Euro zone’s trade surplus narrows; supply bottlenecks continue: Economic wrap

Euro zone’s trade surplus narrows; supply bottlenecks continue: Economic wrap
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Updated 17 October 2021

Euro zone’s trade surplus narrows; supply bottlenecks continue: Economic wrap

Euro zone’s trade surplus narrows; supply bottlenecks continue: Economic wrap
  • In addition, imports from Russia and the United States rose noticeably as they jumped by yearly rates of 107.1 percent and 18.4 percent respectively

 

The trade surplus of the Euro area steeply shrank to EUR4.8 billion in August, compared to EUR20.7 billion in the previous month. According to Eurostat data, this was mainly driven by a 26.6 percent surge in imports as energy prices rose. 

In particular, imports of fuels and lubricants soared by 84.4 percent year-on-year. Imports of crude materials also grew significantly in August, rising by a yearly rate of 65.4 percent.

In addition, imports from Russia and the United States rose noticeably as they jumped by yearly rates of 107.1 percent and 18.4 percent respectively.

Global inflation risks

Following elimination of pandemic-related restrictions, a rising global demand has been met with supply shortages all over the world. The Wall Street Journal reported that surging costs for energy and raw materials are the result of this clash.

While more than a dozen central banks have raised their interest rates, two of the most influential, the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, are yet to raise their rates. 

This likely means that different central banks have different views over the current inflationary fears. Some predict it to be temporary and will gradually taper off; others expect that it will feed into even more inflationary pressures and thus act accordingly with a contractionary monetary policy.

Italy’s growth forecasts

Italy’s business lobby, Confindustria, has favorably revised its growth outlook for the country. The lobby’s research unit now forecasts the economy to grow by 6.1 percent this year and 4.1 percent in 2022. 

In April, the forecast for 2021 was a lower 4.1 percent.

This means that GDP will be above pre-pandemic levels in the first half of 2022. Limited impact of the Delta variant and robust economic indicators were cited as reasons for this revision.

European Inflation 

Official data showed that France's consumer price inflation rate recorded its highest rate since October 2018, as it increased to 2.2 percent year-on-year in September, higher than last month’s 1.9 percent. Energy costs had the highest jump, growing by 14.9 percent. 

Moreover, according to Italy’s National Institute of Statistics, the country’s yearly inflation rate rose to 2.5 percent in September 2021, rising from 2% in August. Higher energy costs drove this increase as they rose by 20.2 percent. This is the highest inflation rate since November 2012.

However, Italian consumer prices declined by 0.2 percent month-on-month compared to a 0.4 percent rise in August.

Indonesian balance of trade 

In the 17th straight month of continued trade surplus, Indonesia's surplus expanded from $2.4 billion in September 2020 to $4.4 billion in this year’s September, data from Statistics Indonesia showed.

This was mainly due to significantly high export growth, as it increased by a yearly rate of 47.6 percent due to larger oil and non-oil exports. Imports also surged, albeit at a slightly slower pace, growing by 40.3 percent. Oil and gas imports soared by 59.2 percent while purchases of non-oil and gas rose by 38.2 percent.


Saudi Arabia takes more steps to develop and protect the Red Sea

Saudi Arabia takes more steps to develop and protect the Red Sea
Updated 10 sec ago

Saudi Arabia takes more steps to develop and protect the Red Sea

Saudi Arabia takes more steps to develop and protect the Red Sea
  • The Saudi cabinet approved on Tuesday the establishment of a new body to protect the coral reefs and sea turtles in the Red Sea

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is taking more steps to develop and protect the Red Sea, which the Kingdom deems to be a big contributor to the growth of its tourism industry. 

The Saudi cabinet approved on Tuesday the establishment of a new body to protect the coral reefs and sea turtles in the Red Sea, as well as organizational preparation work for a new authority in the area, according to the cabinet's weekly statement carried by Saudi Press Agency.


Egypt imposes a 10% customs tax on mobile phones 

Egypt imposes a 10% customs tax on mobile phones 
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 1 min 42 sec ago

Egypt imposes a 10% customs tax on mobile phones 

Egypt imposes a 10% customs tax on mobile phones 

RIYADH: Egypt’s house of representatives approved a presidential decree that includes imposing a 10 percent customs tax on imported mobile phones, to promote local industry.

Egypt’s Minister of Finance explained that the amendments aim to encourage investment, maximize production facilities and strengthen competitiveness of goods manufactured there in international markets.

Mohamed Maait added that computers and tablets are excluded from the tax, because they constitute a tool for digital transformation and the development of the education system. 

The amendment of some categories of customer tariffs comes in light of the conclusions reached by the Higher Council of Customs Tariffs in Egypt, head of the Egyptian customs authority, El-Shahat Ghaturi said. 


Sweden’s Lundin Energy explores potential sale that could reach up to $10.7bn

Sweden’s Lundin Energy explores potential sale that could reach up to $10.7bn
Updated 5 min 11 sec ago

Sweden’s Lundin Energy explores potential sale that could reach up to $10.7bn

Sweden’s Lundin Energy explores potential sale that could reach up to $10.7bn

Sweden-based Lundin Energy, valued at around $10.7 billion, is exploring a potential sale in what could be one of the largest European oil and gas deals in years, Bloomberg said citing unnamed sources.

The shares of the company climbed as much as 14 percent on Monday, the highest jump during a day since April 2020. They rose 10 percent by the market close in Stockholm, recording a value of about 96.8 billion kronor ($10.7 billion).

The company said in a statement Monday that it “continuously engages in opportunities that are potentially value accretive,” but there are no conclusive decisions yet.


India's CashFree invests $15m in UAE payment platform Teller

India's CashFree invests $15m in UAE payment platform Teller
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 16 min 53 sec ago

India's CashFree invests $15m in UAE payment platform Teller

India's CashFree invests $15m in UAE payment platform Teller
  • They also aim to develop a unified payments platform to help merchants in India

RIYADH: Indian payments and banking solutions company CashFree has invested $15 million in Dubai-based Teller, which provides electronic payment services in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

With this investment CashFree's market share has exceeded 50 percent.

The two companies intend to launch joint services in the MENA region, building on Teller's knowledge of the region's markets and payments infrastructure, Asharq reported.

They also aim to develop a unified payments platform to help merchants in India accept payments from customers in the region.

The electronic payments market in India exceeds $20 billion annually.


Saudi National Water Company unifies water distribution sector 

Saudi National Water Company unifies water distribution sector 
Updated 17 min 39 sec ago

Saudi National Water Company unifies water distribution sector 

Saudi National Water Company unifies water distribution sector 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s National Water Company has completed merging 13 public water distribution firms to increase efficiency of operations and fix technical gaps.

The move will also localize expertise in the sector, NWC’s chief Mohammed Al-Mowkley said on Monday. 

The announcement was attended by the Kingdom’s Minister of Environment, Water, and Agriculture Abdulrahman Al-Fadley, who said investments in the water sector stood at $21.3 billion. 

The move is part of Saudi Arabia's National Water Strategy that aims to restructure the sector to serve its residents better. 

Under the integration, Tabuk and Al-Madinah will be the “northwestern sector,” while governorates in Riyadh will be under the “middle sector.”

NWC had previously launched a unified digital structure to improve its services across the Kingdom.