Middle East ‘catching up’ in better use of energy, but more work is needed: ENGIE Solutions

Middle East ‘catching up’ in better use of energy, but more work is needed: ENGIE Solutions
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Updated 20 October 2021

Middle East ‘catching up’ in better use of energy, but more work is needed: ENGIE Solutions

Middle East ‘catching up’ in better use of energy, but more work is needed: ENGIE Solutions

DUBAI: Middle East companies need to do more to make a visible impact on bigger energy goals, an official with multinational utility company ENGIE Solutions has told Arab News. 

“There are new regulations in place, which basically request the builders and consultancy companies to build on a greener environment, and there are more stringent regulations,” Jesus Gutierrez, head of energy efficiency at ENGIE Solutions, said.  

These regulations only applied to newer projects, he added, leaving a big percentage of older buildings inefficient in their energy use.  

Gutierez said there is increasing interest in the region for energy efficiency solutions, with demand coming from different sectors. 

“We started to be very active in the commercial sector — hotels, hospitals, and schools — but more and more now we are getting into factories,” the ENGIE head told Arab News on the sidelines of the Future Food Forum in Dubai. 

The French company is currently working with a UAE-based cement company, where they transform the heat produced by the factory into electricity.

Aside from the new regulations, a stronger consciousness about sustainability is also pushing the demand upwards.

“Before, energy efficiency was all about the payback and return of investments, but now the companies are willing to invest in solutions with longer returns,” he explained. 

Gutierrez added: “For them the priority is how to become more sustainable because they understand, if they don’t do it, clients will start to notice and choose the ones that are greener.”

Another factor driving this demand for energy efficient solutions is financing —  as either the technology becomes cheaper or providers have designed a business model that is attractive to their clients. 

Energy efficiency in food and beverage companies

A particular sector where energy efficiency is a big issue is food and beverage, which is one of the biggest emitters of carbon dioxide in the world. 

About 40 percent of the man-made emissions come from food systems, according to a study published in the Environmental Research Letters journal. 

Although Gutierez said the supply side is catching up in implementing more sustainable systems, there is still a lot of work to be done on the consumer side, particularly in so-called ‘downstream’ processes such as food processing, delivery, and retail. 

“The major track of the food industry based here in the UAE are more on the downstream processes, because local production is relatively small,” he explained, adding: “This is where we see more and more companies finding ways to reduce their energy bill.”


OPEC+ delays technical meetings to review market conditions

OPEC+ delays technical meetings to review market conditions
Updated 13 sec ago

OPEC+ delays technical meetings to review market conditions

OPEC+ delays technical meetings to review market conditions

RIYADH: The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a grouping known as OPEC+, is moving two technical meetings to later this week after oil’s rout last Friday, Bloomberg reported on Sunday.

The move seeks to allow its committees more time to evaluate the impact of a new strain of the coronavirus.

A joint technical committee meeting will now be held on Wednesday, instead of the planned date Monday, according to delegates from some member countries. 

The joint ministerial monitoring committee, which comprises representatives of the broader group, will meet on Thursday instead of on Tuesday.

The OPEC and broader OPEC+ meetings will go ahead as planned on Wednesday and Thursday with ministers set to decide on whether to go ahead with planned output increases.

The delay will allow time for the group to analyze the market after a more than 10 percent drop in prices on Friday after the emergence of new coronavirus variant spooked traders. 

OPEC will also weigh the potential impact of a planned release of strategic petroleum reserves by the US and other oil consuming nations.


Saudi M3 money supply grows in October: SAMA

Saudi M3 money supply grows in October: SAMA
Updated 11 min 37 sec ago

Saudi M3 money supply grows in October: SAMA

Saudi M3 money supply grows in October: SAMA

RIYADH: The M3 monetary aggregate, known as “broad money,” posted an annual growth rate of 7.9 percent in October, having decelerated slightly from the September value of 8.4 percent, according to data published by the Saudi Central Bank.

On a monthly basis, the M3 indicator grew by SR10.6 billion ($2.8 billion) in October, or 0.5 percent from the previous month.

The monthly increase in M3 money supply was driven mainly by the SR15.1 billion increase in time and saving deposits, which grew 3.3 percent month-on-month, the fastest rate of growth since October 2020. Demand deposits fell by SR4.5 billion, or 0.2 percent, to SR1.324 trillion as of Oct. 31. 


