Jordan aims to supply Lebanon with electricity by year-end — minister

Jordan aims to supply Lebanon with electricity by year-end — minister
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said in Beirut on Thursday that Iran was ready to build two power plants in Lebanon. (Reuters)
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Updated 09 October 2021

Jordan aims to supply Lebanon with electricity by year-end — minister

Jordan aims to supply Lebanon with electricity by year-end — minister
  • Lebanon is seeking World Bank financing for the project

BEIRUT: Jordan hopes to start supplying Lebanon with electricity by the end of the year, its energy minister said on Thursday, as the Lebanese government tries to tackle its crippling energy shortages amid the country’s financial meltdown.
Hala Zawati told Sky News Arabia that Lebanon was seeking World Bank financing for the project, part of efforts backed by the United States to address Lebanon’s energy crisis.
Under an agreement announced last month, Egypt will supply natural gas to Lebanon via a pipeline that passes through Jordan and Syria to help boost Lebanon’s electricity output.
The plan, as outlined by the Lebanese presidency in August, also involves using Egyptian gas to generate electricity in Jordan for transmission to Lebanon via the Syrian power grid.
US senators visiting Lebanon last month said they were seeking ways to address the complicating factor of US sanctions on Syria.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said in Beirut on Thursday that Iran was ready to build two power plants in Lebanon, one in Beirut and the other in the south of the country, over a period of 18 months.
Iran backs the heavily armed, Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah, deemed a terrorist group by the United States.
“We are completely ready to accomplish this project using the Islamic Republic of Iran’s technical expertise, and benefiting from joint Iranian-Lebanese investment,” he said, speaking via an Arabic translator.
He did not say who the investors could be.


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 15 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 1 min 5 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 2 min 10 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 23 min 3 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.


Barclays third quarter profit doubles amid global merger frenzy

Barclays third quarter profit doubles amid global merger frenzy
Updated 21 October 2021

Barclays third quarter profit doubles amid global merger frenzy

Barclays third quarter profit doubles amid global merger frenzy
  • Barclays' results were boosted by the bank releasing 622 million pounds in cash set aside for bad debt charges that have yet to materialise

Barclays reported on Thursday a doubling of third-quarter profits, beating market expectations, as it followed Wall Street rivals in reaping bumper investment banking fees from a surge in advisory mandates and equities trading.


The British bank posted profit before tax of 2 billion pounds ($2.8 billion) for the July-September period, better than the 1.6 billion pounds average of analysts' forecasts and twice the 1.1 billion pounds it made in the same period a year ago.


The strong performance showed the value of Barclays' U.S. business, where it makes nearly half its income, and British banks' balance sheets holding up amid the pandemic with the rest of the sector due to report over the next two weeks.


Barclays' advisory and equities business had a record performance in the first nine months of the year, the bank said, driving a return on equity for the overall investment bank of 16.4 percent compared to 10.5 percent a year ago.


Barclays CEO Jes Staley told reporters the lender was relatively relaxed about the prospect of growing inflation in Britain, saying annual price rises of up to 4 percent could be positive for the bank so long as it was supported by economic growth.


Barclays' results were boosted by the bank releasing 622 million pounds in cash set aside for bad debt charges that have yet to materialise, after government support measures propped up businesses.


Barclays is alone these days among British banks in competing with Wall Street rivals on their home turf across the main investment banking businesses of advisory, equities and fixed income.


That helped it cash in on the surge in M&A fees that saw U.S. peers such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley smash earnings estimates for the third quarter, as global merger volumes shattered all-time records.


Barclays reported investment banking income from advising on deals rose to 971 million pounds in the third quarter from 610 million in the same period a year ago, while equities income rose 10 percent.