of new industrial licenses: Saudi minister of industry

SMEs awarded more than 80% of new industrial licenses: Saudi minister of industry

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have scooped up more than 80 percent of all new industrial licences issued since the beginning of the year, the Saudi minister of industry and mineral resources has revealed.

Bandar Al-Khorayef disclosed the information during a meeting organised by the Public Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises, Monshaat. 

He added that since the start of 2021 the government has issued 670 new industrial licenses with investments exceeding SR74 billion ($19.7 billion), with 477 factories launching operations, while providing more than 31,000 job opportunities.

Al-Khorayef said that the current opportunities in the industry and mineral resources sectors are not restricted to large capitals but can attract new business startups, highlighting these sectors as the key enablers of Vision 2030. 


Euro area experiences 13-year annual inflation high: Economic wrap

 Euro area experiences 13-year annual inflation high: Economic wrap
Updated 46 min 2 sec ago

Euro area experiences 13-year annual inflation high: Economic wrap

 Euro area experiences 13-year annual inflation high: Economic wrap

Eurostat data revealed the Euro area’s annual inflation rate reached a 13-year high in September as consumer prices rose by 3.4 percent. As elsewhere, surging energy costs were mainly responsible as they jumped by 17.6 percent. In addition, the prices of food, alcohol and tobacco increased by 2 percent.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices went up by 0.5 percent in September, edging a little higher over the previous month’s 0.4 percent.

Similarly, annual core inflation rate, which removes variations in energy, food and tobacco prices, reached a near 13-year high of 1.9 percent in September.

Another inflation high

According to Statistics Canada, the country's inflation rate was 4.4 percent in September, the highest level since February 2003. This was due to last year’s low base effects and supply chain disruptions.

Transportation costs went up considerably by 9.1 percent as gasoline prices leaped by 32.8 percent in September.

This was accompanied by a 0.2 percent monthly change in consumer prices.

Yearly core inflation rate climbed to 3.7 percent in September, rising from the 3.5 percent recorded in the previous month.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s annual inflation rate marginally increased to 5 percent in September from 4.9 percent in the earlier month, Statistics South Africa said. It remained above the 4.5 percent midpoint goal set by the South African Reserve Bank.

Consumer prices ticked up 0.2 percent month-on-month in September, slowing from a 0.4 percent gain in the prior month.

Eurozone’s current account 

In August, the Euro area's current account surplus declined to €17.6 billion ($20.5 billion) from the same month last year when it stood at €24.9 billion ($29 billion), European Central Bank data showed,

The services surplus slightly jumped to €5.4 billion ($6.3 billion) while the goods surplus significantly narrowed from €24.3 billion ($28.3 billion) to €12.9 billion ($15 billion).

Italian construction

According to data released by Istat, construction output in Italy experienced a rebound in August as it jumped by a monthly rate of 1.4 percent, compared to the previous month’s 0.8 percent decline.