Sajwani buys 15.6% of DAMAC shares through Dubai Financial Market

Sajwani buys 15.6% of DAMAC shares through Dubai Financial Market
Updated 28 November 2021

Sajwani buys 15.6% of DAMAC shares through Dubai Financial Market

Sajwani buys 15.6% of DAMAC shares through Dubai Financial Market

RIYADH: Maple Invest, owned by businessman Hussein Sajwani has bought a 15.6 percent stake in Damac Properties through the Dubai Financial Market.

It is part of a plan by which the Emirati businessman aims to acquire up to 100 percent shares of the company he established in 2002 and de-listing it  from the Dubai market, Asharq reported on Sunday.

According to Damac Properties’ disclosure to the Dubai market on Sunday, Maple executed approximately 944 million shares, representing 15.6 percent of the property firm's issued capital, at a price of 1.4 dirhams per share.

Maple made a conditional offer to buy the rest of the shares of the firm — which is not owned by Maple or its subsidiaries — on June 9. The offer included a price of 1.3 dirhams per share. Damac shareholders rejected the offer and called on its board of directors to appoint advisers to assess the fairness of the offer's value.

In late October, Maple announced that it intends to purchase 800 million shares of Damac Properties through the Dubai Financial Market, provided that the purchase process is outside the offer made by Maple to acquire all of Damac’s shares.

The data issued today is the implementation of a quantity higher than the target, bringing Sajwani’s direct and indirect share in the company to approximately 88 percent.


Crypto exchange Coinstore enters India despite restrictions on trade: Crypto wrap

Crypto exchange Coinstore enters India despite restrictions on trade: Crypto wrap
Updated 28 November 2021

Crypto exchange Coinstore enters India despite restrictions on trade: Crypto wrap

Crypto exchange Coinstore enters India despite restrictions on trade: Crypto wrap

RIYADH: Singapore-based virtual currency exchange Coinstore has begun operations in India at a time when the Indian government is preparing legislation to effectively bar most private cryptocurrencies.

Coinstore is the second global exchange to enter India in recent months, following in the footsteps of CrossTower which launched its local unit in September.

Coinstore has launched its web and app platform and plans branches in Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai which will act as its base in India for future expansion, its management said.

"With nearly a quarter of our total active users coming from India, it made sense for us to expand into the market," Charles Tan, head of marketing at Coinstore told Reuters.

Asked why Coinstore was launching India despite the pending clampdown on cryptocurrencies, Tan said: "There have been policy flip-flops but we hope things are going to be positive and we are optimistic that the Indian government will come out with a healthy framework for cryptocurrencies."

Tan said Coinstore plans to recruit about 100 employees in India and spend $20 million for marketing, hiring and development of crypto-related products and services for the Indian market.

The price of the world's biggest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, has more than doubled since the start of this year, attracting hordes of Indian investors.

Industry estimates suggest there are 15 million to 20 million crypto investors in India, with total crypto holdings of around 400 billion rupees ($5.33 billion).

Coinstore also plans to expand into Japan, Korea, Indonesia and Vietnam, according to Tan.

Crypto payments

Newegg, one of the major technology-focused e-commerce platforms, has announced that SHIB is coming soon to its platform.

Newegg currently accepts cryptocurrency via Bitpay and the crypto payment service provider is expected to add shiba inu to its list of supported cryptocurrencies, which includes the rival meme cryptocurrency dogecoin.

Meanwhile, AMC theaters are also preparing to accept SHIB payments in the first quarter of next year, according to the CEO Adam Aron.

Daily trading

Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency in trading internationally, traded lower on Sunday, falling by 1.17  percent to $54,322. at 5:46 p.m. Riyadh time.

Ether, the second most traded cryptocurrency, traded at $4,077, down by 1.52 percent, according to data from CoinDesk.


Commercial banks’ lending to private sector up $6.42 bn in October

Commercial banks’ lending to private sector up $6.42 bn in October
Updated 40 min 31 sec ago

Commercial banks’ lending to private sector up $6.42 bn in October

Commercial banks’ lending to private sector up $6.42 bn in October

MOSCOW: Commercial banks’ October lending to the private sector grew by SR24.1 billion ($6.42 billion) from a month ago to SR2 trillion, data published by Saudi Arabia’s central bank on Sunday revealed.

This corresponded to a monthly growth rate of 1.2 percent from the previous month’s SR1.99 trillion in September. 

On the other hand, commercial banks’ lending to the government and quasi-government entities sector fell by a monthly SR13.1 billion to reach SR546.9 billion, reflecting a decline rate of 2.3 percent. 

Looking at the banks’ total assets, official data showed that they grew by SR42.1 billion compared to the previous month to hit SR3.19 trillion. The monthly growth rate stood at 1.3 percent.