Saudi non-oil exports surge to record $33.4bn in H1 2021

Saudi non-oil exports surge to record $33.4bn in H1 2021
Non-oil trade by volume increased by 8 percent year on year. (Getty Images)
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Updated 15 October 2021

Saudi non-oil exports surge to record $33.4bn in H1 2021

Saudi non-oil exports surge to record $33.4bn in H1 2021
  • Non-oil exports jumped 37 percent to a record SR125.3 billion
  • Saudi Arabia exported to 170 countries in the first half

RIYADH: Saudi non-oil exports jumped 37 percent to a record SR125.3 billion ($33.4 billion) in the first half of 2021, SPA reported.

Non-oil exports were SR91.7 billion in the first half of 2020.

They increase by 8 percent in quantity, equivalent to 34.7 million tons, suggesting a rebound in prices as volumes returned to normal.

Global trade collapsed last year as the COVID-19 pandemic forced much of the world into lockdown. However, trade has rebounded strongly this year and last week the WTO upgraded its forecast for global merchandise trade volume growth to 10.8 percent in 2021 and 4.7 percent in 2022.

Saudi Arabia exported to 170 countries in the first half, led by SR17.0 billion of goods to the UAE, followed by SR16.8 billion to China, and SR7.1 billion to India.

The petrochemical sector was the biggest source of exports with a value of SR73.6 billion in the period, up from SR51.2 billion during the same period last year, representing growth of 44 percent.

The H1 report follows data from the General Authority for Statistics that showed July’s non-oil exports increased 17.9 percent year on year to SR20.8 billion.

The total value of exports amounted to SR91.8 billion in July 2021, up from 51.1 billion riyals in July 2020, led by a 112.1 percent increase in oil exports.

However, oil exports continued to dominate Saudi trade with crude’s share increasing from 65.5 percent in July 2020 to 77.4 percent in July 2021.

Saudi Arabia is pushing to increase non-oil exports as it seeks to ween its economy off dependency on oil sales with a goal of raising the percentage of non-oil exports to 50 percent by 2030 and foreign direct investment from 3.8 percent to an international average of 5.7 percent.

The Kingdom is in negotiations with 11 countries on possible free-trade agreement, including China, India, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the US.

The Kingdom aims to export services including transport, distribution, professional and financial services, communication services, postal services as well as express mail, media, hotel, construction and contracting, education and training, travel and tourism, environmental, and entertainment.

In August, the Saudi Export Development Authority said more than 900 Saudi companies with over 2,000 locally manufactured products had registered with the Kingdom’s “Made in Saudi” program, an initiative to boost the competitiveness of Saudi products at home and abroad.

The program gives top priority to 16 different economic sectors including chemicals and polymers, building materials, electronics, and packaging.

Additionally, the Saudi Exports Development Authority said in August it will identify over 120 international tendering opportunities in a number of target countries, mainly covering construction and industrial supplies and infrastructure projects.

In the same month, The Saudi Export-Import Bank signed a memorandum of understanding with the Federation of Saudi Chambers to provide importers and exporters loans and other financial services.


Dubai real estate sales in 2021 record highest value since 2009

Dubai real estate sales in 2021 record highest value since 2009
Dubai skyline
Updated 16 January 2022

Dubai real estate sales in 2021 record highest value since 2009

Dubai real estate sales in 2021 record highest value since 2009

Dubai real estate deals were worth approximately 151 billion dirhams ($41.1 billion) in 2021, their highest value since 2009.

The total number of deals last year reached 61,241, the largest number since 2013, according to Al Arabiya.

This value jumped by 110 percent compared to 2020, while the total number of deals increased over the course of 2021 by 74 percent compared to 2020.

Of these deals, ready made properties accounted for 60 percent of total real estate transactions in Dubai in 2021, while the rest was made up of off-plan properties.


Egypt sees first private issuance of green bonds 

Egypt sees first private issuance of green bonds 
Updated 16 January 2022

Egypt sees first private issuance of green bonds 

Egypt sees first private issuance of green bonds 

A Norwegian clean energy company Is working on what wiuld be the first private issuance of green bonds in Egypt. 

Norway's Scatec plans to issue around $340 million in green bonds, secured by its six solar energy plants in Benban complex that has a production capacity of 390 megawatts, Alarabiya reported citing banking sources. 

This comes amid Egypt’s boom in clean infrastructure projects during the last decade.  

 


China plans to increase consumption during the holiday season: Macro snapshot 

China plans to increase consumption during the holiday season: Macro snapshot 
Getty Images
Updated 16 January 2022

China plans to increase consumption during the holiday season: Macro snapshot 

China plans to increase consumption during the holiday season: Macro snapshot 
  • German gross domestic product rose by 2.7 percent in 2021 compared to 2020

Despite a rise in COVID-19 cases, China is planning to uplift consumption during the holiday season, the country’s National Development and Reform Commission said.

China will still maintain pandemic control, yet its effect would be mitigated through the fine-tuning of those regulations to each area, Bloomberg reported.

The commission also called on e-commerce vendors and online entertainment channels to introduce more sales promotions during the season.

South Korea Interest Rates

In a bid to combat inflation, the Bank of Korea decided to raise its interest by 0.25 percent to the pre-pandemic level of 1.25 percent.

The bank also signaled that further hikes would take place in the remainder of the year, according to The Wall Street Journal. The country’s annual inflation rate reached 3.7 percent in December, noticeably above the central bank’s target of 2 percent.

Inflation is set to remain above the 3 percent mark for a while and would average more than 2.5 percent for the full year, the bank’s governor, Lee Ju-yeol, said.

German GDP growth

German gross domestic product rose by 2.7 percent in 2021 compared to 2020, according to first calculations by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis).


“Economic development has been largely dependent on the infection rates of Covid-19 and associated preventive measures also in 2021,” said Dr. Georg Thiel, head of the Federal Statistical Office, at the press conference on the 2021 GDP in Wiesbaden. 

“Despite the continuing pandemic situation, more delivery bottlenecks and material shortages, the German economy has managed to recover from the sharp decline last year, even though the economic performance has not yet reached the pre-crisis level agai,” Thiel continued.

Moreover, GDP in 2021 was still 2.0 percent lower than it was in 2019 the year before COVID-19 started.

UK economy

Britain's economy grew 0.9 percent faster than expected in November, before the latest wave of coronavirus infections and restrictions on many businesses, and was 0.7 percent larger than it was in February 2020, according to the Office for National Statistics.


“It's amazing to see the size of the economy back to pre-pandemic levels in November – a testament to the grit and determination of the British people,” finance minister Rishi Sunak said.


Government deposits with SAMA in biggest monthly drop since 2016  

Government deposits with SAMA in biggest monthly drop since 2016  
Updated 16 January 2022

Government deposits with SAMA in biggest monthly drop since 2016  

Government deposits with SAMA in biggest monthly drop since 2016  
  • Compared to December 2020, SAMA's net foreign assets fell 2.4 percent

The government’s deposits with the Saudi Central Bank fell by SR74.7 billion ($19.9 billion) during December to reach SR538, preliminary data posted by SAMA revealed.

This change represents the biggest monthly drawdown of government deposits with SAMA since November 2016 when they fell by SR90.3 billion.

At the same time during December 2021, net foreign assets held by the Saudi Central Bank dropped by 2 percent from November to SR1.64 trillion, according to preliminary data.

Compared to December 2020, SAMA's net foreign assets fell 2.4 percent.

In addition, the Kingdom’s monetary base – which is the sum of currency outside banks, cash in vaults and bank deposits with SAMA – edged up by 0.5 percent in December on a month-on-month basis to reach SR356 billion.


Sixth Street Partners in final talks to buy stake in Eni's power unit: sources

Sixth Street Partners in final talks to buy stake in Eni's power unit: sources
Updated 16 January 2022

Sixth Street Partners in final talks to buy stake in Eni's power unit: sources

Sixth Street Partners in final talks to buy stake in Eni's power unit: sources
  • The companies all declined to comment

US investment firm Sixth Street Partners has emerged as the leading bidder for the power generation unit of Italian energy group Eni and is in advanced talks to buy a minority stake in the business, three sources told Reuters on Friday.

Eni, advised by JPMorgan, is looking to sell a stake of up to 49 percent in Enipower in a deal that could value the business at up to 1.2 billion euros ($1.4 billion), one of the sources familiar with the matter said.

The sale is expected to be wrapped up by the end of the first quarter, the source said.

BlackRock also studied a bid for the asset but a source close to the discussions said the fund's interest had cooled.

The companies all declined to comment.

Enipower, one of Italy's biggest power producers, runs five gas-fired plants and one co-generation plant in Italy with an overall capacity of more than 5 gigawatts.

As concerns about climate change push economies toward a lower carbon future, investing in fossil fuel assets is seen by some as a riskier bet than it used to be.

Eni, which has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2050, is selling the stake to help fund its shift away from oil and gas into cleaner businesses.

The group has merged its retail and renewable businesses and is planning to list part of the unit this year in what could be one of Italy's biggest IPOs of the year